Monday, August 22, 2011

Tuesday Poem--Chrismaria

Rose of Sharons, daubed with Impressionists’ pink and mauve, hug the last
of the nineteenth century’s porches, leaning onto the little lanes that still
remember the way to the sea: Neptune, Mermaid, Coral, Siren, Undine.
The sky hangs over the town, a gray canvas, sagging like a long-abandoned
wedding tent. Who can light the windows of the dead? The breakers keep
trawling the rocks into troughs of rip tides, of undertow. I stand at the end
of the island, the salt’s eternal burn anointing my forehead, lips, heart,
hands and feet. I’ve forgotten every prayer I ever knew. But in a dream I hear 
Rivers of grace, circle back to your fountainheads, that each may run his course again.
And the surf’s wheel keeps churning the coastline’s endless granite ossuary.


  1. I've forgotten every prayer I ever knew.

  2. i love your image of the sky; you've managed to conjure up a vision that feels so right you'd think it had been said a million times. but of course, it hasnt.
    and i love those street names...point shirley...


  3. Not knowing them first-hand, but knowing them, after a fashion, or their West Coast sisters, the names of the lanes speak to me of once-held bright visions, as does the sagging wedding tent. My difficulty with poetry is often being unable not to find pieces of myself in the poem. So much here to reach for, hold and examine and feel...rivers of grace, is there another chance? xo

  4. Another wonderful poem. I love the image of the faded seaside town and that sense of regret, of time passing, of good things forgotten and the cycle of mortality.

  5. Dear Boodle, Susan, Orchid, Marylinn and Helen,

    I don't think I've ever given a general response, rather than thanking each of you for your thoughtful and generous comments--this poem (I shouldn't confess) hurt my heart to write, and in some way I think I'm still in that vulnerable state which allowed me to write it in the first place.

    I am so glad you each came and read and found some connection here.

  6. Is it my imagination, or do you always come back in the end to stone and salt, Melissa? The churning of those stones ( those bones), I can hear them, and taste the salt. And oh the litany of names - what magic is there there? Thanks Melissa. A hug X

  7. Dear Mary, I'm glad you liked this poem--since I started going down to the marsh and poems seemed to fall out of the sky onto my open notebook, I have written a great deal about the sea and salt and stones. Winthrop is surrounded by water, it's only a mile square with two causeways in and out so it's hard not to see the water or smell salt in the air. xoxo

  8. Melissa- Your poems are like prayer--in some ways so dark and painful, yet renewing and reaffirming. Thanks be to God for the flush that stirs our soul!

    I pray you're weathering the storm well. Stay safe, dear Melissa.

  9. Yes, Jayne, thank your children's gentle God--the flush that stirs our souls is free--of sin, of fear, of dogma. xo