Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Turning Hour


Have I not held you under my old wing
for protection.
Did you not come to me
lost and frightened.
All but dead.

How cold you were,
how tense you were,
before you fell into soft sleeping.
Did I not lie to you about your dreams,
explain them into sanity for you.

Were you not the one
of promises and moans,
your reluctant eyes opening at last.
Oh how you suffered,
clung to me
and whispered about your dangers.
How full the days grew.

Then these short hours
full of your healing.
But I shall not remind you of any of this.
This is a silent letter to a new soul.
You are forgiven.
So am I.
Please go.



The strange light settles over the day
for this is the hour that pulls you in.

A long bridge elongates into the horizon,
making no shadow on the flat perspective
     of the sea.

A tangle of shore debris holds the light
with patient stillness. 

Lavender skies press in
and no gulls cry.

All sound has hushed and nothing moves:
time has taken you from one life

to another. Then something shifts.
A gull swoops past;

an old tarp makes a sound
in a sudden breeze, shuddering free.

You watch the moment change
and let it go. The sea

ripples. One shadow touches another
and the dark fills in.



Now is the hour of tight arms holding on to the falling. Nothing is plumb. There is no direction to consider. The floor is far away. The ceiling even farther. The dream is urging you to step inside. But you are reeling inward. There is no one watching to prove this. Time is about to non-exist, though it owns the dark. The clock opens its face to meet your cry. The room tilts accordingly, and every instinct resists. You are replicated where you meet the advancing mirror. Escape here, says the glass. Your image steps inside—turns—and helps you through. This is not possible, you think, but a long hallway leads you to a door—a slowly opening door—where someone inside is turning toward you with open arms, urging you to remember.



not that I want you lost
but that I have
faith in your survival…

you always know which way to go
under star or moonrise
or by day over all these avenues

I found it in a store           one bro-
ken compass pointing its
sensitive needle at my northmost hand

it was with love
I chose it for you
believe me

I knew how far away
you would go
on your lunch hour daydream

can ships sink without you
or trains go over the horizon
on their perfect tracks

when your eyes are most shining
with your plan
put it in your safest pocket

I gave you the thought         not the
freedom       not the accurate north
for the captive man

(first pub. in NY Poetry Forum, 1971, and 
In a Nutshell, 1975)


Time has judged her. For a long moment
she just stands there, considering the
sadness of twilight. She does not feel
the texture of gray light on her face.
She has become a pattern of the room.
Her face matches the curtains.
She balances against the small table
that holds some faint rumor of flowers,
maybe not even that much detail.
Her body is assuming the shape of shadow.
Her dress rustles when she breathes.
Her hand is lost in its reach.
Maybe someone has asked her a question
and she does not want to answer.
She is a familiar story. Must she tell
it again? She does not know the ending.
Maybe the hour has come to say goodbye.
Maybe the door has already closed, or maybe
someone is just arriving. Must she care?
Maybe she will still be able to withdraw
her hand from the heaviness of its gesture.



Tonight, in the tweak of time, life enters
like a thief, taking what I am. Never mind

the hours waiting for my dreams,
the sweet hours of morning with their

and schemes.

I am not willing,
though I doze, and nod, and waken

at moments—lost—and not of counting, 
which is odd. I have a clock and calendar,

I have plans, small as they are,
not like tireless sands of sleep,

mindlessly drifting—over and over,
through the same container that I am.

I free the night,
I free the weightlessness.


(After "The Fairies Are Exquisite Dancers”
by Arthur Rackham)

Once upon a dance, upon a thread of light
that stretched from stem to stem of leaf and

flower—oh—once upon a fairy tale, archaic
as a dream, upon a morning drenched with

meadow-dew—the ancient fairy—weightless
as a shadow, danced upon the dwindling

hour of the night. And the two lost children
woke,     and smiled,     and held each other.


Our thanks to Joyce Odam for today's poems and pix, marking The Lost Hour, our latest Seed of the Week. In her LittleNip, she kicks off our next Seed of the Week: The Vernal Equinox. Spring into spring (the equinox is tomorrow, after all) and send your seeds to kathykieth@hotmail.com  Peek into Calliope's Closet in the fuchsia links at the top of the blog, though, for other SOWs; no deadline. Use 'em as you will...

We also have a new album on Facebook: The Writers' Circle by Katy Brown, taken at the Sac. Poetry Center reading on March 11. These writers meet on a regular basis after having taken a workshop from Julia Connor together. Thanks for the beautiful pix, Katy!


Today's LittleNip:


In the full-moon night of morning
of this first full-day of spring,
I feel the moon ignite the
dark with a fierce quiet
as I rise from my dream
and go to the window
to find the powerful
square of light—
so near—out-shining
the street lamps, and the
porch lights, and the first few
headlights of the morning, and I
stand there awhile in the stillness
and begin to map my day which, in
this clear, shimmering moment, I own.