old brown shoes
wonder the eyes that kneel in mud.
wonder the eyes of a moth eatinglight.
or sky and sea as the far albatross
stitches by feather thumbs.
one truth in simple dirt.
one reason for elemental light.
and faith will now including doubt,
climbing into the tree of lies.
notice how light is making you.
illumination, there is dilemma implied.
as much as fingers craft a waterbowl,
misgivings taken as eagerdark. yet
shadow is mere membrane and dance
is swift passage like a breath.
notice how light implies a choice.
defining membrane is
like boundary acting as partition,
me and other. it’s the way we define
is a membrane too.
a convenience of necessity
knowing poison from fruit, and ripe,
if you understand?
said another way, walls are a
requirement for understanding to be.
said another way, no thing is a wall.
consider, there’s a reason why eyes
look outward from the deepbrightnight,
consider old brown shoes
dusty with truth.
neil reid © february 2012
To this particular prompt about global civil rights I had an immediate response actually (no worry that I don’t so much engage in poems civil/political in nature). Great notion I thought, then just as swiftly remembered, oh yea, someone else already wrote that poem – in just the manner I felt my response. Lucille Clifton’s poem “Atlas”, one of the earliest poems that genuinely got my attention and appreciation.
i am used to the heft of it
sitting against my rib…
i have learned to carry it
the way a poor man learns
to carry everything.
Lucille Clifton, from The Book of Light
I used to ride the city bus often in those days. In fact that’s where I read the poem, part of a public literary display on an information banner. I very much felt and identified with that statement. That way also that desert people learn to stand in whatever measure of shadow they can find; where even a few inches is less heat to absorb. Like that too.
Well if you’ve read the prompt as well Donald’s original poem, perhaps you’ll think my response (Lucille’s poem I mean) is already some measure a step aside of words directly to his prompt idea. However, it rings just right and true to me, looks with a different light to the more obvious possibilities.
Long short, then what’s to do for a poem of my own? Here my response, my result, and maybe yea, I’ve taken even one step or two even farther from the obvious but I think I feel there’s a rhythm a hum just inside the linear meanings that comes in its own way to addressing what was asked of us to consider here. (And yes, tangential of me I do suppose. But then sometimes we see best when looking just slightly to the side.)