Monday, October 10, 2011

Tuesday Poem--Return

He swears, emphatically, ‘On my mother’s grave, live eels are the best bait’.

His buddy shrugs, smiles, already dropping anchor at Red Rock near Lynn.

The stripers are running, and I almost ask if it’s due to the equinox and full 

moon converging--but they’ve passed beyond me, heading for the dirt path 

ending in a toy, oyster-colored marina. They never saw me. The granite wall 

is warm where I sit. I’m a ghost in my own life again, nearly pat myself down 

as you do after having taken a fall, to see if anything’s broken. But the marsh 

has borne the blow for me. The sumac has rosacea. Grey-haired phragmites,

to the beat of the stiff east wind, enact a geriatric exercise class, reach up, 

bend down, cross over, reach up. Beach grass shivers into fall--bronze, amber, gold

amid tenacious green.  Old mallows, mulleins, cattails court as if young.

A widowed white swan has the tide to herself. The current’s tepid, soft 

turquoise is swimmable for the first time all year, but I’m afraid of waves

that crash above my knees. I’ve never gone fishing. Never sailed. Never run 

with the stripers. I take off my glasses to wipe them. Ah, that’s better: savannas 

ruched like satin, salt hay like suede. Another autumn of convalescence. 


  1. Melissa, I always admire the way you use colour in your poetry - it's truly like painting. Beautiful.

  2. Dear Elizabeth, so very glad you came and that you liked the poem. I am a color fanatic, I can't seem to help myself. Thank you!

  3. '. . . but the marsh/has borne the blow for me. The sumac has rosacea. Grey-haired phragmites/to the beat of the stiff east wind, enact a geriatric exercise class. . . (apologies for messing with the line breaks of your immaculately paced and spaced rune, dear M - limited line width in this comments box). I love the optimism of this image, the way it speaks of rootedness and flex.

    I'm allowing myself to take spur-of-the-moment liberty with the word 'convalescence', M. Hope that's okay. Today's (re-)definition is 'with sense in the vales and scented veils'. I feel gratitude towards your marsh - so often picture you there, the birds grateful for your presence. xo

  4. Dear Claire, I surprise myself whenever I'm inadvertently optimistic, as my phragmites lifted into view and did their line dance in absolute harmony as the wild east wind beat at them. I guess it does mean survival and flexibility even as one ages. Imagine me even thinking such a thought! But there it is then. The marsh is teaching me, as well as being a correlative for my imagination.

    And I love your re-interpretation/invention/definition of con-vale-essence. Brilliant and wise and I love it. xo

  5. Lovely Melissa. I love love love the sounds in your poems. How the words stand up with 'beat of the stiff east wind' and waft with a 'widowed white swan' and hums with 'swimmable for the first time all year but I'm ..' and whispers like grasses with 'savannas ruched like satin , salt hay like suede...' Bliss. A ghost in your own life? Patting yourself down - ah no, still there. Very much there. And such a voice! I bet the birds are watching you concerned that they'll come off badly in comparison. Enjoy your autumn, Melissa. I love that you call it that and not Fall. X

  6. Dear Helen, as always, glad when you visit, and glad you liked the poem. Thank you.

  7. Sweet Mary, your ear responds so beautifully to my own. You taste each word--your reply is like a recitation. I do tend to find myself struggling with invisibility, but that's an old ghost I grapple with. Not only do you hear me, you see me! The birds, however, have nothing to fear from me. I let them sing and take down dictation. My autumn will be a good one. xo

  8. This poem seems so real, somehow.

  9. My darling, it is real. Where is your lovely photo? xoxo