I have another post that I was going to publish this week, but Friday's massacre at Sandy Hook elementary school kind of shattered me, and I couldn't in good conscience move forward on the blog without offering some kind of salute to the fallen. As a friend said on Friday, "Nothing to say, but no way to say nothing." So here is my completely imperfect and inadequate offering. Note: although the poem is mostly a reflection on the slaughter of innocents, I included the shooter in the number of names, because the loss of what his life might have been if he had gone a different way is also a tragedy. I do not claim by including him that I have forgiven him or in any way understand his actions, only that the loss of human potential is always tragic. Christmas Lament To the baby Jesus: You, who gave yourself in soft flesh, helpless and grateful to live in that singularly limited and tender and fragile and infinite prism we call a human life, to suffer our pains and rejoice in our rejoicings, to eat and drink and sleep and grow weary, to give of yourself freely to the very end, surrendering your living nerves and brittle limbs to the caustic lash, the breaking hammer, the slow choke, to finally expire blessing your torturers and then to rise again, banishing death and offering hope - To you, Blessed One, I bring tribute, my hands full of my shattered wealth, nothing left but tears and words and questions my tongue can't pronounce, and a list of twenty-eight names, twenty of them the bubbling, musical names of children, babies like yourself, tender and soft and broken and infinite, leaking through my fingers like sand, lost. I bring you the absence of laughter on the playground, and the pencil stubs and fractured crayons abandoned on the floor. I bring you the phantom hugs and slippery kisses missing now from the days. I bring you the little bodies, who touched and tasted and squabbled and reached and stumbled and now lie still. I bring you hopes and dreams, severed from their timeline, tied and floating freely like a bouquet of bright helium balloons. I bring you the parents, spirits riven, itching to peel their skin off, to be someone else, something else, anything else. I bring you the inarticulate keening of a people heartbroken and confused, which cannot rise even from the dust so weighted is it with grief choking on its own sorrow. There are no words to explain this. There is no prayer to pray. I have nothing of value to give and so I bring this worthless poem barbed with anger, mangled, parched, unyielding and unlovely, whispered for all who suffer and die and are silenced too soon. I come, a ragged and impoverished mourner, and lay these shards at your feet.
Category Archives: poetry
My favorite poem, another reflective, I-need-to-cleanse-my-soul, end-of-the-year kind of poem, whose title is far more boring than the content (I hope!). If you have title suggestions, I’m open.
PS – I am seriously considering renaming this blog “Girl, with Cloche.” LOVE MY CHRISTMAS HAT! Thanks B. =)
I wrote this a few years ago, but shared it very recently with a new group of people and found that it still had resonance. It strikes me that the themes of loss and letting go are marginally appropriate for the closing of a year, so I decided to post it here.
Oh, and that’s my Christmas hat. I wear a cloche now. Cloches are cool. =)
I have great difficulty experiencing anger. Somewhere along the way, I picked up the deep conviction that I am not allowed to be angry. I believe this so completely that not only will I not show anger to other people, but I won’t even admit it to myself.
Until, of course, the migraines start. Panic attacks. Nightmares. Anxiety. The anger becomes an ingrown emotion, trapped and infected and sore. It starts to claw it’s way to consciousness (frequently appearing first in images that I paint or record in poetry). I’ve been Really Really Angry for about 9 months now, and I’m just now retching it up to the surface. So this is a picture of how I feel today (and yesterday, when I painted it). Also, a poem that I wrote years ago on the same subject:
Okay, nevermind, I can’t find that poem (I can’t find anything since I moved), but here’s another poem which at least has “ingrown soul” in it, so it sort of relates to the picture:
Variation on a Theme by Natalie Taylor
By Me (if you wish to copy, please credit the website).
I have wanted
answers, finite and measurable, boxes in which to store
the old questions, so I can check them off and
sit in a room with them, numbering the sum
I have seen
the red face of an ingrown soul, trapped and festering and swollen and vicious.
I have known
fear as my closest companion on the road,
always ready with a word or two,
in a voice like mothballs and stale beer.
I have come
anyway. One foot in front of the other,
pulled open as light through a prism,