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Three summers ago I can barely remember
where my body was. Certainly, the mind was
someplace else, lost in dreams and fire
and the sooty afterburn of whiskey shared
between strangers and sometimes-friends,
the kind who you see only twice a year, maybe
three if coincidence pulls you solemnly together.
I often believed I could swim further and further
from the coast. I often thought the tides
were my own prayers for release and laughter,
my tears swelling with the pregnant moon,
my devotion a circling seagull ready to dive
at the merest mention of a fish-tail in obvious strife.
Today, I know the meaning of quiet. Today,
all is serenity, tired, yet bubbling at the thought
of another year escaping shadows.
Too many have said I breathe quicksilver clarity.
I could agree. I'm merely shells and bones
and a single note, a clarion, if you believe.
Tell me that this island is a place
to get away from all this smoke. To be replaced
by a different kind, the more fruitful, earthy type.
Kindling, paper balls mashed up by dirty fingers.
A flame to keep the mosquitos at bay.
A smile and strum on a guitar. I will be this
in a few nights' time, upon a rock, I would think,
staring and singing of past and future light.
This place will be about mermaids and pirates,
of the recklessness and excitement which I've
nearly forgotten. This city is filled with too many
anxious people, too hurried, too everything
I've thrown away, given freely. But they say,
"Go find yourself another day where one's needs
will be answered faithfully. Beyond roads and billboards,
beyond placid gardens filled with perfect roses."
You might think I have the strength to wait patiently
in my bower of solitude. How much you'll be mistaken
when I finally let go of the fire I've stoked these past
twelve months. Spent on furious foolishness alike,
given without breath or thought at what may happen
if I were to just sit down. Unfurl my hair. Adopt
the lotus position. Clear my sight of everything
unneeded. Pray, shimmer and sway: this will be
my mantra. Delusion and derision a bitter tale
we'd both best forget. Dystopia and disillusion
a ferry trip away. All of this, forgiven.
All of this, a new day to paint
| I admired the clarity and cohesion of this. It's spiced with personal observations and some nice internal rhymes but carried by the detail of oneness with nature and a speaker in tune with themselves. You struck a lovely balance between internal conflict and hopefulness|
and I liked how if even for a while the clock is set back and the goodness of youth wins the day.
|| Posted on 2009-02-13 00:00:00 | by Daniel Barlow | [ Reply to This ] || .. this is lovely. i feel so much better for my own escape|
on and under a turquoise ocean.
i wish you only good things for 2009 .... though you often write exceptionally well when you get rattled !
|| Posted on 2008-12-30 00:00:00 | by Alter idem | [ Reply to This ] || There is no doubt that society is a wreck right now. So many people are afraid and not living in the present. It wears on us and your escape sounds like the perfect ticket.|
so will you share your new work with us?
haha, I knew it, have a great time,
|| Posted on 2008-12-26 00:00:00 | by nansofast | [ Reply to This ] || quicksilver indeed. breathtaking :)|
'maybe three if coincidence pulls you solemnly together.'
i just love that line! love it. perhaps, when i pull my finger out and actually start writing something of depth and meaning, i will offer more useful comments
for now though, dear j;
you are the very bestest!
|| Posted on 2008-12-25 00:00:00 | by biska | [ Reply to This ] || Great Barrier Island? A Kiwi poet??!! Yes, had to be. This poem is too good to have been written by anybody other than an Antipodean. You never know what you come across on this website. I was trawling along looking for something to comment on and finding only teenage angst and religious crap and sometimes a nauseating blend of both, and then I come across your poem entitled, "This Christmas Eve". Not another disillusioned religious nutter, I thought, but no. I find a wonderful poem of life and realism. A gem in a desert of sand.|
You show great sophistication in your choice of words. This poem has subtle poetics, lots of alliteration, but none of it intrusive. A nice balance and flow to your sentences achieving a natural rhythm. This is good stuff and I am pleased to have come across you.
Kia ora and arohanui!
|| Posted on 2008-12-25 00:00:00 | by hanuman | [ Reply to This ] || Try to avoid that "sooty afterburn," more could lead to a "crash and burn." How does that song go "Sometimes you're the windshield (er, sorry, windscreen) Sometimes you're the bug?" Youth lends itself to invincible feelings, maturity to appreciation of the mundane. It's not growing old, it's mellowing the chaos, choosing your pleasures, finding your own sense of happiness.|
Some brilliant imagery here: The aforementioned "sooty afterburn," the sometimes-friends," I know that gang, the "tides were my own prayers." highly original, "my tears swelling with the pregnant moon," and "escaping shadows."
I found this to be a clever reflection, one that to me said a step had been taken toward self-assurance, toward maturity if I may repeat. It felt as though certain things were now to be left behind and a new outlook on life would follow. A highly enjoyable poem, a picture in the mind poet put onto paper (video screen).
Escape, from the rat race, at a "pristine island." C'mon man you're making me cringe (with jealousy), Cristmas is supposed to be sloshing through a few feet of snow, slipping on the ice, dropping presents (in the snow) off at the homes of friends and relatives. Right now, work, is my Great Barrier. Enough all ready, Phil, say something about the poem.
I see a reflection on something (or someone) left undone, unfinished, and a resolution to right that situation,"a new day to paint with flames.: I see a new attitude, a different outlook on life, less flamboyant, more realistic, more appreciative, "let go of the fire I've stoked these past twelve months." There is also a disdain for the perpetual rush towards 'success,' "too many anxious people."
I guess it's the feeling that the "pristine island"
will wash clear many things from the mind of the poet.
So what can I say about how you delivered all these thoughts; the words and images are clear enough, feel sincere, heartfelt, real, as they should, the images are colorful, original, certainly influenced by locale (so to me they're unique, to a fellow New Zealander, perhaps not so much) and there's an air of the surreal, "mermaids and pirates," "lotus position," "bower of solitude," "dystopia." And a sense of longing "a ferry ride away."
A clear mind, a stout heart, and a sense of purpose, nearly always wins the girl.
Good luck, and once again enjoy the Holidays......... you lucky Ba@#$%&d.
|| Posted on 2008-12-24 00:00:00 | by phil askew | [ Reply to This ] |