The Earth Bride

In 2007, overinspired by Goblin Fruit (the beautiful poetry journal, not Rossetti's sensual poem, but maybe both), I tried to write a poem. The result was, embarrassingly, a Persephone poem in a world that doesn't need yet another one of those, but there's something about the harder tugs on the seasonal wheel that makes Mrs. Hades hard to resist. Until she's as a tenth as ubiquitous as Santa Claus, perhaps no apologies are necessary.

Every year or so I have to get something out of the bottom drawer that holds the notebook that in turn jails the poem, and every year I have a peep to see if perhaps time has smoothed the awkward, obvious phrases. I like to think that sooner or later I will stop cringing at my failure to deliberately repeat into compelling saturation the imagery of "those things what do hang on the ends of ones arms, the ones with the digits and lifelines" without being, uh, too repetitive or using words I can't say out loud well, like "palms." After giving the poem its 2010 look-see, I think I must stop pinning so much responsibility on Time and settle instead for just being pleased that in 2007 I wrote a poem, for funsies.

And so, here is that poem below, in the spirit of the season, because apparently I will never make it better (and, having found another page in the notebook with an earlier version, may only make worse, although that didn't stop me from changing four words and two commas just now as I typed it).

The Earth Bride

When the Earth Bride
slid into his favoured clasp
it was four titan hands
against the curved hips
as bare as the chewed field above,
until his thankless hands alone
lifted her, did not touch the coated water,
and
placed the silent prize of her, dark and unbraided, where
it was four lost hands
pulling like mistresses
that set her to the roots,
each as limp and moist as her Mother's promises
and it was some mean hand,
some eager hand. on the knife
to saw the cold knob,
to hack the dry gnarl into
her two blank hands

Her two careful hands,
as she crushes the sanguine skin,
surrenders the borrowed seeds,
raising one distant finger to
wet her red lips in purple charm
and it is
one lying finger
that decides her eyes with thin stains
as the other hand
crosses its fingers into a knowing fist
and counts to Spring.

08 December 2010 |



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