(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,
WHICH IS WORSE?
(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?