Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Liar's Moon

The Wounded Angel - Hugo Simberg

Liar's Moon

I sit and watch your brushstroke of back expanding,
spreading out on the canvas in the wash of
endless days to come til there is only black blurr;
no memory thrumming in the ears,
not even a dead tear’s salt lick on the cheek.

You may have taken off your eyes, but that hasn’t
stopped you seeing in nightmares, dim shapes of
you, forever dancing to the irresistible song of  the knife,
me, the ghosted wormbitch, pale and passive,
hiding poison in a soft smiling mouth

split with sour pink grapefruit lips, astringent and
stinging wet, dripping worm words of false
agreement, appeasement, as she rolls her swollen white
corpus over, bleached and boneless belly up,
while still she spits green bile.

Or do you not look back
because you see the sadness of yourself, us both
mounted on the void like feathered lepidoptera, forgotten ciphers
trailing across the velvet sky of memory,
the falling embers of  burned angels.

It’s a liar’s moon tonight anyway,
showing nothing anyone would want
to see, just that dead-branched dark grove
where nothing holy ever stood
no goddess laughed or wept,

where even the pythoness recoils
on her bed of smoke and  broken glass
from shattering out words
in streams of darkness, and the lamia won’t stop
licking neurotically at the bloodless wound.

Burnt wings flutter the air ringing with
your voice, your laugh receding,
gone where eggshells and first feathers go;
If you have any choice
I would rather not be that worm; let me be

just an unplanted field, some wide beach of poppies
and birdsong, or mist with a river, where
inside the insect whir of summer, a naiad’s wraith
turns like a leaf in the turquoise wind
that blows from oblivion.

May 2011

Posted for OneShotWednesday at the inimitable OneStopPoetry

Image: The Wounded Angel, Hugo Simberg, 1903


  1. if words had a color....i would need some ray bans to be able to look at your poem...excellent hedge...love the ...split with sour pink grapefruit lips..and hey - you were quite in a moody mood when writing this...no..?

  2. ewww...bloated bodies spitting bile is so exorcist...i like you better in the turquoise wind as a leaf...ummm...vivid imagery to say the least...

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  4. had to edit comment. :) was trying to say how much 5th and 6th stanzas reminded me of R. Browning's "Childe Rolland. . ." great job! :)

    Monty / bummy

  5. Where are you from, really...another star? Streaking into our atmosphere...blinding us with your brilliance...

  6. Each line here is whittled to a punji aimed at History's throat, taking calm revenge with each plunge and slash. It's perfectly bloodcurdling and almost achieves its revenge--you belay the killing stroke. At first I thought this might have been addressed to a bad old lover, but then I wondered if the liar's moon is one's own fierce bound resentment, unable to let dead things die. Do you ever get lost in the magnitude of your own voice? Rue its blunt force, it's razor tooth for a curse's savor? I get tired of the sea, of blue monotonies tra la la-ing in my glub glub ear. The last stanza seems to plead for a voice unsteeped in gall: a change in the weather, a greener breeze. To let sleeping corpses lie. - Brendan

  7. Some great lines and images, the liar's moon...wonderful and to go where eggshells and feathers first go...the pictures pop into my mind and travel so many places...a fantasy that opens countless doors....Nice Hedge...just love the Title...bkm

  8. Really amazing piece, hedgewitch.

    The painting is stunning, also.

  9. This is so full of imagery, going in different directions..a.nd that is a compliment!

    Rich beyond words, Hedge....and complex, provocative, haunting.

    I need to read it a couple of times to get the full juice of "Liars Moon"....

    But it is so full I can't hold it in with one reading....

    This is a keeper...and gives more upon more reading.

    Marvelous and convoluted imagery...stuff of wicked fairies and nightmares!

    Lady Nyo

  10. ArtWay published a visual meditation on that image a few months ago. It's so full of symbol and meaning!

    As always, you turn out a poem worthy of several readings, full of many wonderful images and phrases.

  11. I think it was T.S. Eliot who said: 'Great poetry communicates before it's fully understood.' How true that is, and how perfectly this wonderfully rich and complex poem proves the validity of his words. Brilliant and accomplished. James.

  12. Like a feast of Gothic nightmares never before released! An incredible torrent of sensual grossness!

  13. I wish that I had the knowledge to give this the type of comment it deserves. Unfortunately, all I can say is that it made me want to hit something and cry. That's a good thing.

  14. @James--great Elliot quote.

    @Timoteo:...umm, I'm from Chicago, but I ran away with the gypsies??

    @Brendan: no, my voice, whatever it may be, is a comfort actually, and as always happy to discuss who this is about and anything else you'd like to know elsewhere, though there is a lot of truth in what you say about it coming down in the end to being one's own head one puts in the half-nelson when wrestling with the (thin but wiry)ghosts of old resentments.

    @Maureen--yes, the picture is eerie almost there are so many supernatural whiffs and symbols to it.I'm sure I've taken it out of any religious context here, but it seemed to speak for something in the poem to me.

    @MZ You know all you need to know. Thanks.

    @Gemma @GT: I love this comment, though I hadn't looked at it quite that way. Thanks for the props.

    And thanks all for your time and comments.

  15. The whole thing is sly and amazing, but it is the 2nd and 3rd stanzas that really stand out for me. Sometimes your pen must just burn up in your hand, woman.

  16. You had me at "the ghosted wormbitch." Well, actually you had me before that. I just really wanted to repeat that phrase. Bird, mammal, reptile, sky, earth, nature—all vivid and tuned unique with a hint of an impassioned angry tone. Amazing!

  17. Totally brilliant, Hedgewitch. One of my favorites of yours, so deeply steeped in haunting imagery. So rich a trip you took me on!!!!!

  18. We were writing in the same neighborhood this time. You had it going on. I was going to pick out some lines, but it was like a marathon of creativity. Some things aren't as they seem, a liar's moon, in between.

  19. When memories rise up as though they happened yesterday brought on through something as simple as a walk in the garden at night, most people shudder, smile, take it in, or shut it out. But not you, you watch it unfold as though it were in the "right now" and it etches your consciousness with words, symbols, and fierce commitment to make it real enough to exorcize. My favorite lines out of many,
    "mounted on the void like feathered lepidoptera, forgotten ciphers
    trailing across the velvet sky of memory,
    the falling embers of burned angels."
    You are a genius! Gay

  20. Such brilliant creativity...as other's have stated, too many gems to mention, but I shall say that the third stanza is just killer to me...the picture of that smile with the "worm words" akin to grubs in my mind's eye...ewe. Thank you for leaving a final stanza of a more calming visual ~

  21. whew, this made my head spin. you are very talented!

  22. The title alone was awesome and the poem lived up to it in every sense of the word, hedgewitch!

  23. Such richness of imagery and harnessed power of words -- this poem blew me away.

  24. Wow!!! I love this, so much to take in with one reading. This is one of those truly great poems you can indulge in time and time again like a great work of art. I don't mean to be over the top but I shall be back to read again and again.

  25. So rich, so strong...
    'the ghosted wormbitch, pale and passive,
    hiding poison in a soft smiling mouth'
    ...wonderful words.

  26. I too am breathless after several readings and a little research into a few of your umpteen elements.Witchery for sure. I had ferns brushing my window pane --- could have made that wormwood, who knew. I was kinda headed for those naiads by the stream maybe though, where angels fear to tread. Love your work, not least because it makes me ignore dishes in the sink and unmade beds :-)

  27. You are so deep, profound, brilliant!!
    You would make a cave man Love poetry...
    Ha!....You just did!

  28. What the...to begin, what a curious visual...to me aback.

    As to the work itself, such depth, and such layers...haunting, and vivid, rich in the power of its delivery...a visit to your abode is always a pleasant trip my friend. Your words are always such wonderful and stirring things....such a poet.

  29. Took me aback, rather*. Apparently my mastery of the English language is not so complete. Oh dears.

  30. @Chris--don't feel bad. I misspelled T.S. Eliot in my comment above. I hate that these comments can't be edited. And it is a disturbing image, I agree. Thanks for your kind words.

    @G-man: I have lots of experience with cave men(like most women.) Glad you liked it, my friend.

    @Ann: Poets shouldn't have to do housework. I feel very strongly about this--now I must go vacuum doghair off every concievable surface of my house. :-)Thanks for your input, as always.

    And thanks to everyone for stopping by and reading. I appreciate all of you who comment, and all of you who just read.

  31. This one's dour and almost mythic, an exquisite expression - well done!

  32. Geez, woman, yer freakin' brilliant!

    I wonder if you roamed windy hills alone as a child? And floated paper schooners in puddles that were your oceans? And carved snowbanks halfway to Earth's core? I think one HAS to have done all that and more as a child, to end up with such poems as this!!


  33. I wanted to quote this and then said oh no, I'll quote this other and then another.... you know? as to say I loved this especially... But eventually I would have quoted the whole thing.... you HW always... Top notch

  34. A mythical walk you have created for us to journey through. Such a lovely web of imagery in this piece. I found it quite compelling, nicely composed! ~ Rose

  35. wel, they've said it all.. I too just love the title, and the image you chosen to go with the piece. And the body of the work shows great craft as foundations for an artist to shine with their creativity. Somany great lines.images, but I have to say your parting shot is my favourite. Way to go out -

    naiad’s wraith >yes yes
    turns like a leaf in the turquoise wind >whoa! the colour of that wind!
    that blows from oblivion.

    I think this may be my favourite of yours I've seen to date actually Joy. Fantastic piece

  36. Excellent...deep...great write!

  37. Thank you Luke--I'm very glad you liked it, especially that last tercet. Many rewrites for this one. And the picture is trippy, for sure.

    And thanks, Jannie, ayala, C.Rose--and my sweet Dulce for her always tasty input. Much appreciated.

  38. I KNEW that about you and the windy hills, as per your comment at my blog just now.

    I KNEW it!!!! :) :)


  39. No paper schooners, though. I did have a box full of what I thought were crickets, but that didn't turn out well. ;-)

  40. lepidoptera
    a sagacious way to say
    moths and butterflies


    Had to look that one up, thanks! :D

  41. I just liked the sound of it there, mostly--after the worm, it needed some linguistic relief. :)

  42. It's high time I arrived at this place of treasure. You had me at "brushstroke of back."

    This poem deserve more time than I have at this moment. I'll be back.

  43. Thank you Ruth. Very glad you came by--I also have been late discovering your poetry,though I have been reading your Rilke site for quite awhile, and am glad to have done so.


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats