Youth & Age

I met a woman with hands made of ice,
she said you're burning 
with fever, 
poor thing.
She gave me a bible, some old wedding rice
and a bell
too tarnished
to ring.

She said, child, you come like a saint with a gun
to bless me
or kill me
with cures.
I stood there and called up the moon with my prayers,
fed it honey,
then gave it
to her.

Don't give me your pity, it's you who need mine
said this woman who cracked 
when she smiled.
Then the moon called me back and erased all I'd done
and the woman said
don't you see,
child?
The woman said
don't you see,
child?
_____

for Sunday Muse #94.


Comments

hedgewitch said…
I don't know if we start out with duality riding our backs, but by the time we reach a certain age, we are certainly carrying it in our "hands of ice.." For me I get from your words that feeling of alienation and bewilderment we sometimes feel as we confront and contrast our past and current selves.."the bell too tarnished to ring.." I especially love feeding the moon honey, then this: "Don't give me your pity, it's you who need mine/said this woman who cracked/ when she smiled..." Or so I read, as an old crone. Really amazing how much you have said here, whether I have it right or wrong, how simply yet how deeply this poem speaks in our ears. Wonderful stuff, Shay, and sorry for quoting so much.
Sherry Blue Sky said…
Yes, everything that Joy said, the same lines leaped at me. I especially love that bell too tarnished to ring. Perfection.
. said…
It’s like the woman is an unpleasable mother, mentor, or Sunday school teacher. There’s such a heaviness in the child’s heart, offering all her magic and nature worship to the mom, who rejects it and her. This poem is very sad. The mom just doesn’t/can’t let there be value in who the child is and all she has to give.
Carrie Van Horn said…
I think it is always the child that gives the greatest gift of all and the adult learns from those teachings. I love so much about this poem Shay!There is a wise lesson we learn from both the giving and the bitter soul. Absolutely gorgeous!!
Sumana Roy said…
'or kill me
with cures.'---This we see everyday. We better be in tune with the smiling old woman & accept her gifts.
Truedessa said…
That was an interesting piece, I can read much between the lines. I think the child sees more than than the woman. The bell too tarnished to ring as if it's lost it's message of hope. Ironically, the bible is a book of hope. It creates some strange sort of balance. It could just be me today but, I do enjoy writings that make me ponder.
C. Sandlin said…
I love the rhythm in this piece; I keep getting lost in the shift of the lines, in the way it flashes and spins images. Enchanting.
brudberg said…
I wonder if it's not harder to live than to leave... A saint with a gun to bless me or kill me with cures, sometimes I wonder what we do our old ones...
Susan said…
What ever we added to nature was unnecessary. We gave gifts without seeing into the hearts of the exchanges, and so, and so-- we are bewildered and uncured. Would we all meet this old woman-within or outside us. I especially like her recognition that the giver is herself ill, that answers cure or kill, that the blindness is real. Your rhyme is a spoonful of sugar that lets the mystery enter.
Mama Zen said…
This flows flawlessly. I adore it.
Sounds like you are standing in the midst of a great puzzle. Love it!
Kerry O'Connor said…
such a beautiful infusion between the picture and your words. I love the idea of the polar bears as the two women, and I very much admire the way you phrased and formatted your lines.

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