poetry critical

online poetry workshop

Blackwell House

Blemish of rain on swollen frames,  
almost invisible
measures another morning,
a ray of light tips the balance
of piled shadows, as their darknesses,
resplendent, nudge a half-visible moon.
What of the dark shape
making its way in the background?
Colossal its head.  Pierced hands,
bent under a pile of knotted tensions,
navigate the blindness.
Here, not transcendent,
I stand before the shaman.
At the bottom-well of memory depositories  
the seer speaks of famine,
leavened and soft.
The flesh of earth receives me again.
Under his hands, a loaf of bread rises,
develops a golden crust,    
steam fogs my glasses -  
for a moment I cannot see.
A pilgrim, I have nothing to share -
the shaman teaches me how to eat,  
how to be generous,
how to break bread without a breach of faith,  
how to withstand time with my mouth.
In the dark, there are objects to touch:
a pine cone reminds of grandsons,  
tobacco and sage faithful to each other
remind of the time we lay on moist earth,  
bodies not denied or chipped away  
by the mortality of these infertile lands,
stone onto stone, roots  
naked, smooth, raging-with,  
of the same mind.

9 Jun 06

Rated 7 (6.4) by 3 users.
Active (3): 1, 10
Inactive (4): 1, 1, 10, 10, 10

(define the words in this poem)
(67 more poems by this author)

(2 users consider this poem a favorite)

Add A Comment:
Enter the following text to post as unknown: captcha


    This is quite lovely, and very evocative.  Richness of image and feeling are your forte, and very much present in this poem.  I love the way the narrative is so subtly woven into the beginning of the poem that as a reader I was unaware of where I was being led.
   I'd only suggest, for readability's sake, that the first stanza be tweaked into a complete sentence; while I like the murkiness of the subject being unclear (either glass or ray of light) is it is just perfect for the miasma evoked, "nudge a half-visible moon" gets left hanging; maybe insert "and" their darknesses,/resplendent, nudge a half-visibile moon."  You do such a wonderful job connecting one line, one thought or idea to another, it seems a shame to feel a need for breaks or punctuation at all, but I feel like a question mark is called for by line 7, "What of the dark shape," and might suggest the end of line 10; line 11 seems the strt of a direct statement.
   Thank you for posting this.  You are lovely, as is this poem.
 — mikkirat

This pulled me in and captured my attention from the start.
I feel like a shadow invading a very private space.
 — unknown

thanks, mikkirat and unknown, I have made some changes which, I hope, help the poem read smoother.

Mickey, thank you for the close read.  You are right about the need to put ends to sentences from time to time, I do tend to overrun my poetry in subordinate clauses and the like, I hope the corrections help this read better.  Thank you, love

unknown, you should not feel like you are invading a very private space, the work of art, once released, becomes property of the public domain (in a way at least) and I am glad I can welcome you in my world, if only for the length of time it takes to read a poem.

Thank you both:
 — slancho

    Excellent revisions; the second stanza reads better with the question mark on line 8 than it would have as I suggested.  This is wonderful as it is, but I've just two remaining micro-edits to suggest: a comma after "piled shadows" in line 5, such that the 'darknesses' nudge the moon, and maybe a full colon at the end of line 22.
   Reading your work is a joy.
 — mikkirat

 — xtormentedx

Mickey, I had the comma in line 5 and something came over me and I deleted it just this afternoon.  I will make the changes, will have to think about line 22 though, I am not sure I want to draw attention to a list.   Thank you for coming back to this, I like your latest as well, Cliff's ...  I have missed you

xtormentedx, thank you for your kind comment

 — slancho

very good, great title. but made love is so blunt. might want to fix that. otherwise i love this. really well housed.
 — listen

oh. hi slancho. great quality as usual. thanks for posting this.
 — listen

listen, thank you for visiting:
I thought "make love" might be too blunt but then, I could not think of a way to fix that without trying to sound too cute or wordy ... but I see your point.  I will see what I can do, thank you so much for your comments
 — slancho

L3 'beholds' archaic, over-weighted
 — unknown

unknown, what other less-archaic word do you suggest?
I quite like what "behold" suggests - seels, be-holds, grasps, reflects and I want to keep all these meanings implied

Thank you for engaging,
 — slancho

I'm afraid I have no alternative suggestion to make Maria.
 — unknown

oh, that is OK unknown
I was thinking of seizes (as in grasps) or lossens (as in releases) or even launches (but there is too much agency in that) or ushers (as in sets forth) but then this latter one has an archaic feel to it as well I suppose.  Hmm, I will think about it but I did want to maintain a reference to seeing and seizing at the same time.  
Maybe that is what I was going for, a bit of an archaic feel and I think it might work alright.  I do hope, however, this stumble does not take away from the poem for you
thank you for revisiting
 — slancho

excellent poem, very moving, I was attracted to it instantly.
 — gjenkins

Lovely indeed
 — unknown

thank you, gjenkins and unknown
the poet
 — slancho

Top Rated (expand)
Newest (expand)
  • Insmonia
  • as religion
  • Ancestral
  • But 14 Lines
  • //after a friday night at Southport//
  • mermaids
  • Intel Inside
  • Diary
  • Drama School
  • A Fight in Traffic
  • Walking Inside a Cave
  • untitled promise
  • Dead Deer, 100 Degree Night
  • Learning to Walk
  • Professionalism (II)
Recently Commented (expand)
  • Insmonia
  • hey baby
  • as religion
  • finally
  • Perfection/Madness/Death (Now "Condensed Trilogy")
  • //after a friday night at Southport//
  • Digital Craft
  • Learning to Walk
  • Morality
  • Visions
  • //for ivan//
  • //at the drug house on van-buren//
  • Intel Inside
  • Dead Deer, 100 Degree Night
  • Broken Up Huddle
Recent Best (expand)
  • 1. //for ivan//
  • 2. //at the drug house on van-buren//
  • 3. \\ Now The Cat's Got No Whiskers \\
  • 4. Dead Deer, 100 Degree Night
  • 5. mark'd
  • 6. Returning Home
  • 7. hank and i press our hands
  • 8. This Is Your Last Chance
  • 9. the impoetic man
  • 10. You Kissed Like a Prostitute
  • 11. From Worthy to Wanton and Not a Bit of Shame
  • 12. Tantric Loom
  • 13. An open letter to my ancestors, circa 874 A.D.
  • 14. on haiku
  • 15. Burn Down Summer