Fallow time, moon-dark: no power
of words nor healing much less
smiles tears or beauty-making
(feeble light flickers in clouded lantern)
You know the black river under
starless skies ever cold and silent
No remedy but surrender
touch bottom (source-love)
Title borrowed from “We Lying by Seasand,” by Dylan Thomas.
There is a chasm between two souls
deeper than the deepest ocean rift
and more full of watered mystery
To have given birth is not enough
To have carried and nursed is not enough
To love with this whole fractured being is not enough
We have a deeper communion, perhaps
with Other than with each other
That knowledge is not enough
I’ve often dreamt of your drowning
torn from my arms and lost in black water
It is the deep calling to the depths in us
Shall we take the plunge? Shall we sink ourselves
to the very floor of the abyss—abandon all
claim to one another and therein find our kinship?
*9 May 2015…A year since I wrote this, I’m realizing it’s a Mother’s Day poem of sorts…
Inspired by We Drink Because We’re Poets Prompt #9: Write a poem inspired by a Latin proverb. I was interested to find that there are at least two interpretations of this one, “deep calls to deep” (taken straight from the Latin Vulgate translation of Psalm 42) and “hell calls to hell” (meaning, loosely, that one bad thing leads to another). I’ll have to prefer the first sense.
First, pick your way across pool-wet rocks
or slip down the slick-seaweeded ramp
Find the sand ridged with last night’s high tide
and walk toward the distant soft surf
Toes in the cold runnels—still wearing shoes?
Take them off, leave them here
Watch your feet as you walk
It shrinks the distance
Count the swirled sandworms
piles of sodden glow-green
(You will be there before you know it)
Here a high-dry sandbar—
an island it was
now one with endless wet-brown sameness
under cloud-weep blue-gray sky
You are tired my heart but don’t sit
No need to look up or back
You are plenty far from home
(The water slides toward you)
That demon you conquered
has brought friends
your house swept
not quite empty
but bravely buttoned up
except for that one crack
the black gap in the corner
the hole you should have sealed
sealed for good I say
light may shine out
but darkness will creep in
I am in awe of your talent. Moreover
I am astonished by your output. The detail alone—
curly hair, drapery, skin and bones, grimness
softness, colored flesh and glowing clothes
Were you distracted by the weight of your own oeuvre?
The ponderous scholarship that defined your genius?
But the question I have is did you squint
over those cross-hatchings did you rub your eyes
or curse new commissions? Did your wife suffer
your fits of melancholy or did you put on a brave
face or simply close the workshop door?
There is relief in busyness. Or did you truly
believe every pencil line paint stroke wood cut
important and a great legacy to the world?
Believe in your art because you were praised
or because you had no dark pit waiting
whenever the eye or hand took a rest?