Monday, April 28, 2014

Passage Via Storm

Passage Via Storm


The slow night borrowed the clouds
to hide the dogwood moon
from the hard campaign that Spring
has brought to my country, 
her lightning spear, her
cumulus shield, breaker of brick,
hater of walls, knowing only battle
to make the blood winter-frozen
flow again.

The day stays back from
her junkyard growl, the leaves
turn inside out
to make this grey hour
castaway between dark and light,
to let me unbottle you here once more
where there's only clear sight
where life's gone past touch and guess.

So I say a few words soft as quicksilver
to startle out under the thunder,
fold these origami birds to fly
into my only answer, the storm 
of both life and nothing;
life in the rain,
death in the wind.


There was a time when
this was your time
when the place I opened for you
would flow you to me, low pressure
along the dry line, where these words
these birds blew out as the shell-broke
cage opened up on moonmad night,
on the honeysuckle dance in our
silver skins, on the peace that comes
to those who look for nothing.

All those nights the light
we made was moveable,
taken into the darkness
on the wicks of our eyes
blue-bright in the empty black. 
But the flint-strike spark
of mind on heart, the paper lips
that ask for no other answer, 
the jasmine smoke burning

through the storm---that wasn't
enough show for you
and you passed on, not one
of the tribe that sees
how everything can belong
to nothing, even when
nothing is left.

~April 2014

posted for     real toads

Open Link Monday

Image: Landscape in Storm, chalk study, 1885, by Vincent Van Gogh
Public domain via


  1. These storms in life come and go and we need to stand committed like the tree.

  2. I'm looking forward to visiting Mark's place and hear him read, after visiting a few others.

    First, though, 3 am is the witching hour for every spare memory. And this pen, spare and yet full of the peculiar melancholy that accompanies what once was:

    that wasn't
    enough show for you
    and you passed on

    really, so strong, Joy ~

  3. I get as much Athena as the wind-maenad in the first stanza, a wise sort of fury, perhaps for that reason refrained from easy destruction, mere Spring-tide violence. Or perhaps Hecate, invoker of winds, whose domain is noctal insomniacal crossroads, where what is and what might have been bear her altar and oracle ... Only at her hour is the second stanza released from its bottle, the jilted heart, a well of abandonments tended by aging furies. And most tragic for having had and lost so much of what is gold yet less than nothing. This is liminal terrain for which the human is lousy litmus: but what else are we gonna do but write it? Fine stuff, Hedge. Hope the roof is holding up.

  4. This has so many very beautiful tropes and passages, as well as a concentrated (consecrated?) whole. It is a very special tribe--the one at the end--more to me like buddhists than artists, though artists like to think themselves members typically. I am worn out for commenting, but will say this--terrific--well, a little more-- The beginning works like an invocation for me--you describe so beautifully the inbetween state of difficult weather--the moments inbetween definite states where certain reaching across of borders seems possible due to the thinning - wearing down, beating up--of boundaries-- then you reach across in the second part to what feels like a loved one--a creature of one's own--the opening made and the birds and the shell-break--all of that is very subtle but very specific and beautiful I thought--and this could be a person or even one's own other persona, or even one's work--or wished-for work--for me--given my own predilections--it works well as one's other self that did not hold true to, or settle for, a kind of mystic magic--wisdom, but opted for something more superficial, showier, etc. SOrry--to be so reductive! Your tropes are really great and when I set out my take it doesn't come across right--this kind of betrayal of a sort of deep and perhaps seemingly bare, poor truth (but of course, with this jasmine richness) is something I think many can relate to but certainly any interested in making art. Agh. Anyway, great stuff especially for the end of this month. (I probably shouldn't have read anything! But I have to work at my job today so not sure when I'll get mine together, but also nice to think of people making poems somewhere! ) K.

    1. Just thinking--what the poem brings up a little for me is "The Circus Animals' Desertion"--Yeats--maybe I'm all off. And it's much more naturalistic and very different--but just passing that on. k.

  5. really beautiful. I am taken by the light that filters in and out, that strikes and retreats. your ending is especially profound after such blatant imagery. a thoroughly enjoyable piece of writing.

  6. What an awesome depiction of the storm in Part 1, this Valkyrie like force from the region of Asgard sent to tear the seasons apart and oust Winter's hold on the land. This contains all the fervour of nature at its most pure and unrelenting.. and a careful consideration of our place therein and the age old debate between passion and reason.

  7. Thanks all--having a physical reaction to a lot of writing and reading,and a whole lot of gardening, so forgive me if I don't reply individually or make it by as quickly as normal--thanks for everyone's support during this month of stretching the boundaries. It is much appreciated and won't be forgotten.

  8. So glorious from the very first word. I adore the dogwood moon, the origami birds, the honeysuckle dance and the peace that comes to those who look for nothing. Writing just doesnt come any finer than this.

  9. So many ways of looking at the word "nothing", from a kind of buddhist relinquishment to death to various phases of absence. Enjoying the paradox that a poem about "nothing" can have such audible language. Love your contrasts.

  10. Powerful write Joy. It makes me wonder how you are weathering the terrible tornadoes and storms I keep hearing about on the news. Stay safe my friend.

    1. All is well here, Mary, thanks. So far anyway.

  11. really some wonderful lines in this...overall there is a nice magic to this...the holding of night to unbottle them again is a cool touch toward the beginning...the moveable light and wicks of the eyes....the storm of life and nothing though was the one that really hooked me...

    and thanks for checking on me hedge...just needed to breathe....

  12. Your poems are such a vivid picture of the physical storms I remember well from living in Oklahoma and the inner storms that uproot the mind and leave you with so much debris you get lost in it. Powerful!

  13. Once again, you reach out and save me we inspiration becoming motivation, to type and feel the thing that we feel when we dig into the thing, the zone . . . ourselves and find something beautiful, no matter how light or dark, it is something from the nothing
    left. thank you H

  14. First, thank you for being so patient with me, as I am last to the party, here. I feel as if my brain has been stuck on power miser setting, and reading is hard atm, but i know fine writing when I run smack into it as I have done here, with this beauty you've crafted.

    From the first lines, the language is gorgeous. I especially love the 3rd, 4th, and final stanzas. Having just read Blue Wing, these two poems almost seem related to me, but not for anything i said in my comment on that poem. They both seem to represent an ascent over time, a long process undertaken with everything one has, and then an arrival at a place where, suddenly, there is no ground beneath one's feet. This one's blue, and satisfyingly so.


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

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