Sunrise Again


Photo by Joseph Hesch

I’ve missed you, day-pioneer,
first-light blazer of time-trails.
We’ve not met since our friend
left me holding her in final-sigh.

I confess, during this cold earth-rest
I dreamed to join the forever-sleepers
beneath the far, flat margin
of life-light and eternal-dark.

Today you were waiting there for me,
golden-greeter, life-illuminator,
encouraging one more cast
into the eastern sea of tomorrows.

I felt the leash-tug forward,
telling me look not back
at the long, black, only-me
lying at my feet.

Taking a tentative step, I sensed you,
warm upon my face, she,
warm against my leg, and we,
sharing soul-sunrise again.

My Swedish friend Björn Rudberg has asked that we try to write poems with Scandinavian style phrases called kennings. A kenning is a very brief metaphoric phrase or compound word that means “to know” (derived from Icelandic, but exist in many other languages like Swedish and German). It was used extensively in Old Norse (later Icelandic) and Anglo-Saxon poetry to add both color and better meter to the skaldic songs. For instance “whale-road” was used as a kenning for the sea in Beowulf, and “wave-stead” replaced ship in Glymdrápa.

Readers know I make up a lot of compound metaphors because sometimes words don’t exactly exist for my feelings I express that even I don’t understand. This is another 100-word poem, and I think a poor effort, at using kennings to express my emerging from a long winter–of the body and soul. But that photo up there is the sunrise that inspired this piece, and it wouldn’t be denied.

15 thoughts on “Sunrise Again

  1. In a word “beautiful,” Joe. Especially loved the “warm against my leg” in final stanza. Hoping those bittersweet memories of your dear friend are easing and becoming more more ‘sweet’ than sad. 🙂

  2. A great poem Joe.. From Kenning point of view I especially like the golden-greeter, life-illuminator,.. Wonderful kennings.. The tautology of kennings put even more color to the description… It’s a great day today… The equinox is just a few hours away… And from that point the light will grow.

    • Thank you, Björn. That’s high praise from someone who knows what these things are supposed to look like and accomplish. Which I don’t. 😉 And Spring, despite what the calendar says, is still just a higher angle of sunlight in the sky. Still freakishly cold over here on the upper Hudson River.

  3. I was once a regular visitor to Sweden (three times a year for about five years), but I have to say I don’t recognise any Swedishness in it, but I do still like it, because it’s still got your stamp on it, your story-telling tone. I can tell you however, not surprisingly because Scottish history is steeped in Scandinavian influence, that I suspect “kennings” could well be related to the expression “d’ye ken?”, which means “do you understand” or “do you know”.

    P.S. Hows your foot?

  4. “this cold earth-rest” is the most beautiful description of winter… it almost makes me dislike it a bit less 😉

    I think you did a fabulous job with the kennings, a deeply felt poem.

  5. Joe, you truly are the Maoist-master of the 100 word plunge; it gives the work a sense of immediacy, of place, of soul-flashing; & your use of kennings is far from pretentious, each one works its poetic ass off; strong emotions prevailed; very good response to the prompt, brother.

  6. I don’t think it was a poor effort at all Joe. I know, I remember, how when the world is at its worst, whatever you write never feels good enough. You want it to be perfect, because that’s what you feel is deserved. Sometimes though, good enough really is, good enough. It was a damned fine write.

    • And thank you for stopping by, my dear friend. The timing could have been another case of Hesch dumb luck, but the angle and timing of that sun wasn’t. Let’s call it synergistic kismet, but only because I like how those two words sound together. 🙂

  7. love and live..and for love to live on in our soul..the bittersweet..reality of loss..
    is what makes love IT IS..
    i think..
    never to take it for granted while it lasts..
    and to savor the love we give..we gain from others..

  8. This poem has an ethereal vibe to it, with a sense of loss and longing combined with absorbing the beauty of the now and appreciating what is in front of our senses. Beautifully written.

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