They pegged you for print.
You spilled velvet billets-doux in tangled cursive.
They pegged you for print.
You spilled velvet billets-doux in tangled cursive.
Our arms stretched
c o n t i n e n t s.
They weren’t long
What was it in his eyes? Not Monday, too sluggish. Not Tuesday, too fair. Wednesday? Maybe. Wait, Friday. Definitely Friday. An entire succession of Fridays with their infinite possibilities and wild freedom.
Better yet? Summer. Its hazy glint of blazing afternoons, burning stars, and galaxies ripped open wide in a nightly show replayed in his pupils for the world to take notice.
But did it? Did it slow its rushing and clawing and climbing and grasping to stop and look? I mean stare?
If it had, they would have seen, could have inhaled present. Clock hands turned, digital numbers flipped, even sunlight shifted. But his eyes . . . wet with oceans and the beams of a thousand lighthouses anchored.
You can say anything you want, yessir, but it’s the words that sing, they soar and descend . . . I bow to them . . . I love them, I cling to them, I run them down, I bite into them, I melt them down . . . I love words so much . . . The unexpected ones . . . The ones I wait for greedily or stalk until, suddenly, they drop . . . Vowels I love . . . They glitter like colored stones, they leap like silver fish, they are foam, thread, metal, dew . . . I run after certain words . . . They are so beautiful that I want to fit them all into my poem . . . I catch them in midflight, as they buzz past, I trap them, clean them, peel them, I set myself in front of the dish, they have a crystalline texture to me, vibrant, ivory, vegetable, oily, like fruit, like algae, like agates, like olives . . . And I stir them, I shake them, I drink them, I gulp them down, I mash them, I garnish them, I let them go . . . I leave them in my poem like stalactites, like slivers of polished wood, like coals, pickings from a shipwreck, gifts from the waves . . . Everything exists in the word . . .From Memoirs by Pablo Neruda (NY: Penguin, 1974), p. 53.
Lately, I haven’t written much here. Not because words have eluded me but because life has been a deluge.
I have been umbrella-less, soaked, face upturned, eyes closed and experiencing a light drizzle matting down my hair. Other moments, being subjected to stinging, pelting torrents.
In between the tumultuous extremes, I have felt warmth breaking through the lumpy, gray clouds. The sensation of sunlight on my eyelids that have caused them to fly open.
When I have looked up through dampened lashes, I have glimpsed rainbows. Day after day after day. Not one or two or three, more like five or six. Extravagant jewels in the skies. At times, only a fragment of multi-colored hues, but rainbows just the same.
I have savored them, letting my gaze remain fixed on their transparent beauty. My emotions have soared amidst the slowly moving skyscape, flitting here and there, bathed in flecks of violet and indigo.
A sense of hope has permeated my spirit. There is no shaking it off, no angry skies that can blanket it, no lightening zig zags that can electrocute it. Anticipation remains, expectant, receptive to whatever it is that is now concealed by a watery, dribbling mist.
Work is done for the day so time to ponder. I was thinking about Ray Bradbury tonight. He’s the author of two of my favorite texts: Fahrenheit 451 and Dandelion Wine. He has penned so many inspiring words I have trouble choosing only some quotes (a few are taped to the shelf above my desk). Long story shorter (I can never guarantee short), here’s a few of my faves:
“We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.” ~Bradbury
“He glanced back at the wall. How like a mirror, too, her face. Impossible; for how many people did you know who reflected your own light to you? People were more often–he searched for a simile, found one in his work–torches, blazing away until they whiffed out. How rarely did other people’s faces take of you and throw back to you your own expression, your own innermost trembling thought?” ~ Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)
“We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over; so in a series of kindnesses there is at last one which makes the heart run over.” ~ Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)
“You’ll find out it’s little savors and little things that count more than big ones. A walk on a spring morning is better than an eighty-mile ride in a hopped-up car, you know why? Because it’s full of flavors, full of a lot of things growing. You’ve time to seek and find.”~Bradbury (Dandelion Wine)
“Are you happy?” she [Clarisse] said. “Am I what?” he [Montag] cried. But she was gone- running in the moonlight. Her front door shut gently.” ~ Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)
“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there. It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. “ ~ Bradbury
“There is such a place as fairyland – but only children can find the way to it. And they do not know that it is fairyland until they have grown so old that they forget the way. One bitter day, when they seek it and cannot find it, they realize what they have lost; and that is the tragedy of life. On that day the gates of Eden are shut behind them and the age of gold is over. Henceforth they must dwell in the common light of common day. Only a few, who remain children at heart, can ever find that fair, lost path again; and blessed are they above mortals. They, and only they, can bring us tidings from that dear country where we once sojourned and from which we must evermore be exiles. The world calls them its singers and poets and artists and story-tellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland.”
L.M. Montgomery has been one of my favorite writers from the time I was a tween and I first read Emily Climbs. I was enamored by her main protagonist, Emily, who loved writing, life, nature, and was filled with “gumption.” She experienced “the flash” and from the moment I read about her experience in the text, I felt at home between those pages I eagerly devoured (metaphorically speaking of course 🙂 ). Emily writes, “Words are such fascinating things. . . The very sound of some of them–‘haunted’–‘mystic’–for example, gives me the flash. (Oh, dear! But I have to italicize the flash. It isn’t ordinary–it’s the most extraordinary and wonderful thing in my whole life. When it comes I feel as if a door had swung open in a wall before me and given me a glimpse of–yes, of heaven).” Lovely! She summarized for years how I felt as a small child when stories would sneak up from behind and demand I write them by nightlight (risking my mom or dad catching me awake when I was already supposed to be fast asleep on a school night).
I hope never to forget the feeling when I capture a moment so real, so intense, so full of passion or grief or joy. When I am allowed glimpses into my past from my muses and these backward glances overwhelm me, I can once again BE that barefoot four-year old child riding a green bike with a suede banana seat or I can taste honeysuckle nectar on my tongue or I can inhale the neighbors’ perfumed orange blossoms that fill me with summer calm. I am so grateful for emotions that may be expressed in words, words that are as real to me as this laptop I am typing on or the comfy bed I sleep in or the stir fry I will later make. Today, I was granted this gift of just BEing and I am thankful.
I’m a “quotes” person. I love quotes from people who have climbed rungs of the highest ladders, who have tripped and fallen face down in grime, who have cleansed themselves by splashing about in rain puddles, who have soared on the wings of ecstasy, who have teetered on rocky precipices, who have cradled a little person close to them and inhaled that baby’s sweetness, who have scratched art into existence, who have loved, hated, accomplished, failed, thrown in the towel, swam with rip tides until they broke free. . .who have LIVED.
“The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them — words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. But it’s more than that, isn’t it?
The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within, not for want of a teller, but for want of an understanding ear.”
~Stephen King (Different Seasons)
Okay, I know love letter fest is technically over. HOWEVER, I could not resist posting two, short letters exchanged between one of the most romantic, literary couples (Robert and Elizabeth Browning) ever (in my book THE most romantic, literary couple). Of course, Elizabeth wrote my favorite poetry collection, Sonnets from the Portuguese, for her husband Robert Browning and I believe them to be the most beautiful poems (especially numbers I, XIV, XX, and the best, XLIII). So enjoy and keep that passion alive every day, not just on Valentine’s Day!!!!
…would I, if I could, supplant one of any of the affections that I know to have taken root in you – that great and solemn one, for instance.
I feel that if I could get myself remade, as if turned to gold,
I WOULD not even then desire to become more than the mere setting to that diamond you must always wear.
The regard and esteem you now give me, in this letter, and which I press to my heart and bow my head upon, is all I can take and all too embarrassing, using all my gratitude.
– Robert Browning
And now listen to me in turn.
You have touched me more profoundly than I thought even you could have touched me – my heart was full when you came here today.
Henceforward I am yours for everything.
– Elizabeth Barrett Browning
I’m sitting here working and loud sounds may be heard outside (despite the Cat. 5 rated hurricane, impact resistant, glass windows in my bedroom). By loud, I mean very loud since if the sounds were softer, I wouldn’t hear them at all. To many people, these sounds would be considered “noises.” If my ears don’t deceive me, a heavy duty concrete saw is being utilized as well as a tile saw. These sounds should irritate me but they don’t. Years of growing up with a dad, who worked around the clock as a full-time firefighter and part-time carpenter, have provided me with enough “audio memories” that, instead of aggravation, I experience contentment when hearing the sounds. Must have something to do with the association of loud sounds with progress (my dad was, and is, the type man to finish projects). So, I’ll keep writing to the symphony of concrete, tile, and hydraulic saws and know that my neighbor will soon be enjoying a beautiful pool patio.
(This poem is written in response to Lynda’s poetry challenge over at Bookstains, one of two sites she runs. The painting, which many of you probably recognise, is by Grant Wood. Lynda asked people to interpret the painting anyway they wished and to write a poem on their ideas. I kidnapped this idea from Jessica’s Japes. So, here’s mine!)
forget Mary and
your four kids
keep staring at her
perky milk bottles I
swear I’ll find a
new use for that
Pamela A. Rossow