Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Nantucket Sleigh Ride

In a room where I had already been,
I used a dictionary of words I already knew,
To help me write poems backwards.

When my hair broke the scissors,
I set fire to my shoes.
The smoke spoke only Spanish and wore a red shawl--
Why I was surprised by this is a riddle for a lunatic.

In the stream, down the hill,
The rocks are black and slippery, like whales' backs.
I am dancing across them barefoot when my heart starts again like a Nantucket sleigh ride--
I laugh, a thawing bell, in the moment that I realize
How careless real love is,
And that I might fall.

______

A Nantucket sleigh ride was when New England sailors and their boat were pulled along by a harpooned whale.

This is a poem about the end of my marriage, a decade ago.

For One Shot Wednesday. Happy one year!

25 comments:

Pat Hatt said...

Hmm never knew what a Nantucket sleigh ride was, now I do. Great write, bit sad, but true.

Louise said...

This seems a fitting tribute to the end of a marriage..it's in the pain of the harpooned whale, in the knowing of how beautiful & fragile love can be...a riddle indeed..

hedgewitch said...

Never trust a whale, I always say.

Seriously, this is very Lorca-ish, especially the first two stanzas--I am seeing a Dali landscape with those melted fish-like bodies hanging on the wall where the smoke speaks only spanish. This perfectly describes that state of mind where one is outside oneself with the conflict of emotions and collision of reality with fantasy that happens in a break up. But it also has the sleigh-ride exhilaration of freedom.

Helen said...

'a riddle for a lunatic' ~~ delightful choice of words. I have been crazy in love ~ it was careless of me. Long ago.

Sean Vessey said...

What a dangerous and crazy ride it is at the end of a marriage - thank you for capturing it well -
and the realization of vunerability -
"I laugh, a thawing bell, in the moment that I realize
How careless real love is,
And that I might fall."

thanks, Shay

Timoteo said...

I liked: When my hair broke the scissors...
I've had some bad hair days, but really!

Brian Miller said...

falling would not be so bad if the rocks were whales what with all their blubber...love the cachophony of images that somehow play well to render the message...my wife has threatened to burn my shoes, but i think that is the smell...

Steve E said...

I've not been here for a long time Shay. And still it is wonderful to read your charming bits of lunacy, so well-written.

And even now my mind is rendered, by your words, to remain a dried-up sponge of wordless uselessness.

Fine writing as usual...

PEACE, girl!
Steve E

ayala said...

Shay, another great write. I love it all!

Sioux said...

I MUST know! How did you learn about Nantucket sleigh rides? Where did you get this little tidbit?

What a fitting simile---riding something that you know is going to die...

I'm glad you wrote the note because it helped as I read the poem several times again.

signed...bkm said...

I have been to Nantucket but never on a ride like this...great write all the way..bkm

HermanTurnip said...

Wow. Just...wow. No snark here tonight. I'm too blown away by this piece. Here's an internet hug comin' at ya!

Beachanny said...

Another work of art. So filled with images and jambed with meaning. I have read it a dozen times. It feels like a true poem of independence in a dangerous and possibly not very free world.

Monika said...

So, did you fall?? I tasted love and I am still experiencing the going down and going up.

haikulovesongs said...

brilliant! especially learning that it was about the end of your marriage.

"a riddle for a lunatic" is a truly great line!

always amazing, Shay!
d ♥

haikulovesongs said...

brilliant! especially learning that it was about the end of your marriage.

"a riddle for a lunatic" is a truly great line!

always amazing, Shay!
d ♥

blueoran said...

If the poem keeps a veil up to its nose, by its tags we shall know thee, or the conceit of this whalespout of verse ... The selkie finds her skin in a box beneath the husband's side of the bed and no longer has to fret and sweat the landways, freed at last to hop back in the salt element of the wilder feminine ... It's always dangerous to write a poem already knowing the outcome, but you step on enough still-slippery rocks (a surprise, isn't it?) that it seems you find back there a truth you didn't quite understand, leaping joyous into the boundless blue. Ten years back in the womb's abyss and there's an odd fondness for a proper reel in a tethered whaleboat -- never to be so bound again, but surprised at the discoveries of the ride. I explicate beyond my capabilities, but you wrote this damn provoking poem. The truth does set you free, but it must make you miserable first. Ask any recovering drunk or divorcee - Brendan

Daryl said...

So glad you picked yourself up

Kerry O'Connor said...

In truth...I have written poems backwards..
I love the surreal flavours of your poem today, freed me up to imagine life a little differently.

Lynn said...

I have never heard of that - your poem is wonderful, FB.

Joanne said...

Yep, it's pretty much like that. Now I have a name for it, Nantucket sleigh ride. Also, besides memories of endings, memories of smooth rocks on lake bottoms amid childhood.

Thanks!

Lisa said...

:D :D :D
NICE!!

xx

Hannah Stephenson said...

Exhilarating in its sadness (do you know what I mean?). Fitting title.

Mama Zen said...

This made me weep.

Lolamouse said...

Wow. I liked it even before the explanation, but once I read what a Nantucket Sleigh Ride was and what the poem was about, I had to read it again and again. Truly breathtaking imagery. Wow. Again.