Saturday, October 31, 2015

Two Samhain Candles

Samhain Candle

The dead
close tonight
I feel 
their lost-boy's breath
thru their party clothes.
They ask
pardon for
drunken nights,
glancing blows; that 

for the love we had
I somehow find 
 the decorated joy of

being kind;
for death does not erase
the blotted soul,
but lightens
the little sins 
that make us whole.

~October 2015

I have written a second 55 this morning, as I woke up thinking of my grandmother.
(Reading is, of course, optional.)

Lilac And Apples
for Clara

You gave
lilac, green apples,
sugared coffee and cream;
no screams, no disorder
ever-bendable conditions.
We snipped bits of saintpaulia
to lay down on the earth and
they'd bloom in a year
pink-purple, felt-smooth.
Your wealth was in flowers and in loving's full sum,
and mine in your arms where no bad thing might come.

~October 31, 2015 

posted for    real toads

Top: Stormlight, copyright joyannjones 2014
Footer: Saintpaulia and the fire of  the candle
creative commons license via


  1. I love both poems, Joy, which speak of coming to terms with those we have lost, remembering the love, forgiving the errors made, and always a strong desire to be enfolded again in a grandmother's arms. I am moved by each for its own special message.

  2. Both poems are beautiful, Joy. Of course, I am more drawn to the grandmother poem as it speaks of all kinds of strength and fragility, love and loss. The first is a wonderful poem too--I do rather think death lightens sins. Thanks. k.

  3. I love them both (how could I ever not read both)... The second one is so much closer to how we honor our dead in Sweden, more by being close and visiting the graves (love how you have done the poem in the shape of a headstone)... and the thoughts of what they were... I visited the crypt were the ash of my maternal grandparents, my father and uncle rests... 2 places left, one for my mother, one for my aunt. The first poem is so much more filled with lightness, in a sense more about being alive.

  4. "...the decorated joy of being kind;
    for death does not erase the blotted soul,
    but lightens the little sins that make us whole."

    Simply perfect!

  5. I have to say that I didn't feel I did justice to either poem in my comment--so was thinking about them and wanted to come back--and won't do justice here either--but there is a great poignancy in the singularity of the lost boy's breath--it takes it from a reference or archetype to an individual--also the word play of drunken nights' lies and the glancing blows is very potent--and honestly the whole bit about the sins is rather like that bit in Romeo and Juliet--you know, where they pun on the sin--but there is a kind of idea in my mind--and maybe it is from once knowing a little french of the idea of a sin and a fine--I am not expressing this well, but it is almost as if the sin is a cost of being human---

    in the second, there is nothing so grandmotherly as lilac but what is most striking to me in the poem, other of course, than the last line, is the ever bending quality of the grandmother--that is quintessential.

    I'm still rather a cranial wreck over here, just mentally kind of exhausted. k.

    1. Thanks for spending so much time and energy on these, k. I hope the cranial contretemps lightens soon.

  6. I adore the second one, Hedge. I lived there, too.

  7. Both are very good. Your metaphors in the first are spot on!

  8. As Rilke said, "praising is what matters!" In lieu of of that, All Hallows is only horror, and what are we to make of that? It's sugar and burns off fast. There is an almost queenly sense of forgiveness here -- the deity deepest in the breast -- who raises her hand to forgive the past, and bless it by so saying. The 2 poems are oblique to each other and yet they read perfectly together, the poet spaced evenly between son (and all bad boys) -- where she is aging queen -- and grandmother, when she was malleable princess. Little sins and small generosities, those are candles worth burning at Samhain. Praising indeed is what mattered. Happy Samhain.

    1. Well, not sure how regal the aging poet actually is or ever was, but the child and Crone, maybe--mind longing to rise above and heart finally put(somewhat) together. Forgiveness is very hard for me, harder even than asking or accepting.Thanks Brendan.Your own singing of a broader view in this last week has surely had some influence on the theme here, so gratitude for that as well.

  9. You draw a relationship with your grandmother this is unique and special. You are fortunate to have such beautiful memories.

    ...why does death have to highlight regrets? Why?

    1. I believe it is the finality, Shadow. The dead are forever beyond any change of heart or amends we can make.

  10. Thank you especially for sharing the tender poem about your grandma. It makes me think of my grandma, which is always a good thing.

  11. Both are good but I love the second one.

  12. interesting and really well put. Love the feeling the first poem leaves, something I often think about.

  13. I enjoyed both of these, but those last two lines about your grandmother are fantastic. I feel that way too, about mine. Thank you.

  14. They are both marvelous, the first for its mature wisdom and the second for pure tribute and love.

  15. I very much read and enjoyed but poems, Hedgy! Not to repeat what other commenters have said previously, I do want to make note of your line breaks, which add an extra layer of depth here. As always, well done and viva la!

  16. that's powerful for death topic,
    good luck,
    take care.

  17. That last two stanzas of the first poem make me think about my little brother... about the way in which I didn't forget his faults after he died, but found myself forgiving so many of them. Death has a ways of "lessening" some things and making others unimaginably strong.

    And because it seems that you were looking into my heart (or we were both blessed with incredible grandmothers *probably the latter*), the second poem brought my Grandmamá to life. Nothing "bad" could ever touch me while her protection was around me.

    In both, I love how you use the senses in a very tangible way to illustrate feeling that can't be shaped or touched.

    1. Thanks, Magaly. I used to dream of my grandmother a lot--but it has been a long time. I miss her every day.

  18. I love them both.

    How sweet that she came close to you in the night.

  19. I'm glad you wrote two, as i am unable to write even 1.

    Minutes from takeoff. Will read until the shutoff... ~


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

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