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Welcome to a special two part edition of the Off The Shelf Archives. Since the month of April was devoted to tirelessly torturing myself into somehow scribbling a poem every day, the Off the Shelf page has been languishing in abandonment. So, to make up for this neglect, I am having two poems featured there this month, and both will be by one of my favorite poets of all time, Shay Caroline Simmons, more often encountered on the internet as Fireblossom, who also happens to be my BFF and, along with Kelli Simpson (Mama Zen) co-author of our recently released poetry anthology, Gemini/Scorpio/Capricorn.
Shay, interviewed sipping Vanilla Chai at her palatial beach house in Antarctica, refused to answer most of my personal questions about how she survives all winter on the ice floes, sleeping on polar bears for warmth and playing gypsy violin to passing beluga whales, but did deign to grant me permission to plug her book...I mean, feature two poems from My Mad Love, pictured above, a comprehensive collection of her work covering the last five years at her blog Shay's Word Garden.
NOTE: These poems are under copyright, so don't even think about using them in your next collection of seasonally-inspired unicorn haikus.
The first selection is entitled, The Healing, and is one of Shay's infrequent but always highly effective forays into rhyme. It was very difficult choosing only two poems, but this one makes an instant entry into the brain with its sparse and haunting short couplets, and for the unexpectedly sharp end.
You can find it here, on the Off The Shelf page.
Sonnet: I said I splendidly loved you; it's not true
I said I splendidly loved you; it's not true.
Such long swift tides stir not a land-locked sea.
On gods or fools the high risk falls -- on you --
The clean clear bitter-sweet that's not for me.
Love soars from earth to ecstasies unwist.
Love is flung Lucifer-like from Heaven to Hell.
But -- there are wanderers in the middle mist,
Who cry for shadows, clutch, and cannot tell
Whether they love at all, or, loving, whom:
An old song's lady, a fool in fancy dress,
Or phantoms, or their own face on the gloom;
For love of Love, or from heart's loneliness.
Pleasure's not theirs, nor pain. They doubt, and sigh,
And do not love at all. Of these am I.
Image: Seascape, by Caude Monet, 1866
Public domain via wikipaintings.org