Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Song

The Song

There's a song that's made
from the end of night,
a fold in the black
where I tack paper stars,
(stiff silver, crumpled points
pushed into soft velvet ) a music
shaped like sails in the wind
sewn with mind's needle 
and air's cloud-thread, 
that pulls me ahead.

It burns the candlelight
behind my carved eyes
where I sit on the steps
on October's last night;
without that flame, mere holes in a shell, 
without that match, a hallowed-out
system of shrink and loss, 
seeds stolen, 
fire-roasted, split open

There's a song
my love makes,
a whisper of nocturne
that names the night,
a numen in flight
that outlasts the hours, 
and mine
the cold hand on the harp 
of winter that waits,
its inchworm comfort
the nature of flowers.

~October 2014

posted for    real toads

Challenge: Nightingale
Susie Clevenger(Confessions of a Laundry Goddess) adroitly avoiding the ubiquity of Hallowe'en, gives us the theme of that full-throated night bird, the nightingale, to explore in writing. I hope she forgives the slight intrusion of the season here.

Images: Night, 1953, by Marc Chagall May be protected by copyright.
Fair use via
Winterseeds,  ©joyannjones 2013


  1. those first 4 lines set the whole thing for me...loved to think of a fold in the night...and it being a song as well...the use of the pumpkin, hollowed out and unsown seed adds a bit of the wrap back to the song in the end as well...

  2. This is wonderful! I started to try and write down my favorite parts, but well, it would just be a copy and paste of the whole thing. Love, mind's needle, and the description of the pumpkin...beautiful!

  3. Love. The song as if a sail on the tiny star-lit corner of night. The candle match and flame that fills the pumpkin. The song that fills out and animates love despite the cold hand strumming.

  4. A song that's sung once. Imagine what the world of song was like before the age of recording. Love the second stanza especially. A couple of years ago I got a nice big pumpkin and carved out a beautiful jack-o'-lantern, thinking about all the lovely ones I enjoyed as a kid up north. Within two days it went moldy and rotted--that's what the Florida weather does to them.

    1. Thanks, Mark. Yes, we have years like that too--last week it was 94, but at almost literally the last minute, a cool front came through, and Hallowe'en will be appropriately chilly. I haven't carved a pumpkin for some years now, but I'm not very good at it, so no great loss. I imagine yours was righteous before the fall.

  5. Each image breathes into the entirety creating a song of imagery...I love the harp lines,Hedge...all together, beautiful work.

  6. Hey Joy--this seems to me to be a bit about inspiration. The song we breathe or that breathes us that makes us more than just breathing eating beings, or hollowed out ones. I suppose it is the flame of soul too, but given that you speak in song, I like to think of that individual song we have--whether it is poetry as in your case, or love, which may double up.

    But it definitely keeps our sails filled, and the aeolian(sp?) harp playing, and I like the last stanza where it is part of our naming of things, which is so critical somehow in making them familiar and integral in our world. Anyway, lovely music here--it seems to start and stop and start again, as you have little asides, which are themselves charming. k.

    1. Ha! Maybe because I keep editing it. That last stanza has been a thorn in my paw. And yes, all those things--'..within its vital boundary/ in the mind/ we say love and the imagination are one,' to paraphrase Stevens. Thanks for reading, k.

  7. I've read this three times so far, and each pass unveils another layer. There's something of waiting for Spring in this, somehow - the end of each stanza (to me) hints at what's to come - or didn't in the case of the roasted seeds - but seeds, still. Finally, "the nature of flowers" - well, what is that, if not a seed crawling toward the sun to bloom and seed again before withering, but not before shouting out its color as if to say, here I am... anyways, can you tell I like it? :) ~

    1. Thanks for the generous read, M. Yes, that is exactly the nature of flowers, and for me, a great comfort.

  8. So bittersweet and true, this aging love song -- the magic comes from long ago, yes, culled from dusty books and ancient rites, but perhaps more so because it comes from the magic of a lost child's imagination, devoutly making something out of the snowman's nothing that is. Without that old, puerile participation, we're left with darkened pumpkins at the coming of winter. Such a balance between a kindness for that child's life-long making, and the knowing acceptance that the nightingale's song will end. For us, anyway, but there's always wind and ears and another pen. I so admire this one. What is the perfect All-Hallows poem? It takes a village of ear of bat and toe of newt.

    1. Thanks, B. Yes, there is another side to All Hallows, and it is the harvest dance, the time of appreciating the fruits of what one has worked for throughout the year(s). And even the gratitude to be spared for another year of work, one hopes, unlike the restless dead who underline the contrast with their impinging presence. Keeping the candle burning for that golden leer of the jack-o-lantern seems as good a way as any to show that love and life are always the Great Possible.

  9. I especially love that middle stanza, Hedge. This entire thing just has the feel of a smoky, chill night. Pardon my brief comment. The germs, they have eaten my brainz.

  10. Ohhhhh. This is gorgeous!
    My favorite:
    "a fold in the black
    where I tack paper stars,
    (stiff silver, crumpled points..."

  11. Such a bitter-sweet tune, perfect for the last days of October. This has given me a little ache above the breast bone.

  12. The first stanza is gorgeous and "a music shaped like sails in the wind"' is such a fantastic image for me.

    When I was a little girl, we would scout through our pumpkin patch long before Halloween - watch our favorite grow on a vine and then pluck it and carve it. I would talk to it on my porch and make my dad keep it as long as possible. Alas, it would rot and get thrown on the compost pile. I remember crying and still "talking" to it. Wasn't I strange? ha. This "behind my carved eyes
    where I sit on the steps
    on October's last night;"

    really resonated with me. :)


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