Saturday, November 14, 2015

Time, Far Ringing








Time, Far Ringing



Time has taken my sex 
and snapped the tongue
from its stringent bell;
my heart no longer beats a wind
that blows to own the night,
but trips and

flutters

as if my breast
were made of falling feathers
drifting in autumn light
white among the scarlet leaves
like the airy swirls of mist
that pass for thought,

a stutter

as I deadhead my rosary
of each exhausted memory. 
The astringent nyx of 
Novembers remembered
slides her turquoise lips
into a smile,

flattering

a naiad singing still
beneath the thin blue ice
of forsaken winter,
and over the wet south wind
I hear the name she calls
her fingers fitful tapping;

fluttering

feathers of snow
above and dropping
notes of softened cold that
tumble down
tickling an invisible ear
with distant music:

Time far ringing
the tiny
clamorous
bells.




~November 2015









posted for        real toads











Nyx: the sister of Erebus, associated with night in Greek mythology, also: nix, nyx or nixie,(Germanic) a shape-shifting water sprite.



Apologia: Karin was kind enough to share some of her thoughts for this challenge with me early, as she knows I do not write well spontaneously. Therefore, this poem (and the writing exercise on 'I remember'  that birthed it)was started well before the misery and horror that took place yesterday in Paris --I apologize for being so out of sync with that here, and feel that I should write something on that subject instead, but I just am not as yet up to it. 




Images: Observatory Time: The Lovers, 1936, by Man Ray. Fair use via wikiart.org
St Cuileain Bell*, 7th-8th, 12th Century, via wikimedia.org, by Jononmac46, Shared under a Creative Commons License. Manipulated.

*For those interested: "The Bell Shrine of St. Cuileáin or Glankeen Bell is a mediaeval Irish bell shrine found near Borrisoleigh in County Tipperary, Ireland. [It] was made in a number of phases. The inner iron bell was made in the 7th or 8th centuries AD. The more elaborate outer case was produced in the early 12th centuries AD...The enamelled and niello inlaid crest of the outer case is decorated in the Ringerike style, which reflects the influence of the Vikings on contemporary fashion."~wikipedia


22 comments:

  1. Hey Hedge, I keep thinking of Poe's raven reading this poem--for the singer is very birdlike--although the opening stanza is quite fleshy and very physical in its suggestion--the singer becomes more and more like a bird with the heart of white feathers floating down, and even some sense of migration--but she is rather the opposite of Poe's raven as she kind of sings to herself--and not exactly a warning but a lament-- There are many beautiful lines and images here--and you sustain the metaphor of the bell so well, in its different senses--of course, I have to say that I especially like the deadheaded rosary, there is definitely something that happens with age--the old mea culpas disappear and even the turning points no longer seem all that crucial--the comparison to the old flowers is so apt--I think there are more songs coming with this Southern wind! It will not go gentle into that good night, or with a kind of gentleness that is quite awe-inspiring--thanks. k.

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    1. Thanks, k--and thanks for this exercise, which I know will serve me well in the future. And thanks as always, for your insight into the poem itself.

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    2. I wanted to say that I liked very much your one word clamors-- they are a bit light and more bell like than that word-- the stutter and flutter that move into a kind of ringing with -ing in fact added-- it is like the bell's tongue clipped and yet somehow finding its way back-- maybe silently for the invisible ear. K.

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  2. Oh... first of all, writing to a subject like this might be better in hindsight... so yes i do love what you came up using the images of the season.. November is a month where we can only live on memories... it's the strength that bears us forward. Love how you have used the words alone that are almost like a skeleton of leaves that bears the weight of the poem...

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  3. Really great images come to me as I am reading this! Very good!

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  4. That first stanza is so good that it left me speechless.

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  5. I'm with Mama Zen, your first stanza stunned me... After most of the shock let me moved forward, I felt the need to do my first reading fast and breathing only when I had to. Does that make any sense? I felt desperation, as if bits of me were coming apart line after line (I like when a piece of writing takes me by the throat). The cadence and mood put me in mind of Poe's work.

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  6. This gave me chills.. you have such a way of lifting the reader with your images and letting them loose to plummet through emotive depths. I can't remember another piece of writing which so moved me in its description of aging - the progressive fragility, the heart's flutter, the gently falling away from bodily concerns.

    flutters

    as if my breast
    were made of falling feathers
    drifting in autumn light...

    The movement of these lines is incredibly well-measured. I am ecstatic about the whole thing.

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    1. Thank you so much Kerry. The older I get, the more hollow I feel, so that all these things seem to come free and do what they do while I merely watch everything open out. The vista narrows, of course, but it deepens I think as well.

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  7. I don't know how anyone can write directly yet about Paris (but then, this is just my first stop in my reading), but a lament for the dead is pitch-perfect enough ... Lamenting the death of one's sexuality is a way, I think, of the Paris massacre, for the flower of youth died there .. But whether intended or no, this is still a bell for that cathedral. This bell (or belle) has lost her tongue, a la Philomena (sex ever a troublesome mix of rape and death), yet finds there is poetry still to grieve the loss with the nightingale's song. How many times can one sing in remembrance of the flame (deadheading the rosary, o yes)? At what point are the dead simply dead, ebbed fully into oblivion? (Is that when our pens finally dry up?) If erotics were the first ignite of poetry (Anne Carson would have us think so), then even the death of that flame is holy, is as resonant as its flowering. Besides, youth is wasted on the young. Is time that far-ringing, or memory, or a dying-dead culture whose pentameters stick in our ear like the barb of Philomena's beak in our heart? Delicate and deranging at once. Amen.

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    1. One sings on, like the nightingale on the thorn in the Andersen tale, and all for someone who was never going to listen anyway--but of course, that is not the point, was never the point, which is that the song itself, as you say, is our vehicle for flowering, for being the ringing bell. Thanks, B.

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  8. I think this is one of my favorites of yours, Joy. The bells begining and ending, and the images... I particularly like the deadheading of the rosary beads,

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  9. Oh....let's pretend I quoted back lines. Let's imagine that I said something very cogent about it all. Most of all, let's pretend that I didn't just fall sideways out of my chair. Let's pretend that anybody but you can write like this. Wow.

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  10. Deadheading a rosary is some serious stuff. I am speechless and I'm reading it again!

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  11. I'm with everyone else here Hedge, about this being a stellar piece. You had me when you snapped my tongue, hence my speechlessness:)

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  12. The passage of time conveyed in the phrase "dead heading my rosary" and all of it's accompanying imagery is marvelous. I can see the fingers plucking out each useless bead one by one and feel the disillusionment building.

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  13. Every word of your poem is felt in reading. And one shudders in the metaphorical collapse of humanity in the wake of this present spill of terror

    Much love...

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  14. "as if my breast were made of falling feathers"....I agree with Shay - this is just stellar writing, and no one writes like you. WOW! If this is what comes after the free-write, might you send me just a few snipped phrases rejected by your pen, for inspiration? LOL.

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  15. Hedge, I think this one is my favorite~ It has this epic free fall feel-we relive our lives in a flash reading your words~ I, too felt the Poe vibe and loved it!

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  16. This whole piece is fantastic. Oh if I could free write and come up with anything close to this, I would feel accomplished. So many have so eloquently spoken about your poem. I will simply say. I am in awe.

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  17. Deadheading your rosary.... wow, wow.

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  18. damn.

    how does one describe chills? a fabricated memory of late afternoon light over a becalmed lake, ancient as the once proud and now dust-binned mountain against which it laps, that this pen conjures?

    how you hold up age, as though it were tangible, for us to see, to really see. and hear, as it were, the echoes of those stilled bells. ~

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