Thursday, April 16, 2020

The Great Grey






The Great Grey




I galloped my mare
on the ceiling all night;
summer stirred in her sleep,
stretched and raised warm wide arms
of red roses. Eyes unopened she died
when the wind turned corpse-cold.

I took down the remains
 with food and blankets to the child
 in his cell. I fought when the keepers
ate it all while he cried, mouths full of
carrot, April and wool. My key cracked
 in the lock. They beat me with laughter.

I watched two moons scrubbed out
by steelwool clouds, scratching paled
 porcelain sky as they streamed by,
chained in a train of tarnished
silver cars rattling out their freight
of snow-melt on my face.

No jumping that train, no escape
on the rails, no escape on
my mare, no summer, no saving,
only this waving grey
where colors are graving.


April 2020
















 posted for Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads


and for earthweal's
Open Link











Images: Horsewoman On A Red Horse, © Marc Chagall   Fair Use
November First © Andrew Wyeth   Fair Use

20 comments:

  1. Gah. Why did I read yours before writing mine? Now I am a newborn midget stumbling over her abc's compared to you at the top of your game. This is so rich, vivid and strong, Joy. I hate to quote and gush, but that first series of images about summer are just arresting and burst out at the reader. There are so many excellent bits here--like the whole poem, f'rinstance--but I will single out the second stanza. But choosing a stanza here is a little like choosing between Lorca and Dickinson--how can you lose? Let me now go crawl off and write a haiku or something. Geeez, give the rest of us a chance, wouldja?

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    1. Thank you, Shay. Praise from you is high praise indeed. I doubt any of your efforts could ever be midgets, and if I can get my bar within vague striking range, I feel extremely lucky. I owe this one to the dream gods.

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  2. Riding the mare on the ceiling, taking food to the child in its cell........and then the waving grey where colors are graving. Just spectacular, Joy. Wow.

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  3. My goodness this is absolutely splendid! I love; "I watched two moons scrubbed out
    by steelwool clouds, scratching paled porcelain sky as they streamed by."

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  4. Oh my gosh this is so visceral....so powerful. I let out a huge sigh at the end...."where colors are graving" The use of grave as a verb is haunting.
    And these lines were particularly powerful for me
    "I watched two moons scrubbed out
    by steelwool clouds, scratching paled
    porcelain sky as they streamed by,
    chained in a train of tarnished
    silver cars rattling out their freight
    of snow-melt on my face."
    Just amazing descriptive detail that is haunting in the feelings it produces for me.

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    1. Thank you lillian. Check your spam folder for my comment on your poem. Word Press considers me a spambot, for some unknown reason.

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  5. 'they beat me with laughter'

    I can feel this line, having been so beaten as a youth.

    and if the first 2 lines resemble insomnia to me, perhaps it's just me... ~

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  6. Goodness, there are so many things to love in this..I would have to copy and paste the entire thing to share each one I love. "where colors are graving" ... I'm with Fireblossom...So blessed to read your work.

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  7. Fabulous! What generous dream gods you have – and how splendidly you translate them for us.

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  8. This poem is epic! Each stanza awakens a thought or emotion, especially the tale of the child being denied food while the adult feasts - I have seen stories like that during this lockdown. But how beautifully you set up each stanza with your incredible abstract imagery. Really a poem to read again and againa.

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    1. Coming back for another read from earthweal!
      Love it even more.

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    2. Thanks, Kerry. I'm glad it was worth a revisit!

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  9. The opening lines are fabulous, and I love the images in the lines:
    ‘I watched two moons scrubbed out
    by steelwool clouds, scratching paled
    porcelain sky as they streamed by’.

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  10. I am always enchanted to read your poems as you write from the dreamworld. I felt like I stepped right inside a fellow dream traveler or perhaps, a tracker to see what else I might find.

    The ending was well played.

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  11. In death there is great life, "graving." Such animus and anomie in the reaper(s) here -- however many dimensions it takes to kill and eat a great grey mare like the one you ride here. So great to find how much you are back. Bout damn time. - Brendan

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  12. A feast of images, Joy, and a darkness. I like in particular, the "steel wool clouds", in fact that whole verse is brilliant.. This feels like Fargo meets True Detective.....your writing is so original and sets a very high standard! Every time I read this , I see something else...JIM

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  13. Love Chagall's work and your poem matches his prolific imagination.😍 Each one of its lines hides a surprise!

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