Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Blue Masque






Blue Masque



We took a break from the butcher’s ballet
to dance a few steps where the bank met
the whittling river.
You wore your blue mask, your milky skin,
your matchbook eyes
umber and ruminant.

They lamped the meadow,
illuminant for all the wayward
menagerie of my fancy
there in the black
New England midnight
when the fireflies began to burn.

Your cloak your russet hair in dark folds stippled your face
that day, the day before I cut it for the road. It
hung the shadow in my eyes, blew like dying stars
on the long wind, snapped across the night
to catch in my lips, give them a taste
of salt surprise and you a veil

for the look you always had to blur.
The balefires burned while the world hissed and spat
nowhere near that shingle of void where we kissed.
Lives came and went, the planets placed a pirouette
rippling in your face that showed only
the crabshell mirror of the halfmoon’s smile.

The whispered words, the sentient fingers
flicked lingering on my stops so much more
fluently than on your instrument of brass,
the reed of my desire that ever bent between
your tongue and will, all of me you caused
to make that music never heard on stage;

the truth that spilled like blood,
the plangent harmonics
beyond the bordered breaths,
the sighs, the cries, the tears
coming to us unseen
walking on the riptide of the years;

that was the blue masque we made
the music we played there before you blazed.
Then, while the bonfires of war
burned brighter and the mill
of the gods
ground small.



 April 2011

Top Image: Fireflies II, by ~Quit007
courtesy deviantArt




16 comments:

  1. When I read certain pieces of yours, I'll be going along thinking, uh huhm good, good, and then you just pull some sequence out of your ear that knocks me right off my chair and I say hokey smokes, Bullwinkle, how she do dat?

    Like:

    "The balefires burned while the world hissed and spat"

    "the crabshell mirror of the halfmoon’s smile."

    and especially:

    "The whispered words, the sentient fingers
    flicked lingering on my stops so much more
    fluently than on your instrument of brass,
    the reed of my desire THAT EVER BENT BETWEEN YOUR TONGUE AND WILL, all of me you caused
    to make that music never heard on stage; "

    (my caps for emphasis) I have read that section over and over. It's perfect, for what it says and the way it is said. Really exceptional, dear Witch.

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  2. Everything that Fireblossom said...

    I liked the matchbook eyes. One with those eyes was destined to blaze, but never from war.

    This is one incredible poem! And upon enlarging the photo more mystery floated and flared like those New England Midnight Fireflies.

    xoxo

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  3. Oh my God, this poem is too magnificent to even comment on with mere words. Exceptional, you have outdone yourself. There is always One, from Back In the Day, that we never forget, no?

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  4. causes me to be nostalgic for days i'm even now only letting go of. and thank the gods for those/these days. it rolls off sensual and musical.

    xo
    erin

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  5. my you sure know how to spin words hedge...that is some kiss, i gotta tell you....your descriptions paint vivid and put us right there...

    The whispered words, the sentient fingers
    flicked lingering on my stops so much more
    fluently than on your instrument of brass,
    the reed of my desire that ever bent between
    your tongue and will, all of me you caused
    to make that music never heard on stage;

    that is a hot stanza...for reelz...

    and for some reason being ground small does not sound so bad...it did have the undertone of sadness in losing beyond that moment...

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  6. "to catch in my lips, give them a taste
    of salt surprise and you"
    gorgeous.

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  7. @FB Thank you. With the caps and everything! I'm curious as to what Bullwinkle, or should I say Mr. Bullwinkle J. Moose, invisible companion and part time literary maven, had to say in return.;-)

    @erin thank you--your own love poetry impresses me as genuine and deeply felt, and is a pleasure to read.

    @Sherry: Yes indeed, there always is.

    @brian: depends on what it is, I guess.

    @Evelyn: thanks for pointing that construction out--I wasn't reading it that way...changed it so it would be more what I was thinking when writing--I really appreciate the feedback, and like it that you saw that there when I didn't.

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  8. It is good to know the best of living before the drums of war begin to rage and grind to powder all that is then there is always memory of places once known that if desired can be returned to.

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  9. Bullwinkle says he knows how you do it, but isn't at liberty to say. It's the age of litigation, you know!

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  10. Very Mood Indigo.

    Azure Brilliance Hedgewitch!!

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  11. I read this as you digesting something that won't quite go down -- gorgeous and shimmering in its way, but also dark and damaging. Circling this sort of flame one can't help but get too close to something that ends up burning one's lips and memories. Well, you gave it a tag of "hellsnake on my trail" -- a luminous and feral dance beneath an illing moon. It burns but also somehow suffocates. Construction question: 3d stanza, do the first 2 words belong? I couldn't make sense of the line with 'em in there, but when they dropped out I could. And I wonder if there should be a "you" wedged between the 2 words of the last line. Couldn't quite make sense of it there. What's great in the poem is that Hedgewitch has a certain control over this masque, she's invoking it like Prospero invokes the masque of the sicklemn and naiads, allowing a certain safe distance so that it's possible to re-invoke the figure but stay clear of the fangs. - Brendan

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  12. Thanks all. Appreciate your comments much.

    @FB--just as well the Moose keeps his yap shut--I have a certain fast-talking squirrel as legal counsel.

    @Brendan: I rewrote the line in the third stanza; hopefully now it makes more sense. AFA the very last line--no, a "you" there takes it to the specific, that line is about the events in the world outside the emotional maelstrom of the poem. There is a reflection in the particular, of course, but the thrust at the end is to bring in the larger arena in which the players acted, not the player's own drama. Hope that makes sense. Thanks very much for reading and voicing your thoughts and questions.

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  13. Gotcha. The blue masque takes on a different hue when the players are subsumed -- burned, ground down -- by events on the larger stage. What seems godlike in the personal becomes tragic in the collective. - Brendan

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  14. The pairing of the brass and the reed is just exceptional. Gorgeous, gorgeous writing.

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  15. Poignant memory of a time poetically described with wonderful alliteration (e.g., 7 sounds of the letter B in the first stanza) interior rhymes, and so many evocative phrases. Ruminant eyes always cause that stir---at any age.

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  16. You grabbed me with the butcher's ballet and took me for the most incredible ride. Makes me nostalgic, too.

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