Saturday, February 6, 2010

Bedside



Tomato soup,
blood smooth,
rounds a spoon
like dewdrops
clung to a
spider's web,
upon the
seventh dawn

And baroque notes
kneel on
the windowsill
like votives
called to pray,
as her arm
stretches distance
at cost of speed,
in a draw against
cold gravity

The red sea
flows swiftly
through parched
and parted mouth,
dark eyes hold
tide with hers,
she nods but once,
his head falls slack,
and she draws
a breath
for two

Peeling the
sour cloth
from his breast,
she dabs it
along his chin,
taking the
savory basil
from his lips,
where kisses
once stood
like flames

And as the music
surrenders its glow
from someplace
lost below,
she hears
a darkness
start to scrape,
like branches
on windowpanes
at the turn of
some wayward
storm

So she speaks to him
of simpler times,
recites his favorite lines,
while spooning
more warmth
between those lips
as a small,
imperfect
act of faith

That fate
might bleed
some other
day
and leave the
night
alone

15 comments:

Karen said...

Oh, Sarah! Would that she had staunched that tide and saved the world its loss!

I love this. It hold the fullness of grief in the simple act of nourishing.

He was my first love, you know!

Sarah Hina said...

Karen, I felt a little sheepish writing this, as I'm not confident attempting a more formal poetry style. So your words are especially kind here.

You know, I was very moved by "Bright Star" (the only movie I can think of that had me crying over the beautiful credits!), and I love Keats' work, but I have to admit that I used this drawing of him because I couldn't find another "deathbed" representation that I liked so well.

But how I wish Fanny could have been by his side, instead of those miles of darkness away.

Karen said...

Discussing Keats with you brings back a memory to me -- when we were girls, KLG and I would cut poetry class to sit on the hillside and discuss poetry. Then we'd go ace every test they gave us! We were romantics in love with Romanticism! How long ago!

Sarah Hina said...

Do either of you have any photos of the two of you together, Karen? I would give anything to see them, as I loved this memory!

You're both still romantics. Only now, you could discuss your own poetry, too. :)

David Cranmer said...

Damn, you're good. It's perfect with "stretches distance
at cost of speed" jumping at me as a highlight.

the walking man said...

The gentle soul perseveres in the face of darkness turning gentle to strength and tears to understanding.
It is a wonderful piece of communication of lasting endurance you have placed on the table Sarah.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

And, yet, ever with his head pillowed on his true love's breast, he could not be as steadfast as that star. But, like a thing of beauty - he is a joy forever, and could never pass into nothingness!

"...And baroque notes
kneel on
the windowsill
like votives
called to pray,..."

Every line of this verse is rich and endowed with a sweet futility.

Lovely flow of rhythm and assonance, with repetition of "s" throughout, not only adding to the readibility and poetic form - but also suggestive of a hiss sound, a flame being extinguished in the rains of a wayward storm.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

HA! I just read Karen's recollections of our days in college! Most students skipped class to go to the beer joint across the street. (name escapes me) We skipped class to talk about poetry or literature in the way we wanted to discuss it! We weren't being egotistical - but, we wanted to discuss Keats, and other poets and their works, the way we saw it. Oh, and then AFTER the test - we would go across the street. Is that how you remember it Karen??? ;) Thanks for letting us reminisce a little here, Sarah! :)

Karen said...

That's the way it was! And, no, Sarah, no pics - only in the mind's eye.

Sarah Hina said...

David, you're too good to me! Thank you so much for pointing out that line. I had to tinker with it for awhile.


Mark, I'm so glad you used the word endurance. That's what I felt while writing it. How the most simple act could be filled with all the love we can bear. Thanks so much for your kindness here. I'm honored that it touched you.


Kaye, I always appreciate your sensitivity and perceptiveness of the written word. I didn't consider the "s" sound repetitions while writing it, but I love that you made that leap. Sometimes, a reader makes us see things in a different, more beautiful light.

Sweet futility brings so much sadness with it, yet so much nobility, too.

And I've so enjoyed your and Karen's reminisces! I would dearly love to hear more of your memories. If we all lived close enough, I'd like to reenact this one with the two of you! :) What a treasure it is to find such a kindred spirit at that age (or any age, really).


Karen, I can picture it there, too. Just checking to see if I could hit you two up for a blog photo/story hour! :)

catvibe said...

As I was reading this, I was wondering if it was related to Bright Star. ;-) Because the power went out, I haven't watched it yet.

How lovely and lyrical this moves and so utterly sad and heart rending.

'where kisses stood like flames', just heartbreaking.

'baroque notes kneel on the windowsill' you have a way with words that evokes a feel of an era, and not even the era of the music you refer to. I read that and felt all Victorian. :-) Magical and gorgeous.

Aniket said...

Karen and Kaye are college mates? Whoa! 2 great poets in one college. Must be one hell of a great college.

It feels so movie like. Wow! I just hope I stay in touch with at least one of my friends for so long to share stories(and poems) with. :D

Coming back to the poem (Sorry Sarah, the Karen-Kaye story sort of stole your thunder. :D) I love how you describe the kisses in your pieces. I know guys are not supposed to go by law, but they put me in a trance.

Though in the words of Karen, it showed the 'fullness of grief' it still is as beautiful as it can be.

Now, why have I not heard of this Bright Star thing. I hate it when I sound stupid. Google - here I come.

Nevine said...

There's an almost mechanical quality to the way this reads for me, Sarah. It's almost like reading the feelings of an automaton that suddenly has feelings... if you know what I mean. I so enjoyed that aspect of it, and the deep silence that accompanies these final acts of worship. It is the silence that comes from the inside out, in those moments that we know will not last long, but that feel like they will cling to our sleeves forever and ever. Moving and profound!

Nevine

joaquin carvel said...

so many great (& right) comments already - i am with "the fullness of grief in the simple act of nourishing" - and "sweet futility" - for both parties - and the steady pace of it - i feel a whole life is being measured out spoonful by spoonful. full circle.

and i love "a small,
imperfect
act of faith" - i think that's what defines us, as much as anything. beautiful.

Sarah Hina said...

Cat, I really hope you enjoyed "Bright Star!" :) Thank you, always, for warming me with your lovely words.

And Victorian sounds good to me. I pictured a family member playing a piano downstairs. How comforting that calm, even music might be, yet how distant, too.


Aniket, I knew that Kaye and Karen had gone to school together, but I loved hearing more details of their experiences together!

Thanks for the comment about my kiss descriptions. Nothing could be more important to get right, eh? :)

And I hope you did learn more about the movie. It's well worth your time!


Nevine, I love the way you describe these moments, as "clinging to our sleeves forever and ever." That's perfect, and it's how I felt while writing it. That each action, and sensation, was filled with the weight of a lifetime. Her mechanical motions an engine pushing for two.

Your keen perceptions, and ability to get inside a poem or story, is deeply appreciated, Nevine. Thank you.


Joaquin, I'm often tempted to just comment "What Joaquin said" if I come late to a post. Or, "What Karen said." Or..."all of the above." :) I'm lucky in my friends.

You're right about coming full circle. In my mind, she was attempting to give him back the lifeblood he'd lost. It doesn't get any more perfectly imperfect than that, in my mind.

Thank you so much for your understanding here.