Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Melting

This week's Poetry Thursday assignment was to focus on poetry related to some intense personal experience. Well it just so happens that I had just this type of poem sitting around waiting to be visited again. I don't want to say a whole lot about the poem except that is was triggered by my father's death but that is not really what the poem is about; nor is it really about some sort of reconciliation but more about an unexpected penetration to a secret.

The Melting

Going over Niagara and looking down
I think there should be snow
Not mud as Kansas at this time of year.
Then come the long lakes splayed out
Their marshes waiting for red wings,
Lakes still deep, mammoth cold.

Going over Niagara comes to mind
My first trip home the other week
With my sister to the hospital to see you.
You frown at us through the mask,
Point to me and whisper to her.
Who is this; is this Christine?

And I spin around this unrecognition,
Wrap reassurances around each other:
He has been through a lot,
Rough day just off the ventilator;
Confused by the medicines.
Our eyes stray to the vitals and the doctor
Is confident, no brain damage.

But maybe he is really going right
To the point of what I am,
For so long hidden by a certainty
That I could see all of myself like a model landscape
Of frozen solder scented plastic
Where I could rearrange the wire branched trees
And reorder the trusses and flip trains
From one to another track.

All that gone now, the land
Rebuilding itself from underneath
Only the slightest hint on the surface.

Going home to you for the last time
I feel my landscape opening up,
Filling with red wings in my breast.
And I look out; snow is falling.
Your snow, my marshes and I think
To the music I will sing at your Mass,
My ears filling with screes and chirrups
From the bird's golden throats.

Copyright 2006 © Paul Decelles

This week's poetry Thursday link.

Update! A discussion of audio files and a link to the audio version of "The Melting" is here.

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