I’m glad to have a poem selected for the Tuesday poem at The Seattle Review of Books. Each week, on Tuesday, come and read a new poem. And check out their book reviews too!
Poetry helps me find “the place beyond words.” We poets use words to point ourself and others toward those ineffable places. When this water of 'being' is running through me, I write for the joy of participating and the hope of learning something new. If my words then touch others I am rewarded a second time.
A friend, who attended the memorial service for the boy who took his life last week, gave me this poem by Galway Kinnell. I wish that something or someone could have intervened in his young life, asked him to wait, to tell him, “it does get better.” Sometimes you don’t know or realize the depth of despair or pain that someone is harboring; they may seem engaged, active and outwardly joyful. And no matter how attuned we may be as parents, we can never fully know another’s inner realities. This is the agony and dark side of individuality, love isn’t always enough to shelter those we care most about.
You can also hear Galway reading his poem here.
Wait, for now.
Distrust everything, if you have to.
But trust the hours. Haven’t they
carried you everywhere, up to now?
Personal events will become interesting again.
Hair will become interesting.
Pain will become interesting.
Buds that open out of season will become lovely again.
Second-hand gloves will become lovely again,
their memories are what give them
the need for other hands. And the desolation
of lovers is the same: that enormous emptiness
carved out of such tiny beings as we are
asks to be filled; the need
for the new love is faithfulness to the old.
Don’t go too early.
You’re tired. But everyone’s tired.
But no one is tired enough.
Only wait a while and listen.
Music of hair,
Music of pain,
music of looms weaving all our loves again.
Be there to hear it, it will be the only time,
most of all to hear,
the flute of your whole existence,
rehearsed by the sorrows, play itself into total exhaustion.
A poem from my chapbook The Moth Eaten World. Written in 2008, this poem seemed appropriate today after writing about Luck and Fortune. I realize how far I’ve come from this painful place, but I also recognize that writing this allowed me to keep moving spiritually to a more true place for myself. Please excuse the formatting, there shouldn’t be spaces between the couplet lines.
after Robert Hass
I left God in her Temple when you got sick.
Foolish to utter that name, like lassoing clouds
wandering an indigo arc.
I praise instead sunflowers’ beneficent heads
their Fibonacci faces divining light, sing hymns
of beans, corn and all dirt shrouded
tubers begging us bend
as we sow, witness the parlay of earth-
worms, their castings, our gold.
I rant prayers to righteous communities of bees,
their fierce loyalty spinning alchemies day and night.
On the wild shore, where the sea breaks its back,
between foam and spray I walk splintered
like an armless starfish, waiting: for the turn
of tide, a waxing breath, my place among
the minyan of slack-jawed facing slack water.