Sunday, February 17, 2008

Torch Song

“All the secrets a wise heart has
must be more hidden than the Phoenix is
Because concealment in that oyster-shell makes the pearl
From that water drop that comes from the depths of the ocean”

~from The Ruba’iyat of Omar Khayam

Putting out candles with my tongue again
and wearing tiny blisters for days.
I can barely taste my food.

Where statements might be invitations
there should be silence.
Little, stitched-up, sewn together
secrets that stay where they are;
rather than bleed from a vein which suffocates with a blackness.
Pushing with backs of cupped hands
a fine layer of powdery tenderness to the periphery.

We knew about this love,
we learned about it in mirrors.
Cold, clear, we decorate ourselves in front of it.
To obscure what we see, to conceal more than a blush
or forked lightning in our eyes at the sound of a name.
Until hiding is habitual. A proud discipline.

The humble portion, still,
inside is held, nurtured, transformed.
To expose it becomes a soft, slow loss, a seeping.
It aches as tears of a little lost girl, alone in a place of bones
and skulls. Telling herself stories, while the wind encloses her
in a relentless lullaby of an emptiness.
This is impossible to wrap in the warm strangeness of words.
This image of a pocket inside a jacket sealed with tiny stitches
which should remain unpicked. Stays and expands,
becoming all.


Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

Perhaps easier to comment here than among the crowd on your MySpace.

I like this piece very much, its complexity and thoughtfulness.

I like the sculptures too. I've always thought poetry akin to sculpture - creating something out of nothing, and shaping it. But I am not a sculptor; what do you think?

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

PS What translation of The Rubai'yat is that?

Adam Stuart said...

this is so pretty

Adam Stuart said...

going to make sure I confirm my subscription this time

Larry Kuechlin said...


This is such an amazing poem. I've read this now 5 times, and I still haven't collected the words to describe its beauty.

The third stanza, in particular, is just masterful.

You should be very proud of this one, my friend. This puts your amazing skills on full display.

Larry Kuechlin