Saturday, June 16, 2012

Chimera

Chimera



When I left all I asked was peace 
of the starry void, that
every shrewish hope be finally silent 
yet after me you sent one white bird
only marsh cloud singing,
too soft, too frail to fly far.

I dreamed of you last night--
did you call me?
No, it was just my broken eyes
wanting to see the old calligraphy
strong and alive on the blank page but
that will never be again.

You were dream's pale clerk
troubled, frowning at the paper
on which many things were written
none of them my name.
I stood by your shoulder;
you turned, walking through me.

Waking, I couldn't say
if you or I was the ghost.
The gift of sleep
is taken back and I sit staring
at the perforated day, at walls falling
in this helpless place of the dead

where I've washed up
already chewed by the chimera
stung by the manticore,
wondering what white wings will come
out of the siren darkness, 
what ghost bird is left.

June 2012



Posted for   Poetics   at dverse poets pub

Karin Gustafson is hosting today and asks us to voyage away from the known and explore the theme of exile. 



If you would like to hear the poem read by the author, click below:





Image: Chimera, by Gustave Moreau, 1884, watercolor
Public domain, via wikipaintings.org




27 comments:

  1. my broken eyes
    wanting to see the old calligraphy...great line...and none of them my name....also the waking and not knowing which is the ghost is a great touch as well hedge...

    nice emotional current through it as well....

    ReplyDelete
  2. this felt a bit like losing oneself or not sure anymore where and how one exactly is...like lines that wash away and can't be seen clearly anymore..the walking through you or vice versa...the things written on paper but the name missing...reminded me of the film where the girl in the film flight plan disappears in the plane and they want to convince the mother her daughter was never with her on that plane..

    ReplyDelete
  3. "You were dream's pale clerk
    troubled, frowning at the paper
    on which many things were written
    none of them my name.
    I stood by your shoulder;
    you turned, walking through me."

    Do I ever like that stanza. It's one of those you toss out there from time to time just to make me feel like an ape holding a broken pencil upside down and calling myself a poet!

    This suits the stated theme of "exile" ideally.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is really incredibly powerful. It creates that mood of sinister events that pull me into your sadness. The power here comes from the images that are so unearthly and breathtaking that for the time during which the I read the poem it's transformed. Wonderful.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wonderful poem; the type of exile I'd like to have written of - exile even from Lethe. Well done. k.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Amazing piece... I just love this part:

    You were dream's pale clerk
    troubled, frowning at the paper
    on which many things were written
    none of them my name.
    I stood by your shoulder;
    you turned, walking through me.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Waking, I couldn't say
    if you or I was the ghost.
    The gift of sleep
    is taken back and I sit staring
    at the perforated day, at walls falling
    in this helpless place of the dead

    Clever twist in the journey, Joy! We are brought though time and wondering what it can be and where! The lingering thoughts make it great!

    Hank

    ReplyDelete
  8. Very much enjoyed reading this and love the line "staring at the perforated day" !

    ReplyDelete
  9. One great line after anothe rin this one. Powerful, intense, and a pleasure to read.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Oh my, this made me sigh. Your reading of it added all the more to the effect. One time during a poetry critique session, we discussed how eventually a poet develops a distinct voice, and how that's a sign of poetic prowess. When I first clicked on your link, something else distracted me, so that I returned to read, not certain of whose blog I was on. Your voice rang through loud and clear. This is one of my favorites of yours, hedge.

    ReplyDelete
  11. You were dreams pale clerk...I couldn't say if you or I were the ghost... Some really ethereal tones in here that made this so beautiful for me x

    ReplyDelete
  12. The third stanza is also my favorite ~ Great writing Hedge and I enjoyed listening to your soft voice ~

    ReplyDelete
  13. This is haunting with an ethereal feeling...I love this part a lot:

    "You were dream's pale clerk
    troubled, frowning at the paper
    on which many things were written
    none of them my name."

    Excellent as always, Hedge!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Beautiful words, lines, almost other worldly! And love your reading, too.

    ReplyDelete
  15. No, it was just my broken eyes
    wanting to see the old calligraphy
    strong and alive on the blank page

    This is the passage above all the others in this fine poem that really grabbed me.

    ReplyDelete
  16. "The gift of sleep
    is taken back and I sit staring
    at the perforated day, at walls falling
    in this helpless place of the dead

    "where I've washed up"

    And already fooled by a puff of cloud bird and eaten by two beasts, and now expecting white wings at any moment! What left could torment her/him in this endless wakefulness where she/he sits with broken eyes?

    "When I left all I asked was peace
    of the starry void, that
    every shrewish hope be finally silent . . . ."

    Your voice is softly resigned, as are the words. Is this exiled being a chimera itself? It could be that story, I guess--but in not knowing I think of self exile and fear. Powerful.

    ReplyDelete
  17. death dying and loss seem to be themes in your writing, and you express these conditions/ideas very well, great insights, and as always, no words wasted. also, i have really enjoyed hearing you read your poems, im a strong believer in poetry as spoken art... nice to see that tradition continue.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, wood. I'm glad you enjoy the readings--still a lot of bugs to work out, but hey, it's free software so what can I say? Do you ever read your own work--I'm not normally an audio-oriented reader, but I would think your style would suit spoken word down to the ground. Appreciate the visit.

      Delete
  18. you really pull out the fragile beauty of lonely here. a beautiful, beautiful piece.

    ReplyDelete
  19. This took my breath away. Wow...

    ReplyDelete
  20. I am running out of superlatives for your work but absolutely none of my enthusiasm for it. I do so want to leave gifts each time for the gifts you give us, your readers.

    ReplyDelete
  21. i was going to say this is my new favorite of your poems.... and then i listened to your reading... exquisite, my dear hedge!

    ReplyDelete
  22. I know this feeling. For me it can only be caused by old lovers, maybe because that emptiness is bigger than any other and the wounds sting a little more than any other.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I often wonder how you manage to make such beauty out of pain and darkness; this poem is such a lush example of your skill. The opening lines, and then of each stanza, really draw me in. The direct voice, beautiful language, and melancholy tone are just so satisfying. That word "manticore" is fabulous, one I didn't know, and is balanced perfectly by "white wings" and "siren darkness." Wonderful!

    ReplyDelete
  24. "that
    every shrewish hope be finally silent"

    Oh, how I feel that!

    ReplyDelete

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