Sunday, March 20, 2011

Leaving




Leaving



The glittering void
is laid across brown velvet
a string of trade beads
centering a cysted eye of nacre.
All else is dark, dark
except the running lights
of the impending journey.

Voices in the distance bubble and fizz
or creak mournfully, 
a failure of imagination.
A crowd that is passing
its own shadow on a circular track
of air and darkness
makes no noise.

Later, the screens and screams,
the flags, the stations, the reports,
the caterwauling coupling of
grinding track and moaning air brake,
the yammering and jamming of doors,
the blundering of the blind
coming and going of time.

Now, only the rush of the blood
fulltide in the ear,
the heartpound of desire,
the catch of a breath,
the settling intake of the thought
of leaving, leaving
forever.

March 2011





 Posted for One Shoot Sunday at the inimitable One Stop Poetry



 Photo: Grand Central Station, by James Rainsford

24 comments:

  1. What a wonderful piece, infused with all the sights and sounds of the journey. I really enjoyed it.

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  2. Leaving it seems is harder than going.

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  3. Love the audio drama of "Voices in the distance bubble and fizz..."
    A poem that sizzles with the frenzy of a journey's beginning!

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  4. I love it how you hold this moment of departure up without diving too sharply its location -- this could either be at the moment of Heading Out (and away, our grand American solution of restless motion) or leaving for the Hereafter. The opening stanza presents the magical necklace which is the poem's moment, with dark beads encircling a multi-faceted black jewel that offers much in reflection yet nothing, preciously, of essence, in that the motivations of its heart are dark. Nice job H. - Brendan

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  5. Whoa, fantastic. The decription of death as the final trip at the end...brilliant. I like...the picture came alive. learned a new word too...Nacre.

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  6. Well, maybe there is a failure of imagination but not in this poem. It took me right to 30th Street Station in Philly. Now I'm hungry for a warm salty soft pretzel with yellow mustard for a buck and a quarter but it's too early. I can see the vendor on the corner. He's brushing mustard with three quick passes over the pretzel, steam rising from his silver concession cart. Should I miss my train to stop and eat it? Why not? There'll be other trains but not this pretzel. It's gone.

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  7. Death via transit—St Peter to take your ticket at Grand Central? Perfect title for your response, hedgewitch. Love the lines "the blundering of the blind / coming and going of time." I think your descriptive use of language truly captures the sensory hustle and bustle of place.

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  8. Thank you for this. It has certainly added a new dimension to my photo and is beautifully crafted.
    I don't at all mind that you didn't use my seagull shot. The words here have more than justified your choice. Thank you again.
    Kind regards, James.

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  9. wow. stirring...you capture well all the textures of the station while keeping us firmly rooted in our own realities with those closing lines...

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  10. your skill with words is stunning!

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  11. Having been in Grand Central Station, and Union Station in Washington, I think you captured the sights and sounds of the place -- and the sense of it as well. Are we leaving forever, with forever as the adverb, or leaving forever, with forever as the noun? Really like this.

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  12. I might have titled this "Leon Czolgosz At The Station". Maybe I'm overinterpreting, but I read this three times, and to me it is very plainly about an assassination.

    "Later, the screens and screams,
    the flags, the stations, the reports,"

    A state funeral train, yes?

    But now there is only the breathless assassin and the victim, lying on his back like Bobby Kennedy, feeling his life slip away.

    "Now, only the rush of the blood
    fulltide in the ear,
    the heartpound of desire,
    the catch of a breath,
    the settling intake of the thought
    of leaving, leaving
    forever."

    And I just have to say, that second stanza is absolute brilliance.

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  13. Wow! I'm stunned by this poem. The slow and careful imagery of the first two stanzas reminds me of a train just getting going. And the sudden speed and startling twist of the third stanza brilliantly mimics the suddenness of disaster. But it's that final stanza that gets me and I've read it several times now. I completely felt and identified with "heart pound of desire" to perhaps escape the inevitable tragedy and "the settling intake of the thought of leaving." I know from one searing memory of a brush with death that the heart does indeed pound desire to escape and there is that final moment of acceptance that one will "leave forever." Insightful and brilliant!

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  14. Fantastic writing, Hedgewitch. The noise, the bustle, externally, then the feelings internally - a perfect capture of Leaving, culminating in the strong final lines. Loved it.

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  15. Poetic, in the truest and take-flight sense. Good piece.

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  16. Beautifully conceived poem, from start to finish.

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  17. you manage to bind two things together here - the station - the hustling and bustling outside - and inside - when it comes to arriving and leaving..
    Now, only the rush of the blood
    fulltide in the ear,
    the heartpound of desire,
    the catch of a breath..
    love those last lines - and can feel the restlessness..

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  18. This piece really gave my itchy feet Joy, itchier than normal as I have a yearn to travel, but there's always a sad longing saying goodbye, be it in Grand Central or anywhere. Thanks for sharing

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  19. I am also wondering is this about an assassination, Joy Ann? It is rich with imagery.
    GCS is one of my favourite places on earth, I always loved the station, bustle and those wonderful trains. I will die a true New Yorker, how I miss that city.

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  20. Many thanks all, for stopping by and leaving your comments. The prompt and in fact, James Rainsford's whole oeuvre, is really worthy of all kinds of versifying.

    For those asking about specifics, I'll just say I left things purposefully vague, but I don't find anything contrary to my fundamental thoughts in the ideas everyone's put forward. I wrote this with the news of the airstrikes beginning in Libya last night ringing in my head, and that mood is powering some of the darker undercurrents.

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  21. Joy,
    A wonderful perception of the photo elements: the dark station as brown velvet; lights as a pearl necklace on display. Stress on the “void “sets up all kinds of questions including possible thoughts of suicide as the way out of the voices and chaos. I love “Running lights”; thought of jets on take off in Libya, or on a dark stage. Even without the photo one can imagine a journey through the circles of Dante’s Hell.

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  22. Terrific rendering in words the paint-like scene of Grand Central station. But I love best the last three lines--"...the catch of a breath,/the settling intake of the thought/of leaving, leaving/forever." Somehow in a moment, it's how one feels when leaving New York...but not forever. You'll long to go back forever. Thanks again for sharing you wonderful lines!

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  23. Life can change, and end, in a heartbeat.

    Yet in all your lines, hedgewitch, there is so much of life...

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'Poetry is an echo asking a shadow to dance' ~Carl Sandburg