Untitled XIX

Fissures come from earthquakes
and it was an earth quaking
my earth trembling first
then undulating to his force.
Earth resists – that’s why it breaks –
and I said no [I said no]
until I stopped
because I was so very empty
from the last quake
and he was filling me.
I fissured with his taking
pale earth crumbling, splitting
red bands of hidden dirt
shaken free.
His waves moved through the earth
and then subsided, rumbling,
and I am left,

Poem by Annie Jadin, speakingvoiceless.wordpress.com.

Untitled XVIII


The voice of the wind is nameless
here it rips tears through sagebrush
and its rush against rock is the sound
of fine sandpaper on soft wood
“shh-shushhhh” it whisper-roars
in long syllables cut
off abruptly at the end of the desert’s breath.

Poem by Annie Jadin, speakingvoiceless.wordpress.com.

Untitled XVII

I wore a sparkly skirt today.
A female colleague says she likes it,
says, “that’s how you get guys
because they notice your butt.”
I am silent.

Let me paint a scene:
a lecture hall, packed
with my department, 100 people,
and two legends in our field about to speak.
I wore a sparkly skirt today.
A female colleague likes it,
says, “that’s how you get guys
because they notice your butt.”
I am silent.
I am silent.

Poem by Annie Jadin, speakingvoiceless.wordpress.com.

Inspiration: Czeslaw Milosz

Rivers Grow Small

Rivers grow small. Cities grow small. And splendid gardens
show what we did not see there before: crippled leaves and dust.
When for the first time I swam across the lake
it seemed immense, had I gone there these days
it would have been a shaving bowl
between post-glacial rocks and junipers.
The forest near the village of Halina once was for me primeval,
smelling of the last but recently killed bear,
though a ploughed field was visible through the pines.
What was individual becomes a variety of a general pattern.
Consciousness even in my sleep changes primary colors.
The features of my face melt like a wax doll in the fire.
And who can consent to see in the mirror the mere face of man?

From New and Collected Poems (1931-2001) Harper Collins Publishers 2003.

Sevenling: Blue sweater

These are a blue sweater,
horn-rimmed glasses, forgotten
ink-smudged fingers.

She is bright,
rose petal soft, quivering
adjusting her shirt,

covering black traces of touch.

A Sevenling for today’s prompt on dVerse: http://dversepoets.com/2016/04/07/dverse-meeting-the-bar-the-sevenling-form/. Go check out the other contributions!

Poem by Annie Jadin, speakingvoiceless.wordpress.com.

Inspiration: Czeslaw Milosz

A Frivolous Conversation

-My past is a stupid butterfly’s overseas voyage.
My future is a garden where a cook cuts the throat of a rooster.
What do I have, with all my pain and rebellion?

-Take a moment, just one, and when its fine shell,
Two joined palms, slowly opens
What do you see?

-A pearl, a second.

-Inside a second, a pearl, in that star saved from time,
What do you see when the wind of mutability ceases?

-The earth, the sky, and the sea, richly cargoed ships,
Spring mornings full of dew and faraway princedoms.
At marvels displayed in tranquil glory
I look and do not desire for I am content.

Published in King Popiel and Other Poems 1962.

Driving through Texas on the second day of the new year

Spanish moss hangs greybearded
and dripping in a Texas coastal rain
lending wisdom to live oaks

tired, not just their beards but even
branches sighing towards the earth.
A pale blue house gels through fog,

rain-blurred pixels crisping into
paint-peeling siding and faded white
window trim with a wraparound porch.

This porch needs a live oak chair
and greybeard wagging, somewhere nearby
echoes of laughter and children racing

through the wraparound. But the house
dissolves in mist as I am watching and a
pale blue warehouse runs beside the

highway, forward along the highway,
through the great stumps and smooth-planed
grass. There are no greybeards anymore.

Poem by Annie Jadin, speakingvoiceless.wordpress.com.

Inspiration: Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Love’s Blindness
By Samuel Taylor Coleridge

I have heard of reasons manifold
Why love must needs be blind,
But this the best of all I hold, –
His eyes are in his mind.
What outward form and feature are
He guesseth but in part;
But what within is good and fair
He seeth with the heart.

Published in Love is a Poem (1962), an obscure anthology published by Peter Pauper Press I found in my in-laws’ house over the holidays.

Inspiration: John Suckling

Send Back My Heart
By John Suckling

I prythee send me back my heart,
Since I can not have thine:
For if from yours you will not part,
Why then should’st thou have mine?

Yet now I think on’t, let it lie;
To find it were in vain,
For thou’st a thief in either eye
Would steal it back again.

Why should two hearts in one breast lie,
And yet not lodge together?
Oh Love! where is thy sympathy,
If thus our breasts thou sever?

But love is such a mystery,
I cannot find it out:
For when I think I’m best resolved,
I then am in most doubt.

Then farewell care, and farewell woe,
I will not longer pine;
For I’ll believe I have her heart
As much as she has mine.

Published in Love is a Poem (1962), an obscure anthology published by Peter Pauper Press I found in my in-laws’ house over the holidays. I’d never heard of John Suckling but I enjoyed the simple meter of this poem and the willful delusion at the end.

Inspiration: Amy Lowell

By Amy Lowell

I walk down the garden paths,
And all the daffodils
Are blowing, and the bright blue squills.
I walk down the patterned garden paths
In my stiff, brocaded gown.
With my powdered hair and jewelled fan,
I too am a rare
Pattern. As I wander down
The garden paths.

My dress is richly figured,
And the train
Makes a pink and silver stain
On the gravel, and the thrift
Of the borders.
Just a plate of current fashion,
Tripping by in high-heeled, ribboned shoes.
Not a softness anywhere about me,
Only whale-bone and brocade.
And I sink on a seat in the shade
Of a lime tree. For my passion
Wars against the stiff brocade.
The daffodils and squills
Flutter in the breeze
As they please.
And I weep;
For the lime tree is in blossom
And one small flower has dropped upon my bosom.

And the splashing of waterdrops
In the marble fountain
Comes down the garden paths.
The dripping never stops.
Underneath my stiffened gown
Is the softness of a woman bathing in a marble basin,
A basin in the midst of hedges grown
So thick, she cannot see her lover hiding,
But she guesses he is near,
And the sliding of the water
Seems the stroking of a dear
Hand upon her.
What is Summer in a fine brocaded gown!
I should like to see it lying in a heap upon the ground.
All the pink and silver crumpled up on the ground.

I would be the pink and silver as I ran along the paths,
And he would stumble after,
Bewildered by my laughter.
I should see the sun flashing from his sword-hilt and the buckles on his shoes.
I would choose
To lead him in a maze along the patterned paths,
A bright and laughing maze for my heavy-booted lover,
Till he caught me in the shade,
And the buttons of his waistcoat bruised my body as he clasped me,
Aching, melting, unafraid.
With the shadows of the leaves and the sundrops,
And the plopping of the waterdrops,
All about us in the open afternoon
I am very like to swoon
With the weight of this brocade,
For the sun sifts through the shade.

Underneath the fallen blossom
In my bosom,
Is a letter I have hid.
It was brought to me this morning by a rider from the Duke.
“Madam, we regret to inform you that Lord Hartwell
Died in action Thursday sen’night.”
As I read it in the white, morning sunlight,
The letters squirmed like snakes.
“Any answer, Madam,” said my footman.
“No,” I told him.
“See that the messenger takes some refreshment.
No, no answer.”
And I walked into the garden,
Up and down the patterned paths,
In my stiff, correct brocade.
The blue and yellow flowers stood up proudly in the sun,
Each one.
I stood upright too,
Held rigid to the pattern
By the stiffness of my gown.
Up and down I walked,
Up and down.

In a month he would have been my husband.
In a month, here, underneath this lime,
We would have broke the pattern;
He for me, and I for him,
He as Colonel, I as Lady,
On this shady seat.
He had a whim
That sunlight carried blessing.
And I answered, “It shall be as you have said.”
Now he is dead.

In Summer and in Winter I shall walk
Up and down
The patterned garden paths
In my stiff, brocaded gown.
The squills and daffodils
Will give place to pillared roses, and to asters, and to snow.
I shall go
Up and down,
In my gown.
Gorgeously arrayed,
Boned and stayed.
And the softness of my body will be guarded from embrace
By each button, hook, and lace.
For the man who should loose me is dead,
Fighting with the Duke in Flanders,
In a pattern called a war.
Christ! What are patterns for?

Amy Lowell, “Patterns” from The Complete Poetical Works of Amy Lowell. Copyright 1955 by Houghton Mifflin Company, renewed 1983.