She left by the servants’ entrance,
perhaps because she felt as tied
to the upstairs and downstairs
of the Homestead as any
Bridget who left Éire to spend
life rearranging the dust,
baking the bread and cleaning
the dirty laundry of her
Amherst Anglo clan.
She left by the servant’s entrance,
carried by men with accents
green as the Kilkenny hills,
driven off in a Carriage holding
but three, leaving behind the crypt
of a life,hidden behind walls
of wood and words
to live on in another –
its Roof scarcely visible –
The Cornice – in the Ground –
from which Miss Nobody soared,
a thing with feathers,
to perch ever in our souls.
She left by the servants’ entrance,
an enigma to her last, a loaded gun
that stood in the Corners –
till a Day The Owner passed –
And carried Her away.
Her story today told slant,
with explanation kind –
Her Truth to dazzle gradually,
lest the light leaving
by that back door
strike us mourners blind.
My pre-Dawn poem in celebration of Emily Dickinson, born today in 1830. When she died in 1886, her family honored one of her last requests, that her coffin be carried not by Amherst’s leading citizens, but by six Irish farmworkers – all employees of the Dickinson family – out of the Homestead’s servants’ door.
Things fall apart, the Irishman said,
and, as days dwindled like hours
dropping by the temporal roadside,
my life sloughing off like a snake’s skin,
I’d once turn to look at the trail of debris
I’ve left along my way.
Along both shoulders of this
pothole-pocked gravel two-lane lies
the detritus of all my broken promises,
crushed chances, dashed hopes,
severed relationships and shattered dreams.
But I reckon that’s what this life’s
supposed to be, not some smooth interstate
of a heretofore to hereafter.
I’ve found it’s like driving along
and That Song comes on the radio
and you see Her while the highway fades away
for the next six miles. Suddenly
you’ve reached your destination and
you don’t remember how you got there,
what you passed on the way, what
you might’ve dropped while recalling
a better-forgotten past and contemplated
a cloudy never-will-be.
I try not to look back, try not to imagine
my destination. This current place
in my journey is what’s most important.
And every time I think of taking a peek,
I look hard to the right and left
and continue slouching toward Bethlehem
or wherever it is I’ll finally fall.
My thanks to William Butler Yeats for the opening and closing lines of this marathon (for me) of a poem. Those lines come from his poem, The Second Coming. We only get one coming, though, so maybe we should try taking in as much of the scenery of our lives rather than who/what/where we’ve been and what it’ll be like when we reach that nebulous destination that we probably won’t make anyway..
This weekend I finally started getting rid of some of my late Mom’s stuff. I found a few things in what my mom kept of my past. My LOOOOOONG ago past. It appears I did not write my first poem in 2008 or so. My first swing at creating what might be verse was in 2nd or 3rd Grade.
And, true to your present-day poet guy, this piece plays with rhyme the way a cat does a mouse, batting it around before knocking it off altogether. Plus has an abrupt, though so-Joe Hesch ending
Apparently I had to write about Creation:
First light was made.
Second sky and sea.
Third dry land and plant life all.
Fourth sun and moon and stars of light.
Fifth fishes and birds oh so bright.
Sixth beasts of earth and creeping things.
I guess both creators rested on #7
We’re way past that,
the mushy mess of emotion
that roils and boils
the essence of him and her,
her and her, him and…
It seems the passion’s now
the equivalent of a dead fire,
blackened and cold,
where glowing red heat
once scorched virtual fingers,
slapping them away, leaving scars
reminding me it’s okay to look
but don’t touch, even if only
with gentle words.
Those old lines burn today
whenever I touch them, and wonder
if you ever do too, whoever
you’ve become. Because now I know
no longer does it matter
what circumstances we were born in.
A warmup 100-word poem for the day, based on one of my favorite exercises. I took the fifth line of the Avett Brothers’ song January Wedding to begin the poem and the fifth from last to end it. The creamy filling between is all my imaginings and subconscious insight. There’s no need to protect the innocent. None of us were.
With my ears straining, I lie here,
awaiting David’s secret chord to hear.
Cohen said it was good enough to please
young Dave’s big boss. Was it a C perhaps?
Or the big juicy G like I play,
with four fretted strings because…but
you don’t really care for music, do you?
I figure if some confidential tonal triad
exists that helped a shepherd become king,
maybe it could turn a dumb, near-deaf
pencil-twirling, guitar-plucking layabout
into what you might think is a poet…but
you don’t really care for poems, do you?
I don’t hear well enough to dance
a pencil across a page without falling.
Another failing, like why I’d worry
about pleasing anyone but myself when
I fill this space with muffled tones, pastel
shades of gray, dotted with blood red…but
you don’t really care for such musings, do you?
So I’ll just sit and push some keys,
not waiting for some muses’ energies.
My notes you’ll hear, with eyes for ears
and imaginations watching me lie in a lea,
a notebook on my knee, cloud sheep grazing
on blue eternity. And maybe I’m smiling…but
you don’t really believe that, do you?
Tried hard, but couldn’t come up with a thing to write about, so…
Oh, and if you really know me, you understand that last line.
You can’t wait for inspiration.
You have to go after it with a club
~ Jack London
The fan rattles away, blowing ripples
into my shirt and goosebumps
on my arms. My hands float poised above
the keyboard awaiting the control tower
to get its head out of the ass
of my head to impart instructions
(I can’t hope for inspiration)
for a landing I can walk away from.
In the monitor’s glass, I see
an expression of flight, but not
a flight of whimsy or artistry,
rather of runaway fear and survival.
But I can’t leave the room, I mustn’t
leave this chair, until words, perhaps
even pretty ones, fall from my heart
to the virtual page. And so I type —
fetching, lovely, cute, captivating —
heartfelt all. Now I await another
flight — of fancy or fear it matters not—
while the fan flips the silver on my head
as it oscillates like my creative self,
by and by and by in the lonely monotony of
the writer who’s forgotten how to write.
Where I reside in the literal, literary and physical senses these days.
The words, they always came
so easily. The casual lie,
the honest assessment,
the judicious mumble,
the warm, the cold.
They were his true friends,
his only friends, stopping by
to say hello, to kiss his ring,
to kick his ass, to ignore him
from across the room,
to his face. He shared them
like potato chips, too often
laden with a gooey dip that
left him suffering,
staring at the ceiling
wondering why he’d said
what he’d said. In that dark,
though, truth proofed brightly.
He was no one with them
and nothing without.