Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Sanctuary






Sanctuary

It was the time of cold.
The water from the sky ran black as inky blood
and the tree in the dark storm was ripe for burning,
solitary acolyte in a serpentine ceremony of snow.

You kissed my summer dry palms
just before you ran to your winter white pack
far off along the indigo rim of night.
I heard the howling begin

without me. I pulled in the last syllable of stone,
stripping myself to bare words. A single step danced me 
from maenad to anchoress, peering through the squint
at your unconsecrated communion.



January 2011


Posted for   OpenLinkNight   at dVerse Poets Pub




Having nothing ready for tonight, though a huge snarl of cantankerous works in progress, thought I would post an older poem that had limited exposure. This was originally submitted for a prompt (at the now defunct Big Tent Poetry) to utilize alliteration by choosing a letter, writing a word list, and using the ideas it generated for subject with a word from it for the title. Apologies to those who have already seen this.

Photo: © Copyright Colin Smith and licensed for reuse under  Creative Commons License.
Cell of the anchoress Christine Carpenter, 14th Century. Shere, Surrey, UK

43 comments:

  1. i love this hedge...solitary acolyte in a serpentine ceremony of snow...is great allit...and the kissing of the palms then leaving in the middle is a great touch as well as i fel tthe loss....unconsecrated communion is another great touch in this as well...

    taking a break and escpaing into words...smiles.

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  2. great images in this hedge..kissing summer dry palms..and then the winter cold...great contradiction....and also loved the ..solitary acolyte in a serpentine ceremony of snow..

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  3. I missed this the first time around, thanks for airing it out again ... What I love about your style is how you dip so sharp a mind to write with medieval ink (or is it the other way around?) The first line gives the poem its mythic intention, and the second tells us that something new is going to be written on that old hallowed ground. Stepping out of the wyrd wild, "maenad to anchroress" as if to create that sanctuary by carefully saying it's there. And maybe there's a bit of ennui for the old lupine pagan woof, but there's no going back any more, is there? I take the difference between maenad and anchoress to be a tandem, the difference between drowning and diving. The latter is much easier on the constitution, even if one misses the communion. - B

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    1. Yes, and if you can make yourself small enough, you can ooze out of that squint in a pouffe of smoke and go howl at the moon anyway. Thanks for reading, B.

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  4. If I pieces like this stashed around, I'd be posting them, too! God, this is gorgeous!

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  5. Beautiful...love ...
    You kissed my summer dry palms
    just before you ran to your winter white pack....
    Glad you reposted this :)

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  6. The second stanza is magical!

    I never apologize for reposting, (though I always wait at least a year before I do that) 'cause if you ain't seen it--IT'S NEW TO YOU! Besides, recycling is good for the planet. (

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    1. I have much that needs to become compost, actually. Glad you liked, Timo.

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  7. i love this line:

    solitary acolyte in a serpentine ceremony of snow.

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  8. I haven't seen this one, but nothing wrong with re-posting. I sometimes grab an old one that--like this one of yours--seemed to get overlooked the first time around.
    I love your style, and this one puts it out there nicely. Wonderful write.
    http://charleslmashburn.wordpress.com/2012/02/21/i-go/

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  9. wasup hedge? - looking forward to the cantankerous pieces on the make but this will do till delivery... lol - i dont think ive read this before, you made good work on a cool prompt idea... i think yd love it here... i once worked locally digging up pitts of plague victims from like whenever "back in the day" in and around an old bombed out church... looked much like your pic

    some great images and about as much love as i like to get close too - although much like mama you present this stuff with class

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    1. You realize that 'back in the day' in your neck of the woods comes in centuries right? Here it's more like last Tuesday. Glad you made it by for a bit of howling and part-time grave robbing, Arron.

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  10. The imagery is always great here. Always.

    "far off along the indigo rim of night." - a favorite line, but it's all good.

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  11. You definately have woven a poem spun from another time and place, perhaps even galaxy. Love the 'feel' and texture of this. Always a pleasure to read you offerings Joy!

    Roger ☺

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  12. A fabulous write. Love the "winter white pack....along the indigo rim of night"....and the howling. Wowzers! p.s. your work is worth TEN readings, no apology needed.

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  13. The water from the sky ran black as inky blood
    and the tree in the dark storm was ripe for burning,

    Love your imagery---just gorgeous!

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  14. This really sticks with me, especially:

    I pulled in the last syllable of stone,
    stripping myself to bare words.

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  15. From the first word, your magic began....I was struck still, riveted to the words and the imagery just swirled around me, Hedge.

    What a magical poem! Never reading this before, I think this is one of my favorites of yours....so layered, but simple too...

    Just beautiful, no more words necessary. Except this is a haunting poem and I don't know exactly why.

    Thank you.

    Lady Nyo

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    1. Thanks Jane. And sorry to hear about your fiasco with Gooseberry Gardens and so forth---that is a lot of nerve, taking your poem unasked for a prompt!

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  16. Do you know what strikes me about this? It may seem a small, oddball thing, but the length of the words. I tried to read it without a thought for the meaning, just the sound, and you place the proper sounding word in the proper place without fail. That's one reason why your poetry flows so well and sounds so right. You never plug in a 2 syllable word when three, or one, is needed. It's a bigger deal than it sounds like when I try to express it here.

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  17. Your wonderful words and your imagery always transport me through time... beautiful.

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  18. Deep thick images in words that reverberate.

    I really like this!

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  19. The sound and form of this are superb. Though short, it packs in so much emotion and mystery that I think more have messed with the mysterious nature of the dream or picture you are delivering here to us. I haven't mentioned before you command of the poetic line, as someone does above, but they are right not only about your word choice but about your ability to wrap the words in a rhythm that goes beyond counting feet or sticking to a formula. That's why I thonk you're able to convey so much emotional power, you have the line under control and it heeds your every wish. Excellent work, once again.

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    1. Thanks, Charles. I wish I had better command over the shorter forms. Glad you enjoyed this one--yours was way cool, as always.

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    2. And if only I knew how to type! I'll get the hang of this iPad yet... Many thanks for the compliment here and at my blog.

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  20. My discernment may not be totally accurate as this is stunning. However, I enjoyed this majestic display of words. Thanks.

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  21. Your metaphors and symbolism are beautifully consistent, and the religious and mythological imagery is perfect. The wonder of this is distilled for me in those last lines

    "A single step danced me
    from maenad to anchoress, peering through the squint
    at your unconsecrated communion."

    Amazingly, without looking it up, I know what an 'anchoress' is - because of the book-length poem "Anchoress" by Esta Spalding (highly recommended!) - and the history of those who became such is so amazing, that it fills your narrative with such rich symbolism, your spirit once wild and free now peering through the walled opening, but anchoring your own cathedral of faith.

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    1. I'll have to look that one up, Sam. I know the first book written by a woman in the English language was by an anchoress(Julian of Norwhich)--a book of devotions, of course--it's a fascinating subject.

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  22. To know such a piece had been hidden...there is beauty in its imagery and so much in so few words. I pulled in the last syllable of stone, stripping myself to bare words...I love this line!

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  23. I like the juxtaposition of "summer dry palms" with "winter white pack" as I enjoy much of the original imagry here. You always set a magical mood..great write!

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  24. Medieval! (Perhaps modern too.) But made me at least think of the flight of women in hard times in a wonderfully original way. (Of course, it wouldn't have to be women either, or humans.) Thanks for reposting. k.

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  25. I'm entralled by this piece ... have to read it over and over it's so deep ... I love the words chosen and the imagery...

    "I pulled in the last syllable of stone,
    stripping myself to bare words." That's my favourite line...

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  26. wow- your work can be so ethereal- almost supernatural. I loe the traditional and haunting feel you maanage to create. This for me created a romatic metaphor- of a relationship having to come to an end- with the lover (embodied by the wolf) having to run off back to the pack- leaving behind a communion, a memory- of loves embrace that COULD have been. Sorry for rambling!. I love the imagery of the earth and its elements that you capture so well.

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  27. Hedgewitch, I savored this. Just gorgeous and so beautifully layered.

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  28. Amazing job Hedge, love the feel here, really has that ancient lore as backdrop and atmosphere.
    solitary acolyte in a serpentine ceremony of snow.- one of the best lines I've read in a while. Really enjoyed. Thanks

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  29. I haven't read this before either. I didn't know either of those words (shame on me) maenad or anchoress (anchorite). Great words! Great poem. I agree with Brendan's assessment of a state between - is that the definition of woman? In part I played to that with my poem this week, which while ostensibly light and for fun, is the same intense study of womanhood that you delineate here. Only of course, your piece is far more artistic and eloquent. Again, you amaze me.

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  30. So evocative of mood, and with the dark, isolate tone. The woman in the tower, wolves in the snow, howling on the indigo horizon. It all gathers into a great impression. The flow, the rhythm and the last stanza...just great. Super piece.

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  31. You had me from the first line. Loving anything dark and old, this is right up my alley : ) My favouite being:

    'just before you ran to your winter white pack
    far off along the indigo rim of night.'

    Thank you so much for reposting!!! I cannot wait until you unravel your 'huge snarl of cantankerous works'...looking forward to it!
    -Eva

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  32. So glad you reposted or I would have missed this gem...

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  33. You have a way with imagery. Right now I am very cold. Another good read.

    Cheers,

    Mark

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  34. Dipped in a voluptuously dark ink and scribed upon a leather parchment... oozed from between each word

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  35. Amazing work!
    So much to absorb and think about from within this! Beautifully woven together :)
    Poppy

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