Wendell Barry’s lines: “make a poem that does not disturb / the silence from which it came,” served as a writing prompt this week. Tall order, that! In fact, those lines would make a useful weekly prompt for the rest of my life (the full Berry poem, below).
Here’s a version of what I wrote on Tuesday.
Even when lids shut, the tissue
aquiver — the scroll of light
rolling on, a form of
I want to go through my days,
my nights, like a rib cage.
Each curving spear connected
at a central pole. Sure
in form, sure in purpose,
protecting the two wind
lobes and the single beating
fist — lungs and heart safer
for the bony embrace.
Instead, a vibrato of uncertainty.
How has the non-tactile
flow of damage gained ascendancy
over sinew and nerve,
crowding out all the places
in the body that crave
One day those ribs will spear
dirt and crumble. Shouldn’t the body
being Hand Maiden to Death wake
us out of stupor now
Let me eat a cracker
with a smidge of butter.
Let me sweep the steps free of snow
and then sleep under a blanket
that whispers ‘hallelujah.’
Let the sun falling on tabletops
The Solstice is here.
Let ‘standing still’ mean something.
Wendell Berry’s poem, “How to Be a Poet,” from “Given:”
Make a place to sit down
Sit down. Be quiet. [ . . .]
Breathe with unconditional breath
the unconditional air.
Shun electric wire.
Communicate slowly. Live
a three-dimensional life;
stay away from screens.
Stay away from anything
that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.
Accept what comes from silence.
Make the best you can of it.
Of the little words that come
out of the silence, like prayers
prayed back to the one who prays,
make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came.
So many lines there to use as springboards!
I made my crack of day (not quite dawn) run to Wegman’s. Shallots, greens, prosciutto, corn meal, dill and sage, oranges and oyster mushrooms. Tonight: a Solstice Party at a neighbor’s (see last year’s post on ‘the Irish Goodbye’). I’ll bring an onion tart. Christmas Eve, dinner for eight. Ham, smashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts and cukes in vinegar. Slight variation on a meal I’ve made many times.
Any nice ideas for dessert?
With the boys and now my niece living so far away (LA, Boulder, San Fran), I’m really looking forward to this.
Happy Solstice to you!
May the richness of the dark touch you, nourish you,
and bring us all forward into the light.
PS I went to see if my first blog post was December 2009 so as to mention TEN YEARS of blogging. Turns out the first came December 2008. Imagine that! Eleven years here.
Mail from Michelle. More on that to come.
Also, have to post this. It goes to season, darkness, and the hope for cycling into light, after all.