Helen Esther Blum ≈ three poems






(Poem starts with a line from the poem “The Enigma We Answer by Living” by Alison Hawthorne Deming.)

It’s wrong to think people are a thing apart,

all of us in our own little bone cages, beating

hearts out of sync, beating our hands against

the bars to reach out for our own personal star,

our own story we tell against our vanishing.

It’s wrong to sink into our own hole

as if it’s unconnected to any other. No, we are

like rhyzones, those plants which seem separate

on the surface, but dig beneath and find

one continuous root, unseen and tough.

I mean, just try to separate one plant from the others.

It’s wrong to think people are a thing apart.

We are connected by so many invisible strands

which weave their way into our thoughts,

our dreams, our stance, the trance we wake from

when someone shakes our very soul, when

like calls to like through poetry or song.

Our cells were born to long for other cells,

to tell the story of our vanishing to those

we’re tied to. It’s wrong to think we dwell alone.

We’re discontent until we’re blind to contention,

until we bind the lines of our connection.




Free write from a line in the poem “The Spring” (after Rilke) by Delmore Schwartz


Lucky earth, let out of school.

Now you can play with the sky, with the clouds. You know

how to breathe and skip through the yard empty of snow,

hands outstretched, dancing and twirling your way

to the river, where you can mingle with the water to make

just the right kind of mud. You know! You know!

Lucky earth let out of school.

Now you can shape the very clay of you into

containers for flowers. You can pray

for warm rain showers. Now you can grow

green grass gowns and praise the colour

of pink plum boughs.

Lucky earth to give birth to the whole idea of spring,

to sing with the chickadees as they build their nests,

to rest with the seeds deep in your belly.

Lucky earth to let all that’s inside of you out, to sprout,

to sprout!





(From a free write starting with the line from a poem by Hilary Peach )


Which is worse: to be candid

or to weep silently for thirty years,

to weep tears as if they were the words

you wanted to fling, to sling

at the one you were waiting for,

the one who you need, the one who won’t listen?

Instead you cry, you cry it out,

instead of crying out, “See me. Hear me. Take me.”


To be candid is to be brutal.

To be candid is to be blunt,

to be a knife that slashes

and hacks its way to the truth,

that carves away slice after slice

of flesh to get to the kernel,

the hard kernel inside

the pit of your stomach.

To be candid is to give up

all craving to please, to appease,

to seize someone’s heart by force.


Or is it worse to keep it all in except for

the tears, tears of rage, tears of

fear, tears of secrets, just the eyes

looking at you with that hurt,

and no mouth, not even a slit,

the silent scream that you can’t express,

that you repress.

How it presses into the back of

your skull, your head so full

of pent up words.


And when your tears are spent,

your weeping done, is that enough?

Is it enough for you to go on to the end,

the nut not cracked open to reveal

the delicious meat within.

What nourishes you is the truth.

The tears you cry

will only drown you.

Is this the way

you want to die?



One thought on “Helen Esther Blum ≈ three poems

  1. daen says:

    i really drank deep here, as the thoughts and images of your poems, so marvellously expressed, clarity and deep respect in all…quite a joy indeed

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