Thursday, June 1

Poetry Thursday: Solace

Solace Originally uploaded by MontanaRaven.


June first, not yet summer
in Montana, more than spring
today I do not have Sam with me
when I come to our meadow
today I am practicing
not having him.

Can I slide into the future,
without making a ripple
or sucking in my breath,
the way some people ease themselves
into icy water
one toe at a time?

It's not any easier this way.

In this copse of twisted trees
most are garbed in green while
others wear the pall of winter:
bone-wrapped branches,
bleached blades.
Looking forward, glancing back
Inhale ... exhale ...

My solace is silken bunchgrass
on a cheek, or dancing
aspen leaves ...
like whispered prayers moving
on a breath of air
they remind me to breathe.

--- Maureen Shaughnessy

I wrote this blog post for Poetry Thursday. Check out other poetry posts for this week by clicking this button:

This is also something I did for the Utata Thursday Walk project:

I left a rather loooonnng comment on Liz's Poetry Thursday post. Thought I'd share what I wrote here, since some people don't read the comments and might be interested:
I'm smiling and chuckling as I read your post, Liz ... along with all the the comments about reading in the bathtub. We live in a tiny (900 sf) house (well, tiny by North American standards...) with one bathroom, no shower -- just a big old tub. Before all of our kids left home, it was the only place in the house to get any real privacy, so it became not only the evening reading-place for every one of us ... but also for our boys, their story-spinning place and imaginary-world-action-figure-play-place. I never really worried about ruining books by reading them in the tub. Every well-loved book on our library shelves truly looks well-read, some of them have that tell-tale puffy look books get when they have absorbed a certain amount of steam.

oh well.

So I still read in the tub. Anyway, I loved your whole post, Liz. Of course, you know Stafford is one of my favorite poets -- in my top 3. And Kathleen Norris - she's up there too.

I love this line, from Mark Mitchell's dedication on The Sleep of Grass, where he is writing about the many poems written and dedicated to William Stafford, to his memory and legacy: What you have now is a piece of lost mail pursuing an elusive address. One that is nowhere and, as Dorothy Stafford says, "is everywhere now."

The idea of reading poetry aloud ... is coming back into it's own, is being revived from the days of the staid, serious poetry reading ... in the performances of more recent poetry slams. Slams have their drawbacks and aren't for everybody, but one thing I'll say about poetry slams: they encourage poets -- both seasoned and new poets -- to write with the spoken word in mind. For me, saying my poems and thoughts as I write is the best way to establish the right rhythmn, line breaks, word-juiciness and alliteration. Saying a poem while I'm writing it makes it more like a song, connects me with its' emotion and heart.


Tammy said...

This was beautiful! It saddened me Sam was not there but I'm sure he remembers it ;) XXOO

maureen said...

Tammy, thanks - I was feeling really sad that day, but you know, Sam is still with us. I am everyday amazed at his longevity. And I know YOU know how it is to lose an old faithful loving friend, as you lost your Manny. Sigh.

I'm so curious how you ended up at this post almost nine months after I wrote it? Were you looking for it? I always figure once a blog post gets buried in the archives it's highly unlikely anyone will read it. It was nice to see your comment on this post today - as I hadn't read the post in a few months. Thanks for commenting my dear... ;-D