Moonset of A Working Girl

"Gathering Wood" by Edward Emerson Simmons

"I said this can't be me
Must be my double
And I can't forget, I can't forget
I can't forget but I don't remember what"--Leonard Cohen

Gathering kindling, wearing wooden shoes
is work that makes the sun slip
and the dust rise
in stupid excitement under the wheels of that chariot.

I pull bones like branches slowly
from body to berm
until there sits the new me, blinking,
carefully arranged, expendable, ready to burn.

I am a moonset, walking, blathering,
obscured in a bonnet of overcast and dry leaves.
My effigy with her soft hands rises,
ascends, lights brightly my obligatory entropy.

for my own Fireblossom Friday




hedgewitch said…
You capture perfectly the sense of suspension in this image, of a sudden thought that bulldozes one into immobility; our work with sticks and bones to make and remake our effigies is weary as those opening lines, and afterwards, is there anything but dust to show? I especially like the soft, final way the words fall in your last stanza, like snow that melts on the face but keeps coming. (BTW this picture strongly reminded me of Joan of Arc, and I'm pleased, but not surprised, it is the one that spoke to you.)
Mama Zen said…
The rhyme is perfect. This falls so gently on the ear; you're burning before you even know.
Sherry Blue Sky said…
Sigh. "I pull bones like branches slowly"......and "I am a moonset". I was most struck by this painting of your uncle's, intrigued by the girl's possible story. She looks so tired, as if she dare not dream. Your poem is wonderful, as always.
tonispencer said…
I love your reference to the old Greek myth of the sun being pulled in a chariot across the sky - but to this small girl in wooden shoes, she is held forever to the earth gathering sticks to burn to keep warm. Not for her chariots or sun. Pulling branches like bones from the earth...
Gillena Cox said…
We both choose the same painting. And those shoes spoke to us both. I really like the images of grit and toil in your opening lines

Happy you dropped in to read mine

Cloudia said…
Thanks for naming my band!

"obligatory entropy"
Margaret said…
I am quite taken with the mastery of this painting and your words do it sweet justice. I love everything said above and really liked "is work that makes the sun slip and the dust rise"... I think of her long days of work, how hard it is, and yet one sees the intelligence in her face, knowing there is more...
Brendan said…
Rhyme some? Reading your prompt was for me the segue into this poem (how would it stand alone?), a verbose haibun maybe or whatever that fussy form is, taking a straightforward historical narrative and using it (bouncing from it, digesting it) to assemble this effigy-homunculus, fashioned so the whole thing can fade before our eyes--which I suppose is what poetic memory does. It was great reading down into you in the prompt (newspaper girl! newspaper girl!) and then taking such a strange scantrhyme left turn here.
Kerry O'Connor said…
Such a cool way to read into that picture, Shay.
annell4 said…
A beautiful painting. I am glad you mentioned the wooden shoes, I didn't see them before. Loved the prompt, your ancestor's beautiful paintings, and your write.
Fantastic write- you captured the essence of this piece of art.
Kim M. Russell said…
I love what you see in this image - I nearly chose it myself - and I especially enjoyed the lines:
' that makes the sun slip
and the dust rise
in stupid excitement under the wheels of that chariot'
'I am a moonset, walking, blathering,
obscured in a bonnet of overcast and dry leaves'.
Jim said…
Thank you for sharing, Shay. Both of your late found genealogy and of your interpretation/supposition of the lady of the picture. I lived reading the latter. We are pretty much stuck with and knowing our place. We can shift a bit up or down from it. But our spirit isn't a product of birth, it is pure and naïve at childhood's beginning and goes from there. Megan Markle Windsor has been my ideal lately, I have a grandfatherly affection for her. I wish her a continued well-being.
brudberg said…
I love your use of the picture... I think we saw the same sass in the face of that girl... so many wonderful images, but I really love how you use the alliteration on the letter B... it gives the poem a beat.
Anonymous said…
Oh hell yeah, the fires will burn, casting tall light for the heat, the smoke, the rising of the ash - to be caught - and stand tall - I knew you would speak of Joan in some reference- and her dignity, and yet you've offered just enough sass back in the language - to make this zing - then end with a sifting of grace .... too many word phrases, images, metaphors to mention - because you want me to blather on longer? but whoa - those last two words - obligatory entropy .... now that is bad ass good.

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