“What is the meaning of life? That was all- a simple question; one that tended to close in on one with years, the great revelation had never come. The great revelation perhaps never did come. Instead, there were little daily miracles, illuminations, matches struck unexpectedly in the dark; here was one.”
―Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
As a child, I came with siblings and parents. We
played in the surf, gathered shells, saw
dolphins and seals frolic in the
foam of the roiling, green sea,
and built sand castles—knowing waves were coming.
Time passed, life changed and the we
became my husband and family—all
of us came together on the coast, and we ran
along the beach, hunting for agates, but
Neptune had changed. Become a more solemn God
and I realized the tsunami of time saves
from the past, so little.
From the headline of The Times of India, December 28, 2004
–> Lorraine Jeffery
Writing In a Flood
All the slight degrees of dark
prove nothing’s simple, like thoughts after
zero was imagined. Shadowhood and
You only enter the otherworld alone.
I look for water the way it was
before it was ever seen, but this is more words
and it’s getting late.
Who said grim currents
of the riptide
who said undertow
A page is an opened light before the words
darken it. If I say it out loud,
I’m already under water.
–> Alexander Etheridge
Writing Free (of Glass Lines)
See the perfect Rose blossom frozen
In a clear and solid sphere
Or tropical fish flashing in perpetuity,
Restricted to a glass box
Where we can always watch
Their colorful moves of dull,
Redundant insanity trapped in glass
Lines. When emptied and on its side,
Some can into it themselves enfold,
then emerge smiling, to admit
Reluctantly, “It’s a living, and so I’m dying.”
–> M.Kelly Peach
Sky Coming Down
for Anne Sexton
“Man has not woven this beauty,
only madness could have made it”
— weaver’s song, Kashmir
How did you go on
after your sister finally decided,
how did you go on alone
unraveling at night what you had woven all day,
wandering the unhemmed margin of the sea,
dipping up the salt medicine in your teaspoon
to swallow one more sunrise?
You interrupt yourself,
bird-cries calling you to the voyage
almost audible in your lines
as if a knot of yarn has escaped the needles,
your knitting is full of the scars; it is
a wedding veil you weave in your funeral gown,
you long for your virginity again—
Meanwhile you send back
poetry in bottles from your private
horizon where harsh sirens
sing, where ship-smoke waves its black handkerchief
and goes over with all hands, where you found
a new continent combing sand out of the untrimmed
ends of your hair—
You too finally decided,
at last you followed your sister
and the summons of the gulls,
on their white wings and hoarse cries you took flight
from the labyrinth, your palace of artifice:
like a queen who refuses the blindfold you chose to see
the precise steel edge of the sky
–> Stephen Wing
Things To Do When You Should Be Writing
Get lost in Facebook memories and miss the children
who live in your house
Knead the dull ache of your knees and imagine the vistas
you won’t hike in five years or so
Make a foamy Nespresso and worry they don’t actually
recycle the spent pods you send back every month
Fold five loads of laundry and then run
two more loads, but this time think about
how the kids will leave you
Drive to the gym, and when you cross the Severn River bridge,
the fog will lap at the shore and despite the rain, the lone
sailboat hovering in cloud drifts will move you but
Take a BodyPump class instead and calculate how much
you’ll have to work to afford your oldest son’s reach school
Blink away prickly tears when you imagine the silence
your oldest son will leave behind
Think about metaphors for the moon but have nowhere
to place them, so the smudged thumbprint of the moon and
the low slung cradle of the moon will rattle the bars
of your empty brain
Worry about the pear trees which blossomed
with December’s false spring
Recall the day your youngest son almost died and the way
you kissed the rubber of his lips
when you pinched his nose and covered his mouth with yours
Fret about the trees you’re sure won’t grow leaves this spring,
after the blizzard splintered their budding branches
Realize that when you think about the day Simon almost died,
you see polaroid pictures, their edges frayed
from your constant handling, but you no longer hear
your husband’s gutted wail or smell the chlorine in his baby curls
Recognize it’s possible that this time,
you have nothing
left to say
–> Rachel Mallalieu
The twilight was my envelope and the sun,
he sank into it. Lost, nothing save story.
The letters, all practical, were really accidents
not connected with the war.
Home clenched in the letter
“I” that no suggestive detail might help.
There is, in drawing, a blue-tinted burn
that the small, unburned margins escape.
Beyond the see, I think myself a private
lamp, its ragged edge torn from notice.
Same old forms folding and returning
to our visit—an account we cannot discuss.
You must put this paper and the remains
out upon the sun, already re-rising.
Doubt that you are very real. Go back.
Yet too closely, the wind still screams strange
story elements like a sheet of sea in a gale.
Reabsorbed once more—sunk, as are their nature.
Created from Doyle, Arthur Conan. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Other Stories.San Diego: Cantebury Classics, 2011. Print. Pages 222-224.
–> Jennifer Met
Some stories go to the end of their world, Narnia and Fillory, Middle Earth and Earthsea. Their end is always the longest journey, far past pleasure. Waters at the end are uncharted. You see the mountain far away, far beyond your little strength. There is no guide but your memories of failures, the beggar you refused, the friend you sacrificed for flimsy praise from a stranger. Your wooden boat leaks. Magic drives it streaking over open seas where no rain falls, so far west that you leave behind the stars you knew. The new stars are brighter. Not astonishing, when your home world has gone so dull.
The end is empty of everything except its ending. Fog, or sunlight bleaching bones. Your eyes sting, you retch against caustic air. No Galapagos finches. No blue flower of a new plant sprouting from the hero’s heart, growing right before your eyes. If you insist, dragons. Or border agents, to stamp your papers one last time. Bureaucracy keeps the edges tight. No sailing away into the air, leaving that world, triumphant as the locals watch you shrink to pinpoint.
These worlds are flat like buttons, like coins. Mountains make the beveled rim. You climb up over the peak, moving along the flip of up into down, first heavy then adrift. What can it feel like, to be squeezed through emptiness before you find your way out? All agree: reaching the end of the world changes you. Of course no one will believe you’ve been there.
The long way around is the short way home. So say all the books. Their heroes return in a flash, a dazzle. By now, everyone is tired out. What a let-down, to finish the book and go back to your life.
–> Karen Greenbaum-Maya