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27 April 2009 @ 04:19 pm
 Impressions of Cobh 

by Mary


Hemmed by quay and waves, Cobh clings
To the hillside, like a lichen to a birch.
The waves, storm-tossed and froth-capped,
Beat against the town’s stone edge,
And in the storm, the sea overcomes me;
The wind rubs salt in my eyes,
I try to blink it away, but all I see is ocean. 


St. Colman’s Cathedral makes everything else
Seem small; it juts from the mountain, half-mined.
Inside I trace trinity knots in the mosaic floor,
Before  I look up—dark wooden arches like ribs
Create ceiling, they are high-vaulted,
Rosewood ‘till the chancel. The arches
Go white above the altar bright with candles.


The old church cemetery keeps
Some of the Lusitania’s losses—
I don’t know the story, who brought
The bodies from Kinsale, where
They washed ashore, to Queenstown.
Here, there is only one boulder marked
Lusitania for the hundred buried together.

27 April 2009 @ 02:52 pm
 Rosin & Notes
Poem 7, Draft 2

Rosin, the progeny of pine resin,
Gives voice to steel strings.
The dust on the horsehair
Provokes vibration, the birth
Of the note that begins in the string
Before shivering into the body
And resounding into air.
It rushes through the cello,
From the c-string into the bridge
Then to the top. As the note slips
Out from the f-holes and breaks
The silence, the maple back
Shudders against my chest.
Largest of all the violin family,
The cello speaks closest to us;
The a-string murmurs in our tones.
The open string is never on pitch,
But I understand the imperfect fifth
Between the a and the d strings.
As the bow draws speech
From steel, maple, and spruce,
The rosin coats the steel and falls
Beneath the bridge to settle
In a film of white on burnished wood. 

27 April 2009 @ 02:49 pm
Inis Meáin
Poem 6, Draft 2

On top of Dún Chonchúir,
I am both captive and voyeur,
Between Galway and the Atlantic.
The ring fort, relic of the pagans,
Is a grey belt that binds
The wave of land between
The shingle gilded by remnants
From the retreating tide
And the cliffs etched by ocean.
Beneath me the green of the Arans
Is punctuated by stone walls,
Reinventions of the rocks I stand on.
The walls below are made
Without any mortar, they filter
The sunlight through chinks
As big as my fist, those gaps
Where the day cuts through.

On the crown of Inis Meáin,
In the rush of the wind,
In the thick smells of sheep and salt,
With the timbre of Irish sighing my ears,
Finn’s wild, giant rage
And his Imbas Forosnai
Are not so strange or unmixable.
He is always equally bard and berserk,
Perhaps an echo of a Celtic God,
Or maybe a man made great by time.
It is here on the middle island,
Where a dying language speaks,
Where the roofs stay thatched,
Where old fights and accepts new,
I can understand his amalgam,
The warrior and the poet. 

27 April 2009 @ 02:46 pm

The Winter Sadness
Poem 9, Draft 2

I keep the windows down to feel the sting
Of streaming cold against my eyes and cheeks;
I keep then down to smell the Frasier firs.
Each year the winter changes us, it dries
Us out like violets pressed between the leaves
Of Job. The season of sticks is here again,
She cries as fall shakes off its reds and golds.
She uses boxed electric light to fight
What’s called the winter sadness, it reminds
Her what she’s never had, the midnight sun,
The lengthened days of Finland’s summer months.
Great-Grandpa Wickman changed his name, but kept
The winter keening for that summer-sun;
When mother changed her name she kept it too.
From August into May she mourns the trees,
And spends her days cocooned inside, away
From frost and leafless woods. But in December
I drive everywhere with windows wide open. I learn
Each year to watch and smell the evergreens. 

The first five people to respond to this post will get something made by me.

My choice. For you.

This offer does have some restrictions and limitations:

* I make no guarantees that you will like what I make!

* What I create will be with you in mind.

* It'll be done sometime this year (2009)

* You have no clue what it's going to be. It may be something written, some physical thing made, a mix CD, could be anything at all, but I will make it myself. It's entirely my choice what it is. No quibbles, no refunds.

Oh, and the catch is that you put this in your journal as well. If you don't, you don't get anything.
28 April 2008 @ 02:40 am
Silvery strands of sterling
climax into claws clutching
a single drop of
cloudless, dusky sky;

She is the halo of my hand,
Struck by the morning light
Gleams only for a moment:
White light on the hue of forget-me-nots.
She came from the Jewel Tea man,
a door-to-door peddler of the northern wastes;
He sold Mildred tea and sheets,
knick-knacks and that one cerulean ring.

She lived in Houghton, then SUNY,
Content upon on my mother’s hand
Until my mother met a man,
Who replaced her sapphire with a brighter bauble.

For thirty years, she endured in a box.
after eighteen, she rattled her way
To a southern land, lost in a forgotten coffer
buried in our maroon minivan.

From Wickman, to Spencer, to Cook,
She has traveled through the years and
Voyaged hundreds of miles
To finally rest upon my finger.

She secures me to them:
Mildred and Marion and Mom.
The gleaming Queensnake coiled about my
digit—consuming herself without end,
Binds me to my family tree.
28 April 2008 @ 02:34 am
Seasonal Affective Disorder

I kept the windows down
To feel the sting of cold air
To smell fresh-cut Christmas trees
And wood smoke from chimneys.
Winter always hurts us,
Dries us out like violets
Pressed between the pages
of Lamentations.
"Stick season is here"
She mourns the green
From August to May
And keeps boxes of light,
To fight this winter sadness.
She spends her days
Cocooned inside, away
from frost and leafless tress.
But in December
I drive everywhere
With opened windows—
I watch the evergreens.
Current Mood: determineddetermined
28 April 2008 @ 02:21 am
I miss those frigid nights—
They creaked, and cracked, and crinkled
With the complaints of all the white oaks,
Dusted with hoarfrost and groaning under
The burden of frozen mist and snow.
I miss those nights when I crawled between
Brushed cotton sheets, so cold that they made
Me shiver and my toes ache.

I miss the quietness of October days
When my mother and I hunted wooly worms
From inside our silver SUV. I miss creeping
Along cracked black roads at 10 miles an hour,
Stopping at each caterpillar to rescue it.
I miss spending afternoons chasing those black
And brown bugs, and feeling their tiny feet
Tickle my palm as I plucked them from the asphalt.
Current Mood: determineddetermined
Your eight brown legs like thread
perched atop my green backpack--
Spider, were you plotting, or lost?

Your name is a lie—
Are you really so reclusive?
You found me here.

Too big to let loose,
You are larger than a quarter.
Fiddle-backed and six-eyed

I almost let you go,
When you scurried into
My bag, and hid. Afraid,

I shook it out,
I sought you out—
Your legs all working

Together had startled me—
You were effortless,
Your steps were too graceful.

When did you wander through
my broken window screen?
I can’t let you live

And live myself,
Without the cold chills
Crawling on my arms.
28 April 2008 @ 01:49 am
The puddles are mirrors today
hanging in dips of ground
shimmering like seas
caught in grimy potholes
that gather along the road’s edge.
The stopping bus shakes
the surface, sending ripples across
the reflection of oak trees and sky,
until oak breaks from sky,
and all is lost, except
the currents of filth and silt,
that swirl inside the depressions.
The bus carries me away,
but behind me, broken surface smoothes.
The puddles are mirrors today,
the puddles are shimmering seas,
they shake and break with the sky.
Current Mood: awakeawake