Sunday, January 5, 2014

Cheshire Cat

To kiss the winter is to kiss bone-lips--
to hold her is to make roots of one's fingers as one rolls in one's grave.

In my dreams, a succubus,
singing to me in crowsong;
an edge to open the blood borders behind my eyes.

Does all of this seem grim?
Let's do it on the hard wood pew,
and in the after-talk, soft and easy,
I will pull a bloom from the hymnal of my mouth, a song that has slept
and now stirs just to describe itself to you in octaves.

Once, dressed in scales of shell-pink and green,
I roamed the years like an exhaled breath,
searching for the dark-haired Queen of my dreams.

Summer found me gloomy, draped in leaf and binding,
and so she made a gift to me of her indifference;
In my hidey-hole I wove it into a flag, then burned it.

I kissed winter on her bone-lips then,
and breathed jet-colored smoke into her body--
from then on I saw her as Nubian, and beautiful as an animate jewel.

Cheshire Cat, she said,
behold now, nothing is left of you but your smile,
enchanted by me, the nothing of me, the waste.

Deep in my root-tangle, I imagined hanging gardens nodding with abundance.
Shocked with cold, I resolved to become a furnace, and fed my own flames.
As for winter, she knew a sucker when she saw one,
and laid down with me in our somnolent abatoir of illusion.

for Kerry's FANTASY mini-challenge at Real Toads.


Anonymous said...

A song that has slept
and now stirs just to describe itself to you in octaves

Loved it! I know the feeling...

Anonymous said...

The life of a poet,her poems, can be accounted as repeated encounters with a tale. Each poem updates the myth by deepening it into the present. No duh, huh. I haven't read enough of your work consistently to judge, but the pairing here of coyote and the Cheshire Cat in the ongoing Saga of a Heart tells truths that are insufficient without both in the frame. Gonna need it for the cold nights ahead.

K9friend said...

This poem fits well with the snowstorm that is whirling all around us. As always, very well done, Shay.

Critter Alley

Björn said...

What a glorious world our dreams can be... great writing.

hedgewitch said...

from the opening couplet to the final quatrain, this projects its own myth, its own world, with such intensity that it reads like a saga. The words roll off the tongue and into the heart--of love, of darkness. I have to admit the complexity behind the simplicity leaves me in awe--it's the sort that evokes some deepening image/insight with every line, almost with every word.The hanging gardens, the fiery furnace and that exquisite last line, where every word glows as Dylan once said, 'like burning coals...'--*pounds keyboard into plastic fragments*--You are at the top of your form here, Shay, and that is about as high as it goes.

PS--My absolute favorite JA song.

TexWisGirl said...

such intertwining imagery throughout.

Marcoantonio Arellano said...

I echo hedgewitche's sentiments about this this maze/journey wonderfully written. Sigh!!!!

Sherry Blue Sky said...

"I will pull a bloom from the hymnal of my mouth, a song that has slept
and now stirs just to describe itself to you in octaves". Quite possibly the best line I have ever read. As I read, I was telling myself, Shay has gone to an even deeper level with this one. As Hedge says, the top of YOUR form is about as high as writing gets. Wowzers, kiddo!

Mama Zen said...

This is incredible, Shay. Every word. A new favorite for me.

Kerry O'Connor said...

I was just commenting on Hedgewitch's post how I read the parts of the whole, and often find a few lines which resonate with me as almost a poem within a poem. Your third stanza has done that for me. The image is so encapsulating and unique, and speaks so clearly of love and self-sacrifice - I want to take it away with me.

Cloudia said...

Such a word menagerie you chatelaine!

Susie Clevenger said...

Goodness that third stanza is amazing...well, frankly the whole piece is. I would love just a tiny bit of your talent. :)

HermanTurnip said...

I'm noticing a steady progression into floral, dark imagery in your work, and I'm really enjoying it!

Anonymous said...

a whole new world for me to imagine; you've cracked open the door with this superb pen. ~

Lolamouse said...

I could live happily within the world of your poetry, Shay! So beautiful!

Anonymous said...

damn, girl!

"I resolved to become a furnace" did make me smile.

abatoir is such a pretty word for such an ugly place.

Happy New Year, SP!

Daryl said...

....somnolent abatoir of illusion... rolls off the tongue in a very sexy way

Sioux said...

I didn't think I had heard that song, but had not recognized it as Jefferson Airplane (I prefer the hard-driving vocals of Grace Slick).

The poem--what a way to begin my morning (sorry, I'm getting caught up).

Helen said...

Susie and I are in agreement .. stanza three, I got completely lost in, read it several times before continuing. You do have magic in your heart, your mind.