poetry


Gone

Soft sighing of breezes in the tall grass,
soughing of the wind in the millet stalks,
cascade of wind chimes, the mourning of doves,
seed heads scattering in a shattering of wings.

The palm’s fronds bend and raise and bend
performing a ritual to life—a tiny life,
creeping and sighing all around and
in the clustering of fronds at its crown.

Far across the field, the dog barks,
quieting the sighing and the creeping,
but not for long. Life is insistent: a chittering
of sparrows battling, a fierce squeaking of mice.

All this life, all this quiet noise,
gone, gone, forced on,
to other fields where wreckers have not reached,
and big diggers leave the earth unturned,
where only small burrowing things disturb the soil—
far, far away from here.

—PJ Thompson

Random quote of the day:

“I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.”

—Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Desus and Mero, Beyoncé, or the Marine Corps Marching Band. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“It’s the dream we carry in secret
that something miraculous will happen,
that it must happen—
that time will open
that the heart will open
that doors will open
that the mountains will open
that springs will gush—
that the dream will open,
that one morning we will glide into
some little harbour we didn’t know was there.

—Olav H. Hague, Dream
    (tr. Robin Fulton)

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Desus and Mero, Beyoncé, or the Marine Corps Marching Band. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

“What is the strangest thing a stranger has ever said to you?” Mat Auryn asked his followers on Twitter (@matauryn). I remembered this: “I am so lost right now, like when I was a kid on a spinner at the playground and I fell off and I wanted to get back on, but I couldn’t. And it kept spinning.”

I didn’t respond very well, so I wrote this poem:

In real life, I typed up the poem, printed it out, drove back to the bookstore, walked up to the counter she was standing behind and handed it to her. “I wrote this for you,” I said. She laughed nervously. I turned and left.

I don’t know if she laughed at me with her friends, if it meant something, I don’t know what it meant. I just knew I couldn’t leave things as they were, reinforcing her maybe feeling that maybe nobody gave a damn. I concede it was a deeply weird thing for me to do—and probably more about me than her.

I usually went to that bookstore about once a week, but I don’t recall seeing her again. For all I know, she hid out in the storeroom if she saw me coming.

Whatever you need to say, from deep in your soul, say it. It doesn’t matter if people laugh at you. The universe needs to hear it.

And maybe laugh at you as well.

 

The pacing fell apart near the end the first time I posted this, so here’s another attempt.

Partner

Distracted by inconsequence I rarely realized
I had a faithful partner dancing by my side,
step by step, move for move, in perfect harmony,
I’d catch his shadow fleeting in the corner
of my eye; sometimes viewed en pointe, graceful
as any swan, other times such frenzied moves
to bring St. Vitus down, pale and wan with spite.
My partner smiles but rarely, unless his changing mood
becomes a thing macabre, yet swaying always on my left,
he is my boon companion, Angel of peculiar mien,
neither good nor evil, equal-treating all he meets.
He counts each living step, dancing counterpoint,
two-step, three-step, patient pacing on and on,
devoted to life’s rhythms—until the dance is done.

If I could walk

There are many places I would walk
if I could walk:
country lanes disappearing over a hill
lush with green and sheepy sights;
sunken roads whose granite walls
loom tall on either side while eons of
travelers walk invisible by my side;
rugged stepping stones across a pond,
a rushing stream, a placid brook;
hiking trails of rocky scrambles
and forests telling dark tales of wonder;
silent, brooding ruins whispering stories
of wrongs done and rights done and
somnambulant martyrs sighing at night.

There are many places I would walk
if I could walk
but the hardest path to tread is acceptance.
If only I could soothe the angry child
who pushes me to try harder, not give up,
if only…if you’d just…then maybe…

There are trails, She says, waiting for you:
friths of mystery to be explored, calling;
remembered meadows, bursting in flower;
hills to be stood atop, contemplating
the wonder of the green land stretching
below, glittering in waning orange sunset;
of tall stones humming ancient songs that
set the earth spinning, taking me along;
of beaches in the cold and fog, strewn
with ghost glass and shining pebbles;
of sun and wind and rain and dew.

She accuses my reasoning, practical voice
of cowardice and forsaking, of accepting
a reality she will not acknowledge.
But the voice of reason toddles on—
a plodding litany of reasons why not,
urging what She does not wish to accept.
Between them I am frozen immobile,
dreaming of what used to be,
what might have been, and always
of all the places I would walk
if I could walk.

—PJ Thompson

A Dark Thing Inside the Day
by Linda Gregg

So many want to be lifted by song and dancing,
and this morning it is easy to understand.
I write in the sound of chirping birds hidden
in the almond trees, the almonds still green
and thriving in the foliage. Up the street,
a man is hammering to make a new house as doves
continue their cooing forever. Bees humming
and high above that a brilliant clear sky.
The roses are blooming and I smell the sweetness.
Everything desirable is here already in abundance.
And the sea. The dark thing is hardly visible
in the leaves, under the sheen. We sleep easily.
So I bring no sad stories to warn the heart.
All the flowers are adult this year. The good
world gives and the white doves praise all of it.

Random quote of the day:

“The problem is not whether the song will continue, but whether a dark space can be found where the notes can resonate.

—Robert Bly, Preface, Selected Poems of Rainer Maria Rilke

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Desus and Mero, Beyoncé, or the Marine Corps Marching Band. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

Old Man Leaves Party

It was clear when I left the party
That though I was over eighty I still had
A beautiful body. The moon shone down as it will
On moments of deep introspection. The wind held its breath.
And look, somebody left a mirror leaning against a tree.
Making sure that I was alone, I took off my shirt.
The flowers of bear grass nodded their moonwashed heads.
I took off my pants and the magpies circled the redwoods.
Down in the valley the creaking river was flowing once more.
How strange that I should stand in the wilds alone with my body.
I know what you are thinking. I was like you once. But now
With so much before me, so many emerald trees, and
Weed-whitened fields, mountains and lakes, how could I not
Be only myself, this dream of flesh, from moment to moment?

—Mark Strand

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Desus and Mero, Beyoncé, or the Marine Corps Marching Band. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Partner

Distracted by inconsequence I rarely realized
I had a faithful partner dancing by my side,
step by step, move for move, in perfect harmony,
I’d catch his shadow fleeting in the corner
of my eye; sometimes viewed en pointe, graceful
as any swan, other times such frenzied moves
to bring St. Vitus down, pale and wan with spite.
My partner smiles but rarely, unless the mood
becomes macabre, but swaying always on my left,
he is my boon companion, Angel of peculiar mien,
neither good nor evil. Equal-treating all he meets,
he counts each living step, dancing counterpoint,
two-step, three-step, patient pacing on and on,
devoted to the life’s rhythms—until the dance is done.

—PJ Thompson

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