Saturday, June 20, 2015

To Waiting

To Waiting

All morning by the highway
I waited.
The day was a string with
the bead of you swinging
amber and whole at its end.
Dust lifted my hair;
dust was the way the wind
found its fingers
there where I dreamed the fall

of your hair over me--
a wave, a sigh, a landslide, 
the soft brown roots 
of not one tree
but a fern-tangled forest;
 I waited for this 
without caring how long,
alive as a vine that covers
a dying barn, as an apple tree

whose apples are flowers,
rose-white in clouds;
as the bud on the cane
hides the thorn in the rose
as the rose abides  
in the round hip I gave
to soften the ground
each time we'd wait
for breath to come back

from that place
in the dark where
the storm rides.

~June 2015

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Sunday Mini-Challenge: Ode to the Quotidian

Karin Gustafson (ManicDDaily) offers us the example of the sublime Neruda and his odes to everyday things as a springboard, but as always leaves us some breathing room to slip in something else. This is something else, as I usually think of an ode as something a bit more full of  the blood sweat and tears of form than this--still, what could be more quotidian than waiting?

Image: Apple Tree, I , 1912,  by Gustav Klimt
Public domain via


  1. Some things are definitely worth waiting for! Lovely!

  2. Hey Joy--first--thanks much for seeing through the prompt--understanding that what I meant is that everything around us is a kind of gateway; secondly, this is just a beautiful poem, a new favorite. Everything here is wonderfully interwoven moving each line to its near twin, in a way, or cousin--I'm not expressing it correctly, but I'm sure you understand how the tropes are like the string of beads that you describe -- a few specifics that you probably intended but I like to note--amber I think of as this great preservative--possibly of the dead or fossilized in a way while you and your bits in the poem (your similes)are so alive--actual plant life --so that the you is a string of beads with this soft bit of fossil at the end, while the you is a vine--living--I love the moves from the apple to the cane and the rose to the hips--I don't know if you meant a pun there--all kind of biblical but the quiet joke--and of course, actually physically vivid.
    Anyway, I kind of have to run today--with all the activity at my place--but thanks so much for participating despite the lack of sleep! I don't mean to be obnoxious re muses--I think my energy or openness flags--but not inspiration! Which again what I was meaning to get at. k.

  3. This is absolutely breathtaking :D beautifully penned!

    Lots of love,

  4. I love this.. we are so used to waiting.. but you have moved the waiting from something mundane to something quite divine. Each stanza moves in layers through the complexity of relationships.. I think this is exactly what it would mean.

  5. This:
    "The day was a string with
    the bead of you swinging
    amber and whole at its end."
    Absolutely and utterly divine and breathtaking!!

  6. "The day was a string with
    the bead of you swinging"

    That is just breathtaking - what a gem of a phrase as is this whole poem. The klimt painting has to be one of my favorites of his.

  7. Whew. Your waiting is full of longing and intimacy, or anticipation. I like the contrasts of the live vine on the dying barn. the metaphor of the apple tree that keeps extending. The storm that leaves me breathing a bit heavy. Ha.

  8. "amber and whole at its end."...the line took me to the egyptian belief of praying for the loved one to remain whole forever...i like the waiting for the light...

  9. You have made waiting to be something of the Earth, timeless but fruitful, dusty yet daring. As a love poem, this sweeps me off my feet.

  10. whew. what a counterpoint to the previous pen - supple, luscious, ripe... ~

  11. Beautiful as an apple tree whose apples are flowers ~ Yet darkly intimate where the storm rides ~

    A treat to read this morning HW ~

  12. You totally grabbed me at the line about the vine (perfection. just perfection) and from there on the whole thing just knocked me the frick out of my chair. You started out with this very Oklahoma-y setting, or so it seems to me, and then you just casually pull the simile turbo jets out of your spare bag and write with this sort of mastery. *plucks last hair, hits self dementedly with the bar*

  13. PS--I just read "Animals From Mountains" because it was on your side bar list. I had never read it, but liked it very much. Thanks.

    1. Thanks Shay--I always love it when you are pleased with my stuff. The poems on the sidebar are pretty much all that got me through the April insanity, and that one is one of Merwin's best--an early one.

  14. This poem just blow me away.

    Beautifully written and wonderful visuals to breath in the brilliant piece you wrote.

    What exactly inspired you to write this poem?

    Excellent! :)

  15. Reading this I immediately went to a memory of an early date -- I was 12, I think -- waiting three hours at a playground for a date for a movie who never showed up. I wouldn't stop waiting because i couldn't accept I was being jilted. The waiting in its nothingness -- every next moment of the same emptiness -- became something so permanent in me that when I spot it, I know I still got it. Waiting for Godot, for god, for love never to arrive. So: this ode is the heart or the mind of that vigil, both, standing at empty space with expectation flowering beyond all past possibillities. A chapel of sorts, of Dorothy on the road praying for Oz without knowing it. (And getting a twister instead, which delivers her over the rainbow to Oz.) Fantastical and innocent and wild. Three Cerridewean stanzas delivering the knockout three drops of devil juice.

    1. Thanks, B. I remember you writing of that experience of waiting. For me, some relationships have been more anticipatory than actual, so this is rather a blend of that excitement that can only come in dreams (of the waking variety.) The worst thing about the devil juice is that you always want more.


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