Friday, November 30, 2012

Union

In the winter,
I married a small wooden box.
I carried my devotion around in a coal scuttle,
and named each of the kitchen utensils
as if they were children who might one day attend university
and, subsequently,
slowly forget us.

My husband was made of cherry wood,
wide as he was deep.
I mailed him the dust from the nursery
where we grew liniment and bitters
from window boxes buried under the floor boards.

One day, going on spring,
the sky turned the color of a fouled well.
It rained river perch;
they came down inside overcoats of ice, like a devil's fairy tale
and all the while,
my husband was one lung and I was the other--
with no heart in between,
inspiring and expiring
without any conscious thought at all.
_______

for Mary's Mixed Bag "connection" at Real Toads.


20 comments:

Cloudia said...

Shay-
I wish I had the words to describe WHY your poems are so Right, Meaningful & Good.

They smell of classical knowledge and skill, while displaying contemporary-isms befitting some high-priced "Trend Expert."
Au Currant! Gritty!

I bet you are inspired in the moment, and delighted as we subsequently are, at the super-apt
lines that emerge!

All I can do is dumbly repeat:
"My husband was made of cherry wood,
wide as he was deep.
I mailed him the dust from the nursery
where we grew liniment and bitters
from window boxes buried under the floor boards."

And delight.
Aloha Blessings
from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral

~ > < } } ( ° >

> < 3 3 3 ( ' >

><}}(°> ~

Susan said...

Connection/entanglement/at-one-ness/intertwining--how does it happen, how successful can the surgery of separation ever be? I try to disentangle the words here, but all I can truly do is doodle a picture of the whole. Have I ever felt so deeply, I wonder, though I know I have and I am just seeing how it looks in words.

Kerry O'Connor said...

It never ceases to amaze me how you can take a prompt idea and take it to the most amazingly unexpected place. I love everything about this poem, especially the relationship described as two halves of the lungs with no heart in between... There is a whole world of interpretation right there.

aprille said...

Oh, if only we could have your wondrous mix of visual images set to music and have Elizabeth Gillies sing it.

Carol Steel 5050 said...

I've read and re-read and savoured and pondered your poem. I can't put a finger on how and why it works, I just know in my guts that it does and does it so wonderfully. I have the same feeling now that I have after a surprisingly good meal...I am satiated and grateful and reading it again for dessert.

Mary said...

" my husband was one lung and I was the other--
with no heart in between,
inspiring and expiring "

Whew, that was quite a connection you described here! Masterful writing.

Willow said...

You are astoundingly amazing in your imagery, unique and fresh, your message, no connection utensil children, lungs "with no heart in between inspiring and expiring..." A vivid, rich, powerful poem, a thrill to read and read. Thank you. The photos and Ted Hughes, excellent...I once wrote that I've lived my life too small...or "didn't live boldly enough." The song a perfect accompaniment to the poem. So well done.

Helen said...

Your imagination, your mind ... there are no boundaries!! Oh, how I love reading the Poetry of Shay!

(nice music too, reminds me a bit of Judy Collins)

hedgewitch said...

This is a piece of symbolism that seems to defy logic and yet feels right on every nuance--the perch in icy raincoats, the dust of bitters, the objectification and decay of self, of love, and the connection of beginnings and endings that is one of the saddest and most inevitable. Fine--very fine--writing, Shay. You excel even beyond your normal standards here.

Shawna said...

Your ending says it all.

"my husband was one lung and I was the other--
with no heart in between,
inspiring and expiring
without any conscious thought about it at all."

Some things keep going all on their own, without any conscious effort ... even when they should not. They just drag you along behind them, like a flopping body tied to runaway carriage.

Your first stanza makes me think you married a feeling of emptiness and spent your lonely hours in a kitchen, childless and talking to silverware. Obviously you support the barren them in your second stanza. It sounds like you have lost several tiny babies before they had a chance to bring life to your family.

I love this: "My husband was made of cherry wood, wide as he was deep." Cherry wood is beautiful and comforting---my favorite wood. But you've already described your husband as small, so now we know he is also not a deep thinker.

"the sky turned the color of a fouled well" What a creative way to describe the color.

"overcoats of ice" I love that.

Oh how I can picture this poor lifeless couple, feeling so much pain and hollowness, yet enduring without intention---one day at a time, one foot in front of the other ... until the lungs give out, I guess. They'll have to die eventually.

Marian said...

i really love this one, Shay, in all its moody goodness.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Wowzers. An absolutely killer poem. Wicked good.

manicddaily said...

Yes, very intense, kind of crazy but works super well (not a befouled one). k.

Hannah said...

Yup you nailed it, Shay...I always leave here mouthing,

"What...where...how in the world did she come up with this!?"

I love the choices you made to bring us along with you and the example of connectivity that you chose to illustrate.

Very uniquely written, Shay! :)

Scott said...

I love docks. How they connect us to water. That one looks especially enchanting. Lovely expression of McCartney's tune.

Mama Zen said...

I have to kind of echo some of the other comments. This just works flawlessly, but I can't really isolate the reason why. The imagery is incredible, yes. The ideas presented make the mind bend in unexpected and unaccustomed directions, yes. The words dance beautifully together, yes. But, there's a "more" there. And, it just blows me away.

Susie Clevenger said...

You are a weaver of words like no other. It is so hard to be joined without a heart.

razzamadazzle said...

You never cease to amaze me. Your poems are so unexpected and unique.

Sara said...

This one stung, but not in a bad way. I just didn't expect that last verse. Since others have already spoken about how you capture emotions so well with visual word images, I will simply say "you amaze me with your gift of poetry.

goatman said...
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