Monday, November 28, 2011

Tuesday Poem--Nearing Winter

NEARING WINTER
The phragmites have given in to the tempo of suffering, stalks now sticks

and feathers brushing on soft drums. The marsh bells stay silent. Clouds

have dominion. Beaches are running with votive lights carried out on the tide, 

and threading through the bracken broken on the other shore, a gauze of mist

will soon hang its skeins of fog under the low sky. Huddled on a surf-soaked

railroad tie fallen from the road, in raw November, I watch fragile hoarfrost

form on the salt hay and whiten the sea moss. Water birds have winged free

from iced-over pools, the wind wandering above, wondering what it has done.

We are holy, in spite of ourselves. We can make sacred a small place on earth 

simply by the mind’s companionship. I’m turning to sleet. But it blesses me.

13 comments:

  1. Melissa, How beautiful and true, that "we are holy, in spite of ourselves." Much of value in life is "in spite of," rather than "because of." xo

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  2. Elegant, and so delicate in its details.

    I'm especially enamored of the last stanza.

    Thank-you, Melissa!

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  3. Yes, that last stanza is everything to me, too - those small places are so important, aren't they? Beautiful poetry, as always!!!

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  4. It is a marvelous thing to watch the development of these themes in this sequence.

    This one has something of Charles Wright, or if I am not right, you were both writing in the same direction. Though in different months; here's a bit from Part Four of his "The Southern Cross":

    Here is the truth. The wind rose, the sea
    Shuffled its blue deck and dealt you a hand:
    Blank, blank, blank, blank, blank.
    Pelicans rode on the flat back of the waves through the green
    afternoon.
    Gulls malingered along its breezes.
    The huge cross of an airplane's shadow hurried across the sand,
    but no one stayed on it
    For long, and nobody said a word.
    You could see the island out past the orange gauze of the smog.

    The Big Dipper has followed me all the days of my life.
    Under its tin stars my past has come and gone.
    Tonight, in the April glaze
    and scrimshaw of the sky,
    It blesses me once again
    With its black water, and sends me on.

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  5. I wrote a bit more about this post, at http://thewonderreflex.blogspot.com/2011/11/poems-with-water-in-them-and-on-liking.html. You needn't post this comment (though no harm will come if you do)... I just to share the chain of thought provoked by this lovely lyric piece of yours.

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  6. melissa, so good to see your name/post pop up on my blog list this morning. i read your poem right away, but got mired in usual nonsense (AKA, making a living). as T. says: the last stanze is something special: visceral and real and strong. it stopped me at first read, and does still.
    love,
    susan

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  7. Dear Marylinn, I'm glad you like this. I too think the fulcrum on which much of life rests is 'in spite of' and not "because of"--xo

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  8. Dear T--I'm so glad you liked "Nearing Winter". The last stanza was one of those little miracles that can happen when we're looking the other way. It's very wonderful to see you here.

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  9. Dear Elizabeth, yes, it's quite amazing that we as creatures remember our animal roots and can find pleasure and peace in a small corner of the world where we can rest and ruminate. Thanks for your kind words.

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  10. Dear Z, the Charles Wright is stunning--I don't know his work, only his name, but this portion of "The Southern Cross" makes me hungry for so much more. Thank you for making the connection between the two of us, and I liked the way you phrased it--that we were both 'writing in the same direction'. His is beautiful work. Thanks, Z.

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  11. Dear Susan, thank you for being such a faithful reader, one who is capable of being moved by my words. Thank you. xo

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  12. Dear Melissa

    Silence. Music. Movement. Pause. All is present here.

    '... Beaches are running with votive lights carried out on the tide,

    and threading through the bracken broken on the other shore,...'

    '... the wind wandering above, wondering what it has done...'

    'We are holy, in spite of ourselves. We can make sacred a small place on earth/ simply by the mind’s companionship. I’m turning to sleet. But it blesses me.'

    What's left to say, save thank you, Melissa? This last stanza is blood to the heart, breath to the lungs. I was so happy to see you up at the top of my reading list when I woke in the wee hours. xo

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  13. "We are holy, in spite of ourselves" is wonderful after the hoarfrost and water birds winged free and votive lights. Beautiful!

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