Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Winter Door


The Winter Door




We sat together in the cold starmelt
close as blackbirds murmur in a leafless tree
or spaced high and still on a windy staff of wires,
when you brought out the wine that opens doors
and thawed my throat enough so I sang it all,
as if it were the last chance secret freed;
everything you'd want in words or need
witch-written jade in a moon white snow-- I sang it all,
curving in its loop the necklace for
a much softer pillory than the one I wore.

After the seventh glass, you gave out a flame
that threw its sulphur flicker on the deep,
flew your bright oriflamme of crippled grace
that shivered as it blew, and turned your face.
I had to guess it all from one lowered glance,
what hard secret hid below ones freely told
shadowed on a window where behind
some changeling moved---before it turned its face;
still, words are not a thing that blackbirds know
who pose no avatars in jade or snow.

When we sat in the light that fell
before it rose, in a country
cobbled crazy from a broken spring
to float its leaping green on silver ice;
when we laughed
to watch the way it is time bites
the coldest decade down to a burning drop
star-beaded for Orion's gut bowstring,
we were then as we are now, translated stark:
two who find their doorways in the dark.





~January 2015






posted for     real toads


Fireblossom Friday: Winter
The ever-blazing Fireblossom asks us to examine winter without any naturalist's delirium, and of course, absolutely not with a haiku.






Image: Blackbirds, © joyannjones 2013





28 comments:

  1. some cool language in this one joy...the starmelt...ha...invoked a cool imagery...the oriflamme...golden flame of crippled grace...and the light that fell before it rose...some cool structure in this too...the near repetitions...the end rhymes....nicely played...

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  2. "Witch-written jade in a moon white snow" - you employ such gorgeous imagery in your work, Joy. I, too, love the "star-melt"......those two closing lines are perfection! Wowzers!

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  3. New words gave me chills from your word picture of winter's door

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  4. Oh, wow. " I sang it all " What delight! I missed that refrain in Stanza 2 wherein "words are not a thing that blackbirds know" but "time bites" and you left us with laughter, with two together, with an uplifted realization. Beautiful poem.

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  5. The imagery and cadence is just gorgeous here. Love how the narrative is balanced against the imagery. Much like the season goes from dark to light at the end. We will sustain through this just like every year.

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  6. Hey Joy--I realize there are aspects of this I don't follow probably because I don't know very much about symbolism--but this seems to me fundamentally a kind of love poem, or a disappointed in love poem--and seems to describe a kind of relationship which I think is known to many--there is a great intimacy here--blackbirds seem a particular kind of bird--not only is there something about the darkness, but the fact that they stay north in winter, are scavengers--and here musicians--of a sort--hardy, but also sort of loners in an odd way--or here anyway--you describe very appealingly and almost metaphysically a kind of hard-wrought intimacy--even if the song is brought out with wine, it must be won--and then after the gift has been offered, some other truth comes into play--the idea of the changeling makes me think that the other player here is just someone who is not somehow fully of the same species--not able to give love in a the same way at least--and though both seem to be people seeking some exit or knowledge in cold and darkness--the offerer seems both a bit more alone (a little rejected) but less alone because having been able to offer love--despite the pillory--so a bit more into the green. I didn't understand the Orion part very well--I may be off on the other things too--or the oriflamme--which seems a French image to me, but I feel like this poem refers to older struggles than the current ones--Iage old maybe)--anyway, it has a real ballad like/legend like quality to it--the slightly run-on sentences work very well to carry out that "chant"--I found the words are not a thing blackbirds know kind of fun, but also, you know, rather poignant--it's a sign of hope to have an avatar! Anyway--very cool poem. Thanks, k.

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    1. Thanks, k--I am using oriflamme--a particularly favorite word I try not to drag into things too often--more in its secondary meaning, as "any ensign, banner, or standard, especially one that serves as a rallying point or symbol.," here for an ongoing state of battle in a life. Also it seemed to follow after the other image of a flame. As always you have picked up so much which is opaque here--I appreciate you investing the time and attention in it--the struggle for intimacy is ageless, often deflected, and denied, but still, when it exists even if never brought to any kind of fruition for whatever reasons, it exists and denial is kind of irrelevant. Again, many thanks.

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    2. I also wanted to say that the slant rhyme and sometimes true rhyme works so subtly here as to almost not make itself noticed, and yet, of course, it is felt; it creates a kind of musicality like the birds on the wires--oddly--and I don't know if this was intentional--it gets a bit less out of sync as the poem goes on, as if the togetherness or feigned togetherness is also breaking down-- k.

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    3. I meant to say that it gets MORE out of sync as the poem goes on, meaning that there is less of it or it is more slanted--and that seems to complement the underlying movement of the narrative. k.

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  7. So much has been said and I am just about out of words at this hour on this day but thank goodness I still have the energy to simply soak your work up. it goes in so easily and gently but with a nice bite that reminds me of the times when I found company in the dark and exits. The closing is enough to make me FEEL it, the thing, and that is a dose of something I more than needed at this hour on this day.

    Cheers Hedge
    u da best xx

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    1. Thank you Arron. We all need a poetry fix sometimes to get us through--so glad you can get one here. Peace to you, brother, and be well.

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  8. I really got the sense of life turning full circle in the endless battle between fire and ice. The final stanza opens on such an exquisite image, and it really cemented your final words in place.

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    1. Thank you Kerry. No match for some of your recent writing, but what I had.

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  9. To me this is one of those one-night-stands where one falls in love over a crashing crescendo of booze only to wake and ken so much damage on the inside of that other. Trapped inside the other. But what of that winter door, the freezing invitation? Reminds me of my old drunk self which couldn't generate any real heat within and so sought it relentlessly in an other, any damn omniflammitory skirt. (Great word H.) There's like and like on the surface of this wooing, but since speaker and paramour don't yet know who they individually are, they don't find out the real nature of the similitude until much later. (Well, the speaker does, though I suspect the Rambling Man still hasn't a clue--that's his job.) "We were then as we are now, translated stark: / two who find their doorways in the dark" -- nice couplet H, inverting the tale into that wintry truth. Maybe the couple was seeking comfort, but 'tis a strange one to welcome the winter in another into the winter in one's self. But whaddayagonna do. The heart is a weird continent, so much fire and ice.

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    1. First I need to thank you for putting the idea in my head of interjecting an unexpectedly repeated phrase into things from your poem the other day--I've used it a bit differently, but same basic idea, a refrain without being a refrain, so many thanks for that. Secondly, I see what you're saying, and there is a bit of that futile search and the chimera of investing the Other with whatever it is one wants, for sure--that's pretty hard to avoid in love-- but I didn't really mean for the wine to be taken literally, and at the end, I was going more for the doors that open *out* of winter, and darkness. Thanks for reading, B., as always, and for giving it a bit of another dimension--always good to see. .

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  10. Joy,
    For me, this is a beautiful rendering of a winter of the soul...a portrait of the attempt to meet that is so often incomplete, or at least falls short of an expectation or an ideal. Like that wonderful figure of Orion's bow, with the stars implying the complete picture that can only exist in our minds and imaginations. But enough of my feeble attempts to restate your meanings--what I admire so much in this is how straightforward, simple and open these words are...there is a direct, no detour path to the heart in all of this. Very powerful, indeed. Steve K.

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    1. Thank you Steve--I think you have caught the feeling I was going for very well, especially where I was going with Orion. Thanks so much for your kind words, and intelligent reading(with the intelligence of the heart.)

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  11. Starmelt, witch-written Jade, country cobbled crazy, leaping green on silver ice.... my, oh, my, what lovely words and images. I get absolutely lost in them.

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  12. I was looking this over carefully, trying to figure out if you are using a form or not. I decided not, and yet, there certainly is structure at work here. If it isn't a form, it should be.

    I love your description of how drink loosens inhibitions, and makes words, confessions, truths and not-so-truths flow easily when they wouldn't otherwise. However, it is more than drink that makes this speaker let her guard down, isn't it? She thinks she has found one of her tribe, though a changling he may be, and he is surely never really seen clearly. The glimpse is potent enough. In the end, she's right, isn't she? He *is* a kindred soul, and for a moment at least, the crazy cobbled spring makes a frozen world green. Like Janis, i say, grab it while ya can.

    ps--that video is amazing!

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    1. Thanks, Shay. I tried to get it all into a haiku but alas--it was a bit too long. ;_)

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  13. Beautiful imagery, Hedge. Like Shay, I'm not sure if this is form or not, but it reads like form done beautifully. I particularly loved the repetition of "I sang it all" in the first stanza.

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  14. As Karin said, this reads like legend or ballad. Deeply personal, but universal too, and as old as myth. I want to quote a line that really struck me, but honestly I can't pick one. This is dark and beautiful, and I'd love to hear it spoken.

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  15. The idea of time "star beaded" is so lovely. I saw this on FB - the musical notes of each individual making up a song - and such is life - the ups and downs - hopefully in the end we each have our own sweet song played out in memories of our children, friends, family…

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  16. We are all birds on a wire singing through the dark. I love the imagery and words strung like pearls. Beautiful

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  17. Wow, this is good ... greetings from AB

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  18. this is amazing, Joy ~ your poetry is like a symphony! stunning!

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