She did not remember the way, but she remembered the times, the place. She wanted to connect present to past. She did not know how or where to begin, and yet she needed to try to construct that bridge. Words were all she had now.
Two ways, really, even though she always pretended they were the same. Or maybe it was only her longing that failed to understand that they were two, not one.
She had been dreaming of a river. A man, a boat. Trees, weeping, or was that her own voice, crying on the wind? It had been summer once. Flowered. Sweet.
But here was the river again, littered with fallen leaves. What magic word would turn back the seasons, dispel the haze, repair a lifetime that had already disintegrated into dust?
Was she coming or going? In her dreams a voice kept repeating you have to choose. But between what? Who? Did she get to choose who would be waiting on the other side of the river? Or was she to be the one left waiting?
to begin, become the current– sing its song
Brendan at earthweal has more to say about rivers this week and poses the question: What voyages are found there, which deities are vast in its depths? It made me think of my response to the Kick-About #61 prompt, which was Molly Drake’s haunting song, “I Remember”.
I wasn’t aware of Molly’s connection to Nick Drake, but when I learned that she was his mother, Molly’s song immediately made me think of Nick’s song “River Man”. I took the feeling I got from both songs–a kind of remembering intertwined with uncertainty, loss, and the passing of time–and wrote the above prose poem, adding a haiku coda for earthweal, and some water art from my archives.
when you leave yourself behind, where do you go?– clouds a shimmering path
blue like a robin’s egg– this liquid sky, darkening into shadow– when you leave yourself behind
does the mirror look back like a lake regarding the sky? where do you go?
do fish see themselves in the stars? do birds ride feathered waves?– clouds a shimmering path
The prompt for NaPoWriMo today was to write a poem that uses repetition. That prompt was made for me. I had been working on and off all week for a poem for Sherry’s prompt at earthweal, to write from that place of holding onto wildness of soul. I thought that today, Earth Day, would be the time to post it.
So I took my ideas and made a cascade, but there were ideas left over, so I did a pantoum too. You can never have too much repetition in my poetry world.
when you leave yourself behind (clouds a shimmering path) where do you go?– windsong the surface
clouds a shimmering path, the lake regarding the sky– windsong the surface displaced by light
the lake regarding the sky– as it hues the reflection displaced by light, does the mirror look back?
as the earth hues reflection, do fish see themselves in the stars? does the mirror look back when birds ride feathered waves?
do fish see themselves in the stars on the remnants of moontides? when birds ride feathered waves, do they flow into calligraphy?
on the remnants of moontides, where do you go? will you flow like calligraphy, leave yourself behind?
She dreams in the languages of flowers, wandering corridors of vast gardens fragrant with the chaos inside her heart. Lady sings
in riddles– bouquets of rhymes imagining an oasis of roses, an enchantment blooming into the mystery of the blues.
Who will be her lover now? Where is the prince to penetrate the thorns enclosing her mind? Blood shadowed with the reds, whatever
her grief has aborted into deceptive darkness. She is muted into madness. She is drowning in every aromatic sepulcher she can find.
The NaPoWriMo prompt for day 3 was to write a “glosa” – literally a poem that glosses, or explains, or in some way responds to another poem. The idea is to take a quatrain from a poem that you like, and then write a four-stanza poem that explains or responds to each line of the quatrain, with each of the quatrain’s four lines in turn forming the last line of each stanza.
Kevin Young is writing about Billie Holiday. Like Ophelia, she is associated with flowers, and had her own ways of drowning in her sorrows. My collage is based on a painting by Redon, who visited the subject of Ophelia many times.
out on this melting edge– a fool sailing through oceans of haunted broken heartstars, the poison of decaying days– I ask how dark it must be to awaken the tears of angels, the ferocious fire of your gods
The Oracle got a makeover from MagneticPoetry.com. It’s going to take getting used to. I used the new “happiness” category. I can use some, after reading the news this morning.
When I saw the Oracle’s message, I immediately thought of Sun Ra, an artist of living, not just music, that my older brother introduced me to when we were teenagers. “Space is the Place” was a title he used for many different pieces of art.
I had titled these birdling collages from my archives “birdlings in space”. The birdlings make me happy no matter where they are.
where is wonder? make time for space alive with possibility– between comes whispering– soon surprise will follow
The streets are quiet, eerie, the walls blank. I remain inside.
My windows are noisy with things I can’t see. I rarely reply to them because the response flies away on the wind, storm tossed and clouded, darkened by rain and the fading light.
What would I say to the ghosts of the children?– the ones not on the playground not on the streets no longer living in an apartment, a house, a country, a land– the ones no one can find anywhere?
How to say the word death and to also shield them from its consequences. How to explain why and how we have come to be
living in this uncertain tangle of lies ignorance violence– a place full of humans unable to even acknowledge or to bridge the rising waters.
The ones who would rather drown than make amends.
Sherry at earthweal has reminded us of all the grief consuming the world, and asks us to write about it. I wrote a version of this poem first in the midst of New York’s early pandemic. I’ve revised it a bit, but the ghosts of the children have not gone away.