Monday, December 12, 2011

Tuesday Poem-Attachment


Pursue me, Hounds of Hell, with blazing eyes and already bloodied mouths.

Hunt me, Lord of Hosts, with an archangel’s harrowing, incendiary wings.

Search for me where I’m perched on the edge of the edge of the ledge of 

the tundra about to crack into the sea. Chase me over the curve of the world,

across continents of crags, cataracts, shorelines, river valleys of dry bones.

Through all Creation’s wilderness of thickets, stalk me, track me, race after me,

until I collide with the frontier’s barbed wire and have to hurry to hurdle it

so as to save my soul. Let me stop then and be astonished by the signs of life:

a field of mild cows, grazing; a garden ripening with blossoms and greenery;

the first house of the first village, the colonnade of poplars shading a road,

geese murmuring under hay barns, and mill wheels spilling all the earth’s

waters where I wash my face and hands. Let doors I’ve always believed bolted, 

open, offering light and a seat at the table--I’d thought I would never find

a place set anywhere for me or the unutterable darkness I carry, lodged inside. 

Here windows resound with birdsong. Plates abundant, when we take hands 

for grace, a hundred thousand years of grief fall away.  The wine glasses brim.


  1. How beautifully you illustrate our darkest, most unacceptable chambers. And then, to step into the light; I can feel the sun's warmth after the precarious, frozen ledge. I am always drawn to redemption, restoration. I love the strength with which their heart beats here. xo

  2. This offers such lightness after the 'call' to stop, Melissa. I admire the balance of this poem. It is so finely constructed - I can almost feel the wobbling point where it tips.

  3. The barbed wire divides the poem, almost like the line in the middle of a fraction (there's undoubtedly a name for that, but I don't know it). Truly a beautiful poem.

  4. Melissa, I love the archangel’s "harrowing, incendiary wings" epitomizing the power in the whole poem.

  5. Dear Melissa,
    So relieved to find you at that table. Our lives are made of these stories - of going to that fence and climbing over despite the wounds. You are so strong for finding your way here. I'm glad your glass is full.

  6. this is like walking into a painting; or stepping out of the frame of one painting to enter another.

    Let me stop then and be astonished by the signs of life.

  7. Dear Marylinn, I'm glad you were moved by this poem, and felt the sun of its redemption and restoration. Your heart beats pretty strongly too. xo

  8. Dear Elizabeth, you have such a finely calibrated spirit--I'm not surprised you felt the tipping point. Thank you.

  9. Dear Penelope, I'm glad to find you here. Yes, there must be a name for the line that divides a fraction, but I'd never be able to tell you what it is, being a hopeless math dyslexic. Yes, the barbed wire divides the poem into fractions, doesn't it? Thank you for your compliments.

  10. Dear Helen, thank you for discovering that the angel's wings represent power in the rest of the poem. I always appreciate your comments.

  11. Dear Rachel, thank you for welcoming me to the table of life, and knowing what a desperate journey it was to get there. Yes, my glass is full, and you are part of what makes it so. xo

  12. Dearest Susan, thank you for seeing the two parts of this poem as paintings one can step into--that makes me very happy. xo

  13. When a slanting line is used to divide the numerator from the denominator, it is called a solidus (originally, a coin of the Roman empire -- gold, and therefore, 'solid') or, informally, a fraction slash; when the line is horizontal, it is a vinculum (L., "fetter"). Thinking of fractions, from L. fractus, "broken", I'm reminded of the beautiful poems you wrote in the collection Fifty-Two, with the heart-breaking fracture breaking each poem into halves.

  14. Hey, Z., thanks! I should have known you would be able to identify the names of the 'vinculum' and 'solidus'--I can't think of anyone else who could tell us, so now we all know. I appreciate it.