Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Communion



Summer is uncertain, my heart,
offering only wet palms
beneath her pale, hunched shoulders,
and an echo of rustling hair
I tease from the pulse of cicadas—

Please
Please

Do they know what they ask?
Or is it the blindness of being
that makes us hunt tea leaves
from a fathomless cup of forest night
that no one wants to see bottomed

Please

And so poetry is our plea,
our stab at a center with no circle,
the tunnel into Fibonacci blossoms
like endless Russian nesting dolls,
a perfectly flawed translation of
things called cicadas
and a place called summer
and the holy human trinity of
earth,
stars,
inconstant
dulcet
moon

We will always be the question,
and its many fleeting answers,
and that is all right with me
if just because it has to be

But please,
please,
let me seek,
and not beg



17 comments:

Catvibe said...

Sarah, I'm swimming in the pool of depths of consciousness you have created here. My favorite stanza:

And so poetry is our plea,
our stab at a center with no circle,
the tunnel into Fibonacci blossoms
like endless Russian nesting dolls,
a perfectly flawed translation of
things called cicadas
and a place called summer
and the holy human trinity of
earth,
stars,
inconstant
dulcet
moon

A tunnel into Fibonacci blossoms, is like a consciousness fractal.

To seek and not beg, so difficult in that desperate search for answers...and why is it that it feels so far away in the summer? What is it in that myth of summer that when we are sitting in it brings the knowledge that it is NOT the answer we are seeking? Perhaps this is why people resort to mint juleps and hammocks at such times. The opposite end of the spectrum, if winter is the going inward of consciousness, than summer is the outer reaches of space and yet they are both the same fractal.

Sigh...

Karen said...

What beautifully expressed sentiments of longing and seeking and pleading for our place.

The poem is verdant with imagery - almost Rousseau-like in some ways. I can almost smell the foliage. The images of vainly hunting the tea leaves, the missing circle, tunneling into the blossoms, and the nesting dolls all beautifully illustrate the flawed nature of the attempt.

The plea of the cicadas along with the poets plea is brilliant, and the entire contradiction of the poem resolves itself in the last two stanzas.

I love the contemplation of poetry and the place of the poet/seeker. It is ALL right, even when we have to ask "please, please." Asking is not begging. Seekers may not find what they believe they have sought, but if they do not seek, they see nothing at all.

Catvibe said...

And I forgot to mention that I love the shot of the elephant ear plant? Is that what it is? The way you captured the drops of water glistening is inspiring.

Karen, your words take me even deeper into this magnificent poem. This poem, Sarah, is going to be with me a while. It is haunting and feels like it is surrounded by space, except for the sound of the cicadas.

Sarah Hina said...

Cat, I really love your musings here. Especially comparing the searches we take in winter and summer. They are born of the same hunger, I think, even if they seem reversed in direction.

To me, summer often feels nostalgic for a time that has never been.

So perhaps the answer is mint juleps and hammocks. And barbecues, too. And, of course, to laugh at our own seriousness with good friends and loved ones. :)

Karen, I completely agree. Thank you so much--that was beautifully stated. And I really appreciate how perceptively you peeled apart the layers of this onion. :)

I think I've reached a place in my life where I'm seeing the truth behind the destinations. And recognizing that truth doesn't kill the desire to reach for something other. This poem, and especially the last stanza, was like a reminder to myself to not seek so hard that I'm willing to chase the illusion of more.

We'll see if I listen well enough. But I do know that I've taken your comment to heart. Thank you, Karen.

Cat, I need to become a gardener!! I don't know what it is, but I loved the diamonds of that beading rain. Too bad I had the focus slightly wrong.

And thank you, dear friend. To be honest, these are the kinds of poems I don't really expect people to pin down. I often don't know what the heck I mean (uh, seriously)! I'm just happy you're willing to swim with me. :)

joaquin carvel said...

this is astounding. "a fathomless cup of forest night" - had to stop there and just drink that in.

i love that uncertainty is not a scary thing in summer - or less scary, anyway - somehow the "poetry is our plea" stanza feels like a rope swing hanging off a tree limb, high above a lake - dicey, foolish, and impossible to walk away from.

i think the title is perfect too - part sacrament, part mystery, part hope - and connection.

jason evans said...

Gorgeously mysterious photo...the green trailing to dark. And then the bright blossom to lift at the end.

Poetry is just ambiguous enough, just enough of a center without a circle, to fully grasp what is not graspable. But just for a moment, before it too slips into the mist and summer humidity.

I like how the poem is begging not to beg. And craving an answer in its celebration of questions.

Aine said...

if just because it has to be

Perhaps communion with the turn of the seasons, allowing for those changes, is an answer. But you have a way of painting uncertainty with such richness and beauty, I almost want you to keep seeking (almost...) ;)

And that first photo! I love it! I can just imagine a luminescent, midsummer fairy making a one toe landing then fluttering away into the shadows.

the walking man said...

Never, ever beg. The answers get lost in the pleadings.

Sarah Hina said...

Joaquin, I really love the comparison to the swing. :) You're right--it's kind of a celebration of our ability to let fly, even if we never really arrive anywhere. The journey is key.

Thank you so much for your comments and appreciation here. Your perspective is a gift.

Jason, thank you for mentioning the photos! I liked the climb from darkness to light, too.

Yes, poetry is as fleeting as our moods and feelings. There's no greater celebration of the moment, in my mind. And that "begging not to beg" is a very apt way of putting it. One of these days, I'll crawl out from under the contradictions. Like a cicada easing from its shell (ew). ;)

Thank you for the warm words. :)

Aine, you make me want to write another poem with your fairy comment. Maybe my daughter and I can work on that together. :)

I probably will always be seeking. Which, like so many things in life, is good and bad. But I really like what you said about acceptance and adaptation.

Thank you for your very kind words, Aine. :) Now you have me thinking of A Midsummer Night's Dream...

Walking Man, I agree. Being on one's knees can be about humility, but not prostration.

the walking man said...

...and let me be the first to hope for 33...no make that 99, more wonder filled years ahead for you. Happy Birthday tomorrow Sarah.

Enjoy the day.

Karen said...

Birthday tomorrow? Happiest, happiest day!

Sarah Hina said...

Mark, I'm completely flummoxed by how you knew, but I truly appreciate the good thoughts and wishes.

99?? You could have split the difference and said 66, and I would have been very pleased.

See, I knew it...you are a dreamer. :)

Karen, thank you!! Now that Mark's let the cat out of the bag (I am a Leo, after all), I'm pondering a birthday post. :D

Jennifer said...

Sarah!! What a day to return (for me) to reading! Summer is uncertain indeed, and this summer of in-laws in particular! ;)

This is gorgeous and prompts (requires?) thinking and rethinking. Do they know what they ask? This has me pondering all pleas, and I wonder if it is a letting off of the hook for the asker, or if it is just a recognition...

"And so poetry is our plea"--I can feel this line, literally, almost with a catch in my throat. How much our art is us and we are it, how everything mingles there, how we hope, like us, it seeks and never begs.

For me, there is something about fall that is full of hope and anticipation. I feel and smell it in the crisp night air. Isn't that odd? It seems backwards somehow when compared to the promise of spring. My best guess is it has something to do with memories of the return to college/law school--the anciticipation of being back in an academic environment, and often reuniting with a special person after a summer apart. ;)

Jennifer said...

Hey, is this your birthday??? If so happy, happy birthday!! :)

Sarah Hina said...

Jennifer!! You granted my birthday wish! Go look at Aniket's Flash Fiction site to see. :D It really is so good to see you again. I'm sorry the in-laws have been stealing you away from us (how dare they??). ;)

Thank you for all your thoughts here. You've traveled the curves of my murky intentions very well. :) I do think there's something innate within us that searches for meaning and connection, and to hear that echo from somewhere else that yes, we do matter.

Fall conjures the same feelings within me. I do love it, but it always comes with a twinge. Seeing the old year fade away, and anticipating winter taking hold. Still, there is nothing like it during those potent few weeks.

Thank you for the b-day wishes, too! :)

Aniket said...

Well sorry for being late. You know the reasons best. But am glad to be here. :)

Everyone has said everything ten folds better than I ever could.

Aine said to me long back that am a seeker. And I was so thrilled to be called so. The hunt always fascinates me and gives purpose to the journey of life. But I guess the trick is to have the right kind of questions to seek the answers for, else one can go into an endless quest full of sadness.

Hope you have the most amusing questions and seek the most exciting answers all your life.

PS: "Fibonacci blossoms" was a master stroke. :D

And somethings never change (thankfully!!) Jen is back scolding me over at my place. :)

Sarah Hina said...

Aniket, it does my heart good to see her back. :)

Thank you for everything you said here, and for the fathoms of birthday wishes!! :D

Did anyone ever tell you that you're much wiser than your years? ;)