Thursday, April 21, 2016

Thunder In Mourning



Thunder In Mourning






Thunder mumbled all night,
thunder subdued, a cello played
by a sobbing storm,
or the beat of a drum: an elephant's steps
on the following walk, trunk to tail through
the wrong end of the kaleidoscope
up the curved wall and
down down again toward the moving end.

As the stained-glass lights blind,
she shows me the way
to balance my bulk
up on a ball, on one oak-like foot,
small eyes sunk and kind
too old for my mind.

She's a thing born for trust
despite what we've seen
from killers and users,
pale abusers who'll never hold
the blowing rose that drops away
as they push close.
She knows
all our possum secrets,

our summer fades,
how we murder our minutes
to buy our day.
She sways, a grey
forest that grows wild and wide;
she blocks the dead light

that increases night.
She'll let my feet slide
down the dodger's paradigm
towards the planet that struggles
to be a star, to the music
womb-warm but
played from so far. She bends
down her great head

to let me ride, for going there
might take a fall, and all
that's left of our lives, drums in the rain,
footsteps patient--cello gone soft
thunder subdued,
thunder in mourning.


~April 2016


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Challenge: Elephants










Images: Top: Warrior Mounted on  an Elephant Overpowering a Cello, 1983, Salvador Dali
Fair use via wikiart.org
Bottom: author and source unknown No copyright infringement intended.



18 comments:

  1. Beautiful title and closing line especially and the elephant a great symbol for this kind of spirit guide--I don't see her exactly as memory here--all-seeing memory--though she may be colored by that, but more by a kind of animal humaneness (ha)--really a very lovely image--and the abuse that that humaneness faces--I'm nor sure of the spelling--is very poignantly laid out--of course, i especially like the line of spending the minutes to buy the days--that's not how you phrase it but afraid to go back and not lose something here. Thanks much. k.

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  2. This is so sad, but beautiful. The plight of the elephants should be touching us all, teaching us all.

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  3. ps - love the variants of the thunder in terms of different sounds, and visual aspect--blocking dead light--and also for me brings up the way elephants rumble the ground and then apparently listen to the vibrations of the ground. And the Dali is very interesting---! k.

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    1. I loved the Dali, and in fact it informed the poem quite a bit. Also, reminded me of your own very idiosyncratic elephants. Thanks, k.

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  4. It reads like a song. Weaving between different realms, progression, regression, the earth as we know it, and the loss of form and abuse being faced not just by animals but also by ourselves.

    Great writing and well done!

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  5. Beautiful and sad,,such is their plight,

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  6. Ah, this is so lovely to read, Hedge. I smiled to see Dali represented here, because that was my first thought on reading the prompt. I fear I am out of words this week because I would love to say more of how affecting your poem is.

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  7. So wonderful to read. I adore elephants. Love the eyes "too old for my mind", love seeing her as a forest "wild and wide", and how we "murder our minutes to buy our day". Wow. Love opening and closing with the thunder in mourning......sigh. Beautifully done and I have always loved that photo. Very few things as beautiful and wise as an elephant.

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  8. Oh! This brought me to tears. There are so many excellent lines in this, to quote them back to you would be to leave a novel of a comment, but i will single out the second stanza.

    Joy, this is full to brimming with the dignity, the grace, and the native wisdom of elephants, as themselves and as a metaphor for nature itself. If we see clearly, then being offered a ride by such a thing so much larger than ourselves must be both exquisitely thrilling but also humbling and it should give us pause. The bar is gone. Just gone. My jaw is hanging open, I am mopping my cheeks and I can't think how else to tell you how marvelous this is.

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    1. Thanks so much, Shay. You know I always hope to do the best I can for your challenges, and I am so glad you liked this one.

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  9. Amazing, Hedge and this part really grabbed me:

    "our summer fades,
    how we murder our minutes
    to buy our day.
    She sways, a grey
    forest that grows wild and wide;
    she blocks the dead light"

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  10. This whole piece is just too beautiful, but I'm just gonna live here for awhile, if nobody minds:
    "She knows
    all our possum secrets,

    our summer fades,
    how we murder our minutes
    to buy our day."

    This makes me want to write a poem. No better nod than that, in my book. Fantastic words, hedge.

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    1. Thanks, DE. Much appreciate the support--I've needed a lot of help with that poem-writing thing myself lately so glad if I provided even a mild nudge.

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  11. I had to come back for another read. It is beautiful, haunting....that big head bending down...............just gorgeous writing, Joy.

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  12. This to me is something so great, like a myth with layers of darkness and a parting of sorts.. each and every line is quotable but just to mention this one:

    paradigm
    towards the planet that struggles
    to be a star

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  13. When i saw the challenge I would have loved to leap into it, but too directly was too fraught with all those putrefying elephants ripped of their tusks. Couldn't find a ledge just high enough to round and yet propound that horror, but you did ... The first stanza provides the remove, the second transforms I to elephantism of soul, the third steps back to consider what this says about aging, the fourth finds a sisterhood there between victims of the world's own aging, and the fifth lumbers slowly off together, become "drums in the rain ... thunder in mourning." An elegy almost too delicate for its massive sadness -- just what I couldn't find a way to write. So happy and sad you did.

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  14. So many images, so many gems shining with dramatic sadness. Adored the image -
    how we murder our minutes
    to buy our day.

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  15. this is a poem all by itself, and commands we listen:

    our summer fades,
    how we murder our minutes
    to buy our day.

    how is it that the GOP has stolen the most majestic of herbivores? and yet this helps reclaim them, in small measure ~

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