Monday, August 14, 2017

The Winter Guest

You were the winter guest
wrapped in scarves and leather,
and I was the girl with red hair
and a dollar on the dresser.

One night, eating on the cheap
at the Chinese restaurant downstairs,
you turned an egg roll into a talking dog
who called me her Heart....her Air.

Do you remember when I played you
the song about a nightingale in Berkeley Square?
You called me a granny and kissed my ear,
then dropped your coat on a kitchen chair.

I loved the delicate balance
of my quilt on your back--
candle light in my bedroom--
and all of that....

You were the winter guest
wrapped in cable knit and leather;
now I'm a lonesome nightingale
with a scarf on her dresser.
______

from a word list.

 

21 comments:

Sioux Roslawski said...

Shay--Something so wistful from a list? Wow.

Sherry Marr said...

Owwwwwwww........achingly beautiful. Love the nightingale. This makes me remember Love.

Marcoantonio Arellano said...

lovely

Sanaa Rizvi said...

Whistles!!❤️ This is incredibly beautiful, Shay! Especially love; "You were the winter guest wrapped in cable knit and leather; now I'm a lonesome nightingale
with a scarf on her dresser."❤️


PS: Thank you so much for your lovely comment on my poem ❤️ It would be my honor to collaborate with you in 2018! Count me in!❤️ xoxo

Sarah Russell said...

This is wonderful, Shay -- wistful and with a longing. The rhyme and the subject matter remind me of Edna St. Vincent Millay. Well done!!

Thotpurge said...

All the elements here to tell an aching story...the scarf on the dresser is a perfect image of loneliness.

hedgewitch said...

As always, your rhymes are a soft accompaniment to your theme that carries both deep into the heart. Looking back is so bittersweet, yet I think we need the reminder-- that we were loved and were loving in return--more than ever as the years pile up. Just a beautiful lament, Shay.

Kerry O'Connor said...

You write the most wistful poems about love.. what once was.. what remains.. what might have been.. They always leaving me with a sigh.

telltaletherapy said...

love the bold statements of who is who and how in these lovely wistful words - every verse a winner!

brudberg said...

This is something that should be sung, the musical references are exquisite and the sadness of the loss works so well with the concept of a winter guest (as opposed to a summer fling)

jade said...

Instead of trying to recreate the comment I lost earlier, I'm going to just start fresh.

This time, the title "Winter Guest" comes across also as "Winter Ghost" --- which goes with my original conclusion that perhaps this is about someone who has died. (That's how I ended my last attempted comment, but I'll start with that thought this time.)

This being in past-tense makes me wonder about what has changed. Has the relationship simply ended, or has the person been altered, for the better or worse (or like I said, died)? I'm also thinking that you have changed as well --- and not just your hair color. ("I was the girl with red hair ...")

What I find to be most captivating about this poem (what will bring me back to it over and over again) is its layering. For example, the dollar on the dresser draws me to imagine her stripping for you. But not just in a physical way; in an emotional way. "Wrapped in scarves and leather" emphasizes both that she's cold and also that she's covered in layers --- hard to strip down. I think maybe it's easy for her to get naked, to be sexual. But to be emotionally raw and bare? I think that takes a lot more work.

Oh goodness, now I'm wondering if the dollar on your dresser was given to you. Maybe you're the stripper. Maybe all of the above applies to you. Or maybe the dollar means nothing more than that you were poor.

"who called me her Heart....her Air" ... I see "her heir" in this as well, which makes me think you're talking to someone older, a mentor, someone passing something down to you, asking you to rise into her position. A mother figure, But this probably has nothing to do with your intention.

That line break after "played you" is so suggestive of underlying meanings ... "played you" as in toyed with you or didn't commit, or as in playing someone like an instrument ... drawing music out of them.

"You called me a granny and kissed my ear" ... This is my favorite. Well, this part as well:

"I loved the delicate balance
of my quilt on your back"

That is so gorgeous, so touching. It also makes me think of riding a horse with a quilt over its back, which is probably not at all related.

jade said...

I love this gradual shift:
"wrapped in cable knit and leather" ... "cable knit" (instead of scarves) reinforcing her layers; her thick, protective coverings

In the end, I think she at least dropped one layer for you ... the scarf. I guess if you want more, it'll cost you more than a dollar --- probably more than you'd be willing to give. Or, maybe she just died. :P

I love the rhyme throughout (leather/dresser; hair/stairs/air/square/chair).

Four dots for your ellipses. Interesting. As if you're extending the typical length of a continuation, of a cut-out section. There was something extra in it, I think.

Reading this again, I'm picturing you covered in nothing, layered in nothing ... but red hair and the buck you placed on the dresser. You were trying to be so open, so emotionally available. She was not.

jade said...

That second stanza is so weird, but awesome and interesting. I see "eating on the cheep," and then I'm imaging there being dog meat in the egg roll --- as a joke, perhaps. Like she's cracking a joke about Chinese food being made of unexpected types of meat. This stanza also makes me wonder about the living arrangements. I imagine you live in a tiny apartment above the restaurant; maybe you rent it, or maybe you work there, or maybe you're part of the Chinese family who runs it. (That's how it is in my father-in-law's town; the family who runs the Chinese restaurant actually lives in an apartment connected to the restaurant. So now I'm imagining you being a redheaded Chinese woman, which sounds so crazy hot. And I'm pretty sure I'm going way off on one of my nutty tangents that you hate so much.)

Obviously there are musical references here that I don't get. I know there's a band called Heart; other than that, I'm clueless.

I also see a reading in which the winter guest isn't a person at all but an illness that stripped the speaker of something vital, though she did not die. That would make the second stanza some sort of fever-induced delirium. I could also read this as if the winter guest is an alternate personality (or imaginary friend) that stayed for a while and then left. Maybe the speaker is schizophrenic.

I'm sure you hate it when I do this, but it's how I see/read. (I also see your red hair as being read hair --- someone looking at your head so hard that the words rise up from your brain to the scalp and the strands.)

Kim Russell said...

I love this, Shay - it's kind of Dylanesque in its story-telling. I especially enjoyde the scene in the stanza:
'I loved the delicate balance
of my quilt on your back--
candle light in my bedroom--
and all of that...'
Such a poignant ending.

Carrie Van Horn said...

Oh the longing of love lost...you have captured it eloquently here Shay....as you always do.

Martin Kloess said...

This seems sad. But one could take it as one more classic winter's tale of young lovers, left on the doorsteps of Berkeley.

angieinspired said...

a delicate balance of end rhymes make me happy as it seems these two once were

Margaret said...

Adore near rhymes as to exact rhymes - your stories of love lost, jilted love are always good.

Magaly Guerrero said...

I always enjoy poems that tell their stories with such powerful imagery, especially the one in the last stanza... that scarf *sigh*

Susie Clevenger said...

A lone scarf, a perfect metaphor for loneliness... People move on, but often their memory is planted too deep within to really find us free of their hold.

LL Cool Joe said...

I'd forgotten how beautiful your poems are. :)