Festival of Bridges #11 ~ Crossing

We have just moved into Winter Time here in Ireland and it feels like we have crossed  from light into darkness.

It’s at times like this that I find myself turning to poetry as it never fails to serve as a bridge to help me get from one mindset to another.

Red leaves
The Forest of Words

The poem that brought great solace today as the rain poured and the sun seemed to have turned his face away forever was this one:

from What the Light Teaches

Language is the house with lamplight in its windows,
visible across fields. Approaching, you can hear
music; closer, smell
soup, bay leaves, bread – a meal for anyone
who has only his tongue left.
 
It’s a country; home; family
abandoned; burned down; whole lines dead, unmarried.
For those who can’t read their way in the streets,
or in the gestures and faces of strangers,
language is the house to run to;
in wild nights, chased by dogs and other sounds,
when you’ve been lost a long time,
when you have no other place.
 
There are nights in the forest of words
when I panic, every step into the thicker darkness,
the only way out to write myself into a clearing,
which is silence.
Nights in the forest of words
when I’m afraid we won’t hear each other
over clattering branches, over 
both our voices calling.
 
In winter, in the hour
when the sun runs liquid then freezes,
caught in the mantilla of empty trees;
when my heart listens
through the stethoscope of fear,
your voice in my head reminds me
what the light teaches.
Slowly you translate fear into love,
the way the moon’s blood is the sea. 
 
Anne Michaels 
 
(Source: Staying Alive, 2002, edited by Neil Astley, Bloodaxe Books)

Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and I love to write both non-fiction and poetry.

5 thoughts on “Festival of Bridges #11 ~ Crossing”

    1. Hi Andrea, I don’t really know what to say! Poetry is such an intrinsic part of my life mainly because my mother had a passion for it and she and I basically talked in poetry a lot of the time. All I CAN say is that I have yet to be in a situation or mood or whatever that has not already been written about in a ‘perfect’ way by someone somewhere. I love the process of searching for the poem to match my mood or act as an antidote.

      Because of this passion for poetry and after the death of my mother, I set up a poetry thread on Linkedin which is for the sole purpose of sharing published poetry that has special meaning for people. Linkedin isn’t really where one would expect poetry to flourish but the thread is still weaving away after 3 years and is like a little oasis in that noisy space.

      Lot’s to be said for getting hold of a Neil Astley’s books, like Staying Alive, which are great anthologies and couldn’t but grab you.

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