Another from the bunch of ones I sent out for the contest. The last one of the four, actually.
In the Violet Hour
In the violet hour of evening,
When clouds twist their last
Reaching upward and outward
To grasp a waiting eye,
I watch for your face in the dimness,
Back-lit with an orange glow;
Come find me but don’t
Touch my skin with your fire
Your heat and your tenderness
Will be my undoing.
Our lonely quiet demands
To be filled with talk or song,
But we sit here side by side
In the emptiness of the world
Separated by a mere two feet–
A veritable ocean of space
Where sharks glide slowly,
Whipping their angular fins
Agitated by the scent of our fear,
Intent on their prey.
A terrible beauty, to be sure,
Intimidation wars with open awe
But it is not the vessel that captures
My eye across a crowded room,
Or gives solace on long evenings
After long days such as these;
It is that which is within the vessel,
The substance of things hoped for
And the evidence of the unseen:
You wear it well.
Or rather you bear it well,
The weight of the unanswered
And things left unburied in heaps;
Kindly brushing dirt out of my hair
As I rise from damp ground again,
Another corpse from the undertaker.
Unearthing my body takes time,
And you know well my patience
Resembles that of a famished animal
Confronted by a meal.
In spite of my varied defects
Of personality and emotion,
You stand by my side always
Leaping over my distances like puddles,
Rooting through my corpses–
Bloated, pockmarked, and filthy–
To find live creatures among them
Those that thrive on my necrotic tissues.
How can I cherish myself like you do;
Why do you linger?
When, like the animal that dwells within,
I bite at fingers outstretched to me,
Foaming with anger at the presumption
Of offered assistance or perceived pity.
So keep our weary silence sprawled
Between us on this wooden park bench;
Our communications are best held
Without words and without touch.
Our shared glances and the bond we share
Must be enough to sustain us.
Yet how do we feed the hunger inside?
It seems only the dead have voices,
Their songs are dirges, and doleful laments
Dedicated to past struggles ring out.
This cannot be our destiny to sit and wait
For the heat death of the universe,
In mourning for all that we have done,
And all that we have failed to do,
While time ticks slowly onward
Grinding us down to our bones.
This bench is my purgatory since
We are not sinners but I have sinned–
Joyfully, delightedly, merrily transgressed–
Against some idea of a higher power
That belonged to someone else
In another time and a far-off place
And its echoes fall on our deaf ears;
I renounce it and its hold on my life
While we deal out silent phrases
On our faces in the dim.
It will not be borne! I cannot bear
To repeat, to run along the same ground,
To die every night and bury myself
In the comforting earth and forget
Lessons learned each afternoon,
Or happiness I have rejoiced in
With you, dearest muse, and the others
My chosen home and family.
I must cross the ocean, sharks be damned,
To reach back to you at last.
© Bridget Noonan, 2011, 2012.
All four of these poems are ones that I left parts of myself inside. I hope you have enjoyed them.
Sometimes, this sort of thing just happens. A thing which is too real has to be wrapped up in more words than I thought I had. To post it is to display a bit of my deeper feelings, which is …difficult. I have worked very hard to be able to be halfway comfortable feeling vulnerable in any way.
And it is more than a bit silly to be concerned about that now, because I was prepared to have a magazine -which is internationally sold- publish these four works. Then again, most of the people who would read that don’t know me personally.
“What a million filaments.
The peanut-crunching crowd
Shoves in to see
Them unwrap me hand and foot–
The big strip tease.
These are my hands
I may be skin and bone,
Nevertheless, I am the same, identical woman.”
–Lady Lazarus, Sylvia Plath.