When Thoughts Scatter With The Light

CREPUSCULE DU MATIN

~Amy Lowell

 

“All night I wrestled with a memory

which knocked insurgent

at the gates of thought.

The crumbled wreck of years

behind has wrought

its disillusion. Now I only cry

for peace, for power to forget the lie

which Hope too long

has whispered. So I sought

the sleep which would not come,

And night was fraught

with old emotions weeping silently.

I heard your voice again, and knew the things

which you had promised

proved an empty vaunt.

I felt your clinging hands

while night’s broad wings

cherished our love in darkness.

From the lawn

a sudden, quivering birdnote, like a taunt.

My arms held nothing but the empty dawn.”

Crépuscule_à_Lyon

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At Seeing Nothing Is Lost

SALVAGE

~Liam McKinnon

 

It was a shipwreck at the edge

of the world

on a shore of mud and stones

where the tide pulled out so far,

we thought it would slip off into space

like a rolling sheet slipping from the bed

you never made.

 

We spotted it one summer day

as we climbed the grassy dunes,

tilted on its side like

a decaying whale with

bones of wood and mold

betrayed by the ocean’s unspoken spleen.

 

You called out “Race you there”

and darted down the slopes,

surprising a procession of

mourning gulls who had gathered

in musical lament.

 

I watched you go, moving like unchained passion

in a wild dance with the world

as indigo clouds ballooned on the horizon

and the sea birds you had chased

formed white haloes for you.

 

When the faraway sky split in two and

unleashed a thousand winds

upon us,

you threw your arms up in welcome.

With the rain matting your hair

you flashed a smile at me that

made me wonder

if I could ever make you feel

so alive.

 

In the ship’s rounded hull

the wood had splintered away

to offer a doorway within.

You took a step before taking my hand

and led me into the damp

tunnels of the whale.

 

 

We ascended rotting ladders into

a slanted room with broken

windows that let in sea air and

the sigh of breaking waves.

 

You searched for discarded treasure.

I , for forgotten letters

in hidden drawers

from a stranded sailor to his wife,

who would learn the meaning of forever

waiting on a distant shore.

 

But all we found was sand and feathers,

ruined books and crabs

hiding along the shelves.

You said the jewels and gold

had all been pillaged,

and though the secrets had been erased

it did not mean they were never written.

 

In that room I got to taste salt on your lips

and feel the fragility of your bones

Rock against mine.

To look in your eyes and find a storm

and to learn the love a heart

as free and untamed as yours

had to give.

 

Finally at night, when the rain

settled and the tide returned

to caress our lonely ship and make of us an island,

we climbed up onto deck

to find a map of stars stretched out above us

and swirling galaxies in the mirror below.

 

As you looked up I turned to

watch you

being held in silence,

the pools of your eyes

filling up with that immensity.

 

How many times I tried to

reach you through that space

but your mind remained a sea

of constellations

only you could sail.

 

Way back then, I never thought I

would one day look upon you

like that shipwreck at the edge of the world,

lying on your side, on the shore of existence.

I never prepared myself for the strength it would take to

hold your absence in my arms.

 

How I wish I could so easily

step through your broken hull and

climb ladders into the chamber that held

your soul, to open the drawers

you never showed.

 

Maybe there I’d find a letter

or a scribbled note in a Cola bottle

you had thrown into the sea

to tell her about us and the lives we drew.

 

If I could salvage the thoughts you once had

like untold fables of wonder,

would I ever come across

my name

pressed between the lines?

salvage____a_poem_by_liam_mckinnon_by_seb_m-d8icm8o

Perception vs Reflection – Points Of View

‘Mirror’ is a short, two-stanza poem written by Sylvia Plath in 1961. Composed in the first person, it can be described as free verse, because there is no rhyme, scheme or meter. The personification figure of speech follows throughout, as the mirror takes on human-like qualities by becoming the speaker of the poem. Plath’s composition describes the mirror’s point of view, as it addresses themes of ageing and time, with a woman looking at her reflection in the ‘protagonist’ of the poem.

“I am silver and exact, I have no preconceptions.

Whatever I see I swallow immediately

Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike.

I am not cruel, only truthful –

The eye of a little god, four-cornered.

Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall.

It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long.

I think it is a part of my heart. But it flickers.

Faces and darkness separate us over and over.

 

Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me,

Searching my reaches for what she really is.

Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon.

I see her back, and reflect it faithfully.

She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands.

I am important to her. She comes and goes.

Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness.

In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman

Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.”

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Plath’s writing is a reflection of her emotions at the time she composed ‘Mirror’. She was living with her fellow poet and husband Ted Hughes, and had given birth to their first child. This was a stressful time for her as a new mother and she dreaded the idea of growing old and settling down. As she wrote, “I am afraid of getting older. I am afraid of getting married. Spare me from the relentless cage of routine and rote.” ‘Mirror’ is an exploration of her uncertain self, with her hallmark stamp of powerful language, sharp imagery, dark undertones, and great depth.

By using a mirror and lake to highlight the significance of one’s reflection, Plath brings to attention the obsession with one’s physical features, and the inner turmoil caused as the ageing process picks up it’s pace. Plath’s own struggle with retaining her youth, reflects in her writing which implies the face in the mirror must always stay young – that youth symbolizes beauty and perfection.

Written just two years before the poet’s suicide, ‘Mirror’ contains many autobiographical elements reflective of her state of mind. Though written in 1961, ‘Mirror’ was published ten years after Plath’s death, when it appeared in the book ‘Crossing The River’ which Ted Hughes posthumously got published.

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