Saturday, April 5, 2014

Not To Stay

Not to Stay

When you came
I didn't know you.
In fact I never knew you
till you'd gone,
when I decided
I'd believe
if never trust you
because you promised nothing
when you gave
that breath, that life,
your mouth to mine
with the same
random flowering as a bramble,
all your berries blue-moon full,
star-crowned with thorns,
hanging clotted on the wind
the first hard frost.

~April 2014

Top image: Cooling Off, 1970, by Jamie Wyeth
May be protected by copyright. Posted under fair use guidelines.
Footer: Still Life with Apples, Pears, Lemons and Grapes, 1886 , by Vincent Van Gogh
Public domain. Both via


  1. This makes me think of someone who enters one's life, makes a significant impact then leaves it, without a backward glance. That is hard to come to terms with, but your poem shows the good that comes with the heartache, and that there is always something left behind.

    1. Exactly--there's an old Greek quote whose source I can't recollect atm that goes, 'If things happened exactly as men wished them to happen, it would not be what was best for them at all..' very roughly, but you get what I mean, I'm sure. We don't know what endings our beginnings will bring. Thanks, Kerry.

  2. "the same random flowering as a bramble". I love that, you old romantic, you. What a pity to be woken by someone who really doesn't offer anything except that waking. At first, that can seem miracle enough, it's only later that we feel shortchanged when more doesn't follow. Such a connection can never survive a real test, a "hard frost", but still, it doesn't exactly just fade from memory, either. taste of honey is worse than none at all, so they say. I've never been able to decide if I agree.

    1. Yes, I think the taste can be well worth the tease, myself. Thanks, Shay.

  3. I'm a Berry-Er (on phone so forgive) so the bramble image is especially potent for me as I can really see exactly what you are talking about. The image is especially strong for this poem since berries have that sweetness and the terrible sharpness in the picking, the pricking, and that fits so well with the image of this person. The psychology is very real-- perhaps more so of our time-- the gift of sustenance-- because the mouth seems to be giving resuscitation as much as a kiss--but in this random unreliable way. The believe and not trust feels like the person from the start was rather unavailable-- I know that kind-- though that is so hard to see, as you say so succinctly, till after they are gone. Great pics-- I don't look at Wyeth much-- this is beautiful. K.

    1. As always, k, you pick up on every little hint here and walk it to the place it belongs--especially the resuscitation--you can't resent a berry's thorns when it has kept you alive, quenched hunger and thirst, in that hard time when winter is setting in. But it's foolish to expect it to feed you all year long.

    2. PS I don;t know much about Wyeth--am assuming he is related to Andrew--but I've found several of his paintings very speaking. Some are quite surreal, even. Glad you liked, and thanks, as always for your kind words and feedback.

    3. Well, I always think of narcissists when I read a description of this kind--very charming but you know (ha!) I don't know about Jamie either, but I think they may all be related --Andrew--and I think there was an N.C. that did great illustrations. To me they all have a bit of an illustrational quality which is probably what I like--that sense of narrative behind the pictorial. Anyway, works beautifully here as does the fruit but there is something about the Wyeths that often have a sense of melancholy/abandonment. Which, of course, works here, but kind of works with poetry generally (unfortunately). k.

  4. def feels like that brief intersection of people in our life....they touch us, breathe life into us...or death and then disappear again...the imagery of the fruit being hanging clots....nice....

  5. that breath, that life,
    your mouth to mine
    with the same
    random flowering as a bramble

    barbed beauty is the only kind I care for.
    but with the Hitchcockian/Wyeth type palette:
    an inherited aesthetic sensibility that I really admire.

    Brilliant. every conceptual angle gives me THE chill of Americas existential emptiness! but you also fill that space with a dark romance beyond tangible matter.

  6. I too admire the bramble line, and that not so sweet but perhaps past bitter sense of the person who grew the thorns and then tore them out as he departed ~


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

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