Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Fishmonger

Poissonnerie

The Fishmonger



Last night the witchlight went out.
All that was left was a drugstore flashlight
running on green ginger tea, shining a fisheye bulb
of irrational hope netted and dragged
from behind the moon’s peridot dustsheet
over a skinwalker's wrinkled  
tillage of shadowseed fields, where
silence and sleep grow beside
dismembered acorns, and nothing
can keep out the cold.

And so, while Jupiter and Mars
two pissholes in a celestial snowdrift
laser stared from a black sky,
eight times I called out my wares
from the roof of my fogbank hood,
hair wintered strings of snowmelt dripping
while I scraped my heart’s hollow clean
with a broken pen, wound the spell
with a cropped limb’s tingle and
threw a fish upon the fire.

It may be that it will never burn, 
that silver son of ocean,
but something within it seemed
to ask to swim the flames
to show me winking from the coals
the nature of
water and heat
and dinner, and at last
the bright chaotic kindling
of a spark.



February-March 2012



Posted for   OpenLinkNight   at dVerse Poets Pub


In the final edit for this poem, I made lavish use of Shawna's Monday Melting word list at  rosemary mint. Thanks, Shawna.





Thanks, Petteri, for the pic and the title,
both of which had proved extremely elusive to land.
Petteri  blogs with exceptional verve 
about all kinds of things at Come to Think of It

53 comments:

  1. Intriguing and full of captivating imagery.The final stanza is immensely compelling. Another very accomplished write. Thank you Joy.

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  2. damn hedge...really love this...the first stanza/sentence is so rich with description/imagery...in the second the scraping of the hollow in the ehart clean with a pen is visceral but sets the mood...love the spark and flam you set there in the end...magic...

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  3. Tough it is, making something out of a nada that even eclipses night ... I saw those planets too last night, didn't know their names, but wondered what they were staring at, or from. 'Course, astrology is self writ large, so these cosmic tea-leaves reveal the difficulty of writing when zero isn't a degree of temperature but a mood. Thank the old ones that ever in such black soup a fish does arrive, that we can still write on nothing, and find even that may suffice. This loaf is kneaded very compactly with many exquisite compressions, growing dark to darker til a fish-eye's glint reveals that, as Rilke wrote, our song can be "the crystal cup that shattered even as it rang" -- and for that reason git er done. Fine work, H - Brendan

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    1. The weather guy mentioned them--brought back that old line from Hair 'when the moon/is in the seventh house/ and Jupiter aligns with Mars' I won't say there isn't some melvillian overtone or two in there, either--I'm sure that salt is in the creases of everything written lately somewhere. Thanks for reading, B.

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  4. Starting with that first line, you hooked me. Lots of grit, as always (though maybe not so much with the pansies), but somehow with you the wares always feel lacy, even if the lace is black 'cause it was burned. Great poem.

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    1. Well, lace is the art of creating beauty out of holes, yes? So thank you for a very nice compliment, Ruth.

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  5. Unlike the crone in the poem, your witchlight will never go out. I refuse to even entertain such a notion.

    Certainly, heavenly bodies have never before been compared with "two pissholes a celestial snowdrift". This is sharp, a little jolting, and brings home the bleak and edgy mood you set up in the first two stanzas.

    But just when we think our crone has gone entirely over to the dark side (except for the flashlight, of course), a weird sort of hope creeps in, even for the fish on a hot tin grill. Both witch and fish seem at once out of their element and in it, here; in it because they may manage to tango up something that neither singly could manage. May it be, and may she get some...sat..is-fack..shun...

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    1. That'll be the day. At this point I'd settle for chocolate. ;-) But we live in hope.

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  6. This morning I was reading about the enthalpy of sublimation, the amount of energy required to turn a solid directly into a gas without a liquid phase. This phase change involves fusion and vaporization but seems to me a more intense reaction than either or both combined. Your poem carries the heat of sublimation in its pressure and power to transform. Exquisite!

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  7. Love the opening line, and that whole first stanza, which tumbles with vivid imagery. The unexpectedness of "dismembered acorns" and "Jupiter and Mars/ two pissholes in a celestial snowdrift" stick in the mind, as do "hair wintered strings of snowmelt dripping" and the delightful "me winking from the coals". Wonderful!

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  8. I really like this poem. The title had me thinking that I was going in one direction but the poem took me someplace else completely different. Bravo!

    Cheers,

    Mark Butkus

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  9. You have created a masterpiece here! Beautifully worded and what imagery! This has so many layers to it, superb! Poppy

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  10. Fabulous imagery and description...somewhat dark in that "irrational hope" ~ What is the colour of hope I wonder? "in that silver son of the ocean" Love that line...

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  11. Love this, excellent imagery.

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  12. just LOVE it hedge...from the start..
    Last night the witchlight went out.
    All that was left was a drugstore flashlight
    running on green ginger tea....this sets the stage magically...and then the part with the broken pen and swimming the flames..gorgeous

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  13. shining a fisheye bulb
    of irrational hope netted and dragged
    from behind the moon’s peridot dustsheet
    over a skinwalker's wrinkled
    tillage of shadowseed fields

    What great imagery! Loved this---loved it all the way through!

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  14. I have no idea what the hell it means but love the sound of it.

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    1. If you figure it out, let me know, Matt. ;_)

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  15. love this:
    "while Jupiter and Mars
    two pissholes in a celestial snowdrift
    laser stared from a black sky,
    eight times I called out my wares
    from the roof of my fogbank hood,
    hair wintered strings of snowmelt dripping
    while I scraped my heart’s hollow clean
    with a broken pen, wound the spell
    with a cropped limb’s tingle and
    threw a fish upon the fire."

    like the empty seeking and tinge of hope in this.

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  16. as soon as i read the title i knew i were going to like this -
    S2 rocked and rolled me all over - i loved the pen and what it did as a word created image type thingy this whole piece is an imaginarium in its own pod - caught in/on the net :)

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    1. We are all become fishers of men, and as a result, need Oppenheimer's mop to swab the deck. ;_) At least we're not sleeping with the fishes tonight.

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  17. Your poems seem to me to inhabit a different, strange world. And calling up that strangeness of what - after all - might be just this world that I inhabit brings an even greater strangeness. I think that's the power of your words and the music you create to convey them with. It's very magical, very mesmerizing, and the spell you weave is so powerful, no wonder mystics parked themselves on stone columns! Great, great work.

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    1. Probably because most days my mind inhabits a different, strange world, Chaz. Glad you liked. Thanks.

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  18. in the midst of this serious piece, I had to chuckle at this line,"dismembered acorns", which I was not expecting

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  19. Two pissholes in a celestial snowdrift? Bwahahaha! If people from Jupiter and Mars heard that, they might come down on Uranus!

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  20. This feels almost jabberwock with a side of witchbane. Love the odd pictures it paints.

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  21. Hedge, love the voice in this piece. I was taken aback at first when I read the title on my blogroll- thought, what were the odds, as I'm currently reading Clash Of Kings and their is Fishmongers in it-anyhow, thought it was one of those strange coincidences I thought I'd share. Pretty neat when things like that happen. Outside of the fantastic use of voice and tone, the images are sharp, detailed and drawn extremely well. Great job. Thanks

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  22. Big complex images infused with mood and a bit of attitude. Really like it.

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  23. This is why I'm thankful for that fish - it did not give up its life easily, and life can be so cold, so foreboding.

    "two pissholes in a celestial snowdrift" - Love that line, but the whole thing shimmers.

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  24. Felt the cold in your lines and the brightness of a plains sky. The picture of yourself fishing from the sky, wirehaired and wild, forcing nourishment from the atmosphere was compelling and for me a bit nostalgic. I spent my young years wrapped in an old comfort sitting in an armchair whose stuffing was pulled loose, on my back porch watching the stars and planets reel.

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  25. almost fishlike, the way you weave in and out of the themes, here. I have to say I'm very impressed by the way you deftly handle such a large scope: darkness, light, the depths of the oceans to the height of the stars. Great work.

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  26. "Silver son of the ocean." I love that.

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  27. Wrought with excellent craftsmanship. The sensations and smells of the sea are all there, the planets and constellations to navigate by, the silver fins and the dragged nets, all mixed together in the wanton words of your verses, like scales and entrails on a fishmonger's table.

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  28. the winking of the coals!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sure have missed your writing. Great to be inspired again. Enjoyed this much.

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  29. This is so rich, ramming my brain with all that imagry, I have to read it over and over...and mouth it as well. Frankly, I stopped looking for meaning, cuz the words bewitch and beguile in themselves. You really poured much into your cauldron this time, and it's beautiful!

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  30. 'a cropped limb's tingle'

    What an image to centre on. Your hollow universe is pretty dark.. and yet.. to feel that and also the hum of something alive and possible is the greater hint of joy.

    Wonderful language Joy.. I loved it all through. Pain and all.

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  31. "And so, while Jupiter and Mars
    two pissholes in a celestial snowdrift
    laser stared from a black sky"

    Gosh, is it really that? Hilarious! Never seen this description of Jupiter and Mars! A witty thinking will bring such wonders! Great verse Hedge!

    Hank

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  32. "while I scraped my heart’s hollow clean
    with a broken pen, wound the spell
    with a cropped limb’s tingle "

    My favorite, along with the last stanza generally (and "nothing can keep out the cold.) This is going to take some re-reading. Aside from the great lines, there are terrific individual pictures up front to introduce us to this particular swatch of darkness and alone-ness: the images of stunted light, stunted growth, though it is leavened by a flash of hope at the end. I'm enjoying thinking about this. Nice job.

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  33. What a beautiful read, hedgewitch. Gorgeous imagery.

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  34. There is such magic in this poem....It takes me from stanza to stanza and builds this magic. An early poem? You have a voice, Hedge that does not tremble. It serves you...and us, your readers, so well.

    You don't write cheap, Hedge....this will take rereading not because it's obtuse, but because it's so damn rich I don't want to slide over anything.

    Lady Nyo

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    1. Thanks, Jane. This is a poem from last month that's been giving me fits--finally got it reworked enough to hopefully be intelligible to someone besides myself. Always appreciate you reading, and your own gift you share.

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  35. So edgy and wonderful. I especially love "something within it seemed to ask to swim the flames". Wonderful poem, kiddo! I so love Fireblossom's comment!

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  36. there's a lot to like. fishmonger, witchlight, skinwalker, silence and sleep grow beside dismembered acorns, and nothing can keep out the cold. the power of the planets steals the show from this uncomfortable preceding dark scene. the bodies of the dead are useful, and the dead has much to say, if we are willing to listen. that's what i get from it. i like it a lot.

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  37. Ooh, this is an incantation indeed. You bring everything together so beautifully at the end--the final spark, and all its frisson-worthy bits. Just great. K.

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    1. Thanks for reading Karin--hope you're feeling better.

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  38. Someone once told me that, when you've arrived as a poet, your voice is so distinct that anyone can recognize it if they've read you. And, indeed, hedgewitch, your work shouts out your mark.
    "hair wintered strings..." That line is my favorite image among many.

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  39. Hair wintered strings of snowmelt dripping... I loved that line...so many words and images in this conjure a feeling of isolation but I loved the overall feel and at last that spark of light.

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  40. from behind the moon’s peridot dustsheet
    over a skinwalker's wrinkled
    tillage of shadowseed fields, where
    silence and sleep grow beside
    dismembered acorns
    ... and then it gets better! Unbelievable.

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  41. I came here somewhat stressed, somewhat tired ... and the magic and beauty of your poem washed over me and changed my mood to one of delight.

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  42. Mm the gods may not like the pisshole reference, made me smirk though.... as I swam in this dance

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  43. My goodness, this is strong.
    Lorca, eat you heart out.
    I envy you this kind of imagination.

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  44. This reminds me, though darker and more tangled, of theSong of Wandering Aengus--you'll recall the flames and fish. K.

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