Monday, February 10, 2014

Century





Century


A hundred years ago
you came to undo my buttons
throw my calico skirt, my muslin shift
over the moon, unpeeled teal eyes to
lay me down in piney night,
exhaled a smoke ring sigh to drift
around me, knotted tight
in deep green black.

Now I spit this centenary curse:
that we ever came back
to the skins we couldn't shed
on that cabin floor,
from murmuring boards so old
they glowed snake blue, luminous
as the windfall shapes we wore,
dropped apples of a slanting  

summergone sun. I walked
like a freckled young lioness
before she learns her scarlet roar,
my mane of stars 
shook out on the jade inflow;

who could know I'd die there under the gun
a hundred years ago?


~January 2013


posted for    real toads
Open Link Monday




This poem appears, along with 35 additional poems of mine, in our new book, 
Three Note Howl:The Wild Hunt,
 which I am flogging here only once, I promise.

 All the poems in this book were meticulously gathered, transcribed and  
due totally to the industry, persistence and generosity of Shay Simmons,(Fireblossom) who dragged me kicking and screaming once again into the world of published material, and who has graciously allowed both the talented Mama Zen and myself to share space with 64 of her own brilliant poems.

 Thank you, Shay, thanks to Kerry O'Connor and  all the Real Toads, and to everyone who reads and comments here for the impetus to continue writing,  and to  all who were so encouraging and supportive of our first effort.






Header: Cabin Under the Trees, Paul Gauguin, 1892
Public Domain, via wikipaintings.org
Footer: Jungle with Lion, Henri Rousseau, 1910
Public Domain, via wikipaintings.org

22 comments:

  1. Wow, strong piece. Congratulations on the publication.

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  2. Flog on, sister!

    "dropped apples of a slanting

    summergone sun."

    I can't even tell you how brilliant I find that line break.

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  3. Oooh! I remember this poem! (Who could forget the calico skirt thrown over the moon?) This is a fine example of your very best work - that collection of poems is really a must-have, and I curse the exchange rate and financial constraints of having two daughters at university. But I am truly privileged to read all you write hot off the press.

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    1. And vice versa--looking forward to the time when you are able to put one out there, Kerry. Thanks for everything.

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  4. Thanks for bringing this one back, as a Look See into the second installment of the Cannons Three ... I've read this now four or five times and can't quite get the sense of the curse, which seems passive in a way, unable to change what happened and so fixing it there - "... that we ever came back / to the skins we couldn't shed / on that cabin floor," -- As if the curse could only praise the lioness killed there, lacking the real magic to change history. (Poems are cheaper than whiskey, yes, but they aren't mandrake, are they? Or Prozac.) Sorry if I missed the conceit so finely soiled in the details. (What a shift from "knotted tight / in deep green black" to "...shook out on the jade inflow." Congrats on the book, can't think of three more deserving voices.

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    1. Yes, it's the Curse of Vain Regrets--not a very useful one, I'm afraid. Yet perhaps instructive, at least to the lioness who is no more, or the pride that lost her? Anyway, thanks for reading, as always B, and for the kind words.

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  5. Hey Joy--a beautiful poem, luminous with color and imagery. The imagery kind of looms about--the smoke ring sigh that knots tight is especially vivid and the snake floor and the scattershot apples--I know that's not right--the dropped apples of the slanting/summergone sun. Beautiful sound too--the peeled teal eyes- and the muslin shifts only two of the compelling internal rhymes. Terrific. Congrats on book. I will get it. I've been very taken up and not on the internet much but will do as time opens a bit. k.

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    1. Thanks, k--loom-inous stuff, eh? ;_) Appreciate you taking the time to read and leave your always valuable impressions. I hope less stress and more leisure is on the way.

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    2. Loom=inous is right. Well -woven! I am still away from home for a few more days but then hope to have a short break from traveling about.

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  6. Such a strong poem...it knocked me on my ass...now I've fallen and I can't get up!

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  7. I love the summergone sun and walking like a freckled young lioness. A wonderful write, Joy. I LOVE the mane of stars!

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  8. whew....some really magical elements in this...learning the scarlet roar//main of stars...there is this other worldly feel to this time a hundred years ago....i like how century plays off centurnary...but the close...the being cut down by the gun...nice....

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  9. Your use of color and natural elements add details and depths of meaning. The scene wrenches the heart, as I want that lioness to have roamed and roared with ferocity, not loss.

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  10. This reminds me of the slave who became a free woman, Tété, in Isabelle Allende's book: Island Beneath the Sea which I'm reading and loving. Good luck with the book which I've already ordered.

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  11. Oh, wow, Hedge. This is fabulous. You are an artist.
    K

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  12. Someday when I have a bit of money again I'll buy your books, Joy. I like the idea of reading the three of you in bunches. But since Herr Reaper is grinning and rubbing his bony fingers together at the moment, I'll have to subsist on borrowed internet and morsels - or rather, feasts - such as this poem for the nonce. ~

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    1. Thanks, M--we don;t do it for the not very much money--just to have our stuff collected in a book--it's a neat feeling. I'm grateful for any way you read my scribbling.

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  13. As you know, this is one of my favorites of yours, Joy. It's so different, and so inspired.

    I LOVE the bottom painting with the lion!

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  14. What a great accomplishment! I absolutely love this one. Magical.

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