Monday, October 24, 2011

Tuesday Poem--Landscape Painting

A fleet of clouds weighs anchor on rivers of light and glides out to sea,  

the Genoa jibs and spinnakers crosshatched with calligraphic scrawls

and chicken scratches, sails of my failed poems on parchment attached 

to the running rigging, heading for that dark horizon where crafts 

are scuttled, cargo holds empty, splintered consonants and vowels afloat

on the waves. I pace on the widow’s walk, the east wind dragging at 

the shingles, chiseling the slates, and observe the raging combers break

and seethe and break again. Inside, the kettle caterwauls, untended to. 

The artist no longer distinguishes shadow from shadow, my blanched face 

dissolved in hair he has made too bountiful. He packs up his turpentine, 

rags, and in his color-flecked coat, wanders toward town away from me. 

Glacial with shame, wild with fury, I'll keep the watch, waiting the first star.


  1. Melissa, I love this, if I may say something that explains so little. A visceral and heart response to images and interpretation. The scuttled craft, but I think of salvage, reclamation. xo

  2. here i am, your favorite Miss Contrarianism:
    i have to tell you that what excited me here, melissa, was the FURY. i like that, the poet's refusal to be portrayed as other than who/what she is. yes.
    and the build to the fury...that caterwauling kettle...
    love to you,

  3. Another beautiful entry in this series of yours. I keep expecting the ships of the Winthrop fleet to make an appearance...

  4. (the tiny teapot, unnoticed.)

    that is how I feel tonight!

  5. A powerful poem. Great imagery. Very stirring.

  6. Melissa, I'm new here via Claire Benyon. I do not write poetry myself, only prose, but I relish it when others write as beautifully as you. This poem is stunning in its layering and lyricism. Thank you.

  7. Marylinn, your generous heart would seek salvage and not more scuttling. But which is the speaker watching so diligently for? xo

  8. Susan, yes, this is a poem of fury, of refusing to be portrayed as other than; it also destroys the Romantic notion of the feeble, febrile, consumptive versifier--poetry is hard and is work! xo

  9. Winthrop's fleet is awaiting the Admiral who's in his cups at the Crystal Cove Yacht Club, not expected to dry out anytime soon!

  10. Boodle, tiny teapot, never unnoticed--your steam is like a semaphore I always see. xo

  11. Ben-Hur, I'm glad you found this poem powerful and stirring. Please come again.

  12. Dear Elisabeth, I know who you are, I know your blog. I'm delighted to find you here, delighted you liked my poem.

  13. Many things excite me here, Meiissa and - to echo what Susan has said - it's the fury that braces me and straightens my back. Thanks heavens for a certain timely ferocity, the way it insists we both keep vigil AND take our place? L C xo