Sunday, January 24, 2010

Try, Part II

Back in November when we were still on the island, I wrote a post called Try about taking a leap of faith, about teaching, about poetry, and about failure.  I reread it tonight, and realized that I had never shown you the poem I mentioned in that post.  In fact, even though I am a poet by training and trade, I almost never post my poetry on The Magpie's Fancy.  Thought I'd post this one tonight just for the heck of it.  I wrote it after watching the Leonids meteor shower.  I won't explain it, because I hate when poets do that, but I will say that it's meant to be read aloud.  That first sentence is long and breathless because the speaker is completely overwhelmed with her thoughts.

When I write poetry or fiction, I love to imagine a speaker or character, and just let myself climb inside her mind and heart.  Please feel free to do the same.  

The Leonids
Meteor Shower, Peaks Island, Maine, November 17, 2009

How could we little heathens
have known
that the gods check their watches, 
that the skies over beaches
and horizons 
and channel crossings
where fishes know the old
rock formations carved by the glaciers
by heart--
how could we believe
that those skies
could flash
a matchstick’s scratch
and streams of fire
could rain down 
just like the old woodcuts
in bibles, the end of days?
Only, these sparks 
flying from Leo’s mane
don’t fall for us;
Christ, we nearly missed them,
so bleary from late shows 
and facebook, wrapped
in the worn quilts and scarves I knitted 
on insomniac nights long past.  

What can we make of this?  What 
can we enact, predict?
We gaze.  Stars require that.
Our necks tense.
Out in the channel, 
the markers flash like beer signs;
behind us the city is an odalisque,
a siren luring our eyes 
back to the horizon.
Treachery is everywhere.
Just south, Ram Island’s light
winks, jealous Ares, old
and endlessly erect--
does he ever grow tired
of protecting?  Even his lantern 
is weak, its power on loan
from Apollo.  How could he 
ever hope to compete?
In the end, he and the siren 
are no match for the streaks
of green and gold
that catch us, hold us cold
until their end, 
on the porch
alone in November 
beside the storm’s brink, 
on the edge of a waning crescent, 
waiting for the next
tiny speck
of the universe to fall
whether we blink
or not,
whether we ever
even look at all.


  1. Oh my heart...

    Stunning. And so, so beautiful, Gigi.

    It gave me goosebumps.

  2. How well you've carried off the juxtaposition of the late shows and facebook with what's much mightier.

  3. It's really beautiful to read aloud, though I tried to imagine you reading it to me.

    I so admire you being able to use words as you do, and for sharing them with us.

  4. Beautiful, Gigi.
    That one isn't in the book that you sent me. You have such a wonderful style. It flows so beautifully.
    I guess we all have inspiration around us but, some of us, like you, turn it into something as beautiful as this poem. XXXX

  5. I feel like I was there, watching it with her...with the woman telling the poem...with you, I guess!
    Thank you for using the word's so beautiful.

  6. But this is beautiful, Gigi! You should post more! You're a wonderful writer. I love the breathlessness and the way the words fill up the chest, the way excitement or anticipation does when it waxes full in the heart. Just spectacular.

  7. Thanks, my friends. I usually publish my poems in fusty academic journals that I think, honestly, about two people read. Putting a poem here is much more fun; it means brilliant, creative people like you will read it. What a blessing. xo

  8. Gigi - your poem is so very beautiful. Please promise us that you'll start posting more of your wonderful words. Leigh

  9. I find that I have to read all poetry out loud to really get it...Oh I think your poetry needs to be shared with the world!...I love your imagery...I love your cadence...

    Thank-you for sharing this with us...

    This reminds me of a time long ago when I took a road trip with friends to Maine...camping out at an abandoned picnic site we each stretched out on a table and watched an aurora borealis...we didn't know what it was at the time...we were lucky we got out of the camper and looked up at the skies...the aurora would have happened without us...


  10. Oh...breathless am I. I've played with bits of poetry, read some good and some bad...this is art.


  11. Thanks, lovelies! You are so generous. Oh, and Oliag, I wish I'd seen the aurora; what a sight!

  12. beautiful. i tried to imagine what you were seeing at the moment and it captivated me.

    i always have good intentions with staying up but somehow never do - i think it's because where i can go see them is just not scenic.

  13. Simply stunning! I had my 10 year old read it to us as we sat in front of the fire tonight. We all loved it so! Please, post more.

  14. Wow, Gigi....I could really feel that poem with all my being and the goosebumps were in very beautiful!! xxoo

  15. "waiting for the next
    tiny speck
    of the universe to fall"

    This was a thrill and a treat, Gigi... You must share your poetry here more often! I was giddy with wonderment the whole time reading. You give us such a great sense of space, time, and one with the universe... BEAUTIFUL! :o) ((HUGS))

  16. Intriguing Gigi!
    This might be weird, but I love the smell of matchsticks & the sound of matchstick’s scratch!
    You are so gifted~
    xo & thanks for your kind words as well!

  17. I love that smell and sound, too, Lenore. When I was a kid, I'd light match after match and let them burn down in an ashtray. It's a wonder I never became a smoker! ; )

    Thanks, everyone, for your incredibly wonderful comments. xo

  18. Lovely, Gigi, thanks for sharing it with us.

  19. deep sigh for beauty. these words are such a gift.

  20. "...wether we ever even look at all." leaves me staring up into the heavens......what a gift....thank you, my dear one.....

    love to you,

  21. With a chocolate ginger fudge melting in my mouth (remnants of that recent trip) and a warm fire burning I read your beautiful poem out loud and find myself with goose bumps... stunning..;

  22. I keep coming back to this post. I'm looking for the perfect words to respond to this post. I haven't found them yet. All I keep thinking is, D*@&, girl, you can write!

  23. Gigi, you need to post more of your poetry! I loved this! Thanks for sharing!

  24. This is really wonderful to read aloud, you need to send a more of your poetry, really i appreciated this post. thanks for the nice sharing.


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