Saturday, January 10, 2009

FROM "THE SISTER POEMS"



CONNIE


It was you wasn’t it -
who designed my winter games,
who sang in that high sweet voice
in a darkness only we could share,
and who cried for children of clay?


It was you wasn’t it -
who loved the idol of our time,
who tasted animal blood in our food,
who covered her womanhood with
wool so that none could see?


It was you wasn’t it -
who hunted the leopard,
who had lips of greasy white one summer,
who danced in the streets with hair
streaked by magic moonlight?


It was you wasn’t it -
who wouldn’t let the wind slice
my face - cold steel slicing -
and who waited by the gate of
my dream to welcome me home?


It was you wasn’t it -
…who loved me?

31 comments:

Julie said...

I came back over to read your heron poem again, and now I'm so glad I did. Another beautiful poem! That sister connection is indeed a strong one, isn't it? And this is a great tribute to that love and devotion. I especially love the moonlight in the hair and this stanza:

"It was you wasn’t it -
who wouldn’t let the wind slice
my face - cold steel slicing -
and who waited by the gate of
my dream to welcome me home?"

"The gate of my dream" is fantastic. Thank you for sharing this excellent poem.

Karen said...

Your sister series, and this poem, especially, make me think of my sister, too, who shared many of Connie's traits -- designing (nearly all) my games, loving the idol of our time, and wearing greasy white lips.

Sister relationships, I think, are like no other. You capture your sister's personality and your relationship with her perfectly.

trooping with crows said...

I am so emotional reading this. The reader gains real affection for Connie. You invite all to know her in the beauty of these lines.
A tender masterpiece.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Hey Julie - Glad you came back over, too. Yes, the sister connection is a sacred one. I have four sisters...and no brothers. We get together when we can - but we are scattered between PA and SC. Three in VA.

I write in the past tense because I am remembering them when we all still lived together with Mom and Dad - before we were all married and moved away.

Thanks for your coming by and commenting on my poems. It means so much to me. ;)



Karen - Sisterhood is such a strong bond. Sondra may have been around Connie's age...maybe a couple of years younger, I guess. But, back then we were all dancing in the streets - having fun!

I just saw in ELLE magazine that some of the models are wearing white frosted lipstick! It all comes back around.
lol - and thanks!



Trooping with Crows - I appreciate your great comments. It IS an emotional poem, esp. if you know the subject! ;) She really took care of me and we had a lot of fun!
Thanks, Riss - <3

Karen said...

I neglected to mention before how well this photo fits your poem. Your art always complements your poetry (and vice versa). Beautiful gate and beautiful picture of Connie and of the era.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Hi Karen - Thanks a bunch. This gate is down by our pond. I try to match up poems with pics and vice versa...thanks for noticing. ;D

joaquin carvel said...

you make beautiful things.

i really like the use of the first line...the repetition gives is a kind of heartbeat...and it's ambiguity...at first i'm not sure how it's meant, but you bring it skillfully into focus. i also think "who waited by the gate of/
my dream to welcome me home" is fantastic...to me this has a dream-like quality, and that is a perfect coming home...to eyes opening on the last line...wow.

Vesper said...

Wonderful, K., just wonderful! Your poem puts such a beautiful, sad (for the past tense of childhood) and happy (for the tresure of feelings and memories) song in my heart...

The photo is very beautiful...

Scott said...

Wow, I really enjoyed this poem. As usual, I never truly understand the riddle that the words convey, but they are so beautiful to read.

Are you entering in Jason's contest?

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Joaquin - what a very kind and flattering compliment you have paid me - thank you. You always make me feel so appreciated as a poet. I mean that.

Some of my poems are ambiguous - glad to see that the meaning, or the words at least, are poetic enough to carry an idea through. I appreciate your insightful remarks as always. ;) Blessings...



Hi Vesper - I love the way you put things. Thanks so very much! Yes, for me poetry is a sort of diary of life...the comings and goings...the past and present. A sad and happy song - yes, that is life alright. *?*

I really enjoyed your entry in the Clarity contest. Good Luck!



Scott - Much appreciated! Yes, this poem is a little hard to interpret - but so happy you found the words beautiful.

I wanted to enter the contest - but, somehow I just couldn't get a good story line going. I have entered poems in the past, but really wanted to do a flash piece. Is there still time???? LOL

I have been reading and commenting on almost all of the entries - gonna scoot over to see if you entered yet. :P

S.L. Corsua said...

Through your words, I get a strong sense, in Connie's spirit, of a love of freedom, of adventure, tempered by what she does out of love for her family (in this poem, you, her sister). A touching and fitting tribute. ;) Cheers.

Catvibe said...

First, following up on your last post, your daughter's artwork is astoundingly great! You must be very proud. And you do a great job of matching up your images with your poems by the way, it's one of the reasons I love your blog so much. I never had a sister, but had 'sisterly' friends, your tribute poem touches the heart of whimsical childhood and the sentimental memory of those dear ones we shared it with.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

S.L. - thanks so much for your insightful remarks. I have enjoyed writing the "sister poems" so much. Yes, Connie is very devoted to family - then and now. ;)



Hi Cat - Thanks so much - yes, Merissa started out life as an artist. It is innate in her. I knew by the time she was four, that she was talented - she could draw well even then.

You do a fantastic job of matching your poems and artwork, too. I always admire your posts very much!

I have four sisters and no brothers...we all had a special bond when we were still at home and it remains strong today.

I know you have that same type of relationships with a few of your friends that you have mentioned.

Thanks for the great comments and for always making me feel apprecitated. :)

Sarah Hina said...

K, I'm kind of embarrassed because I thought I'd commented on this poem already. I read it through bloglines, but I guess I never made it over. Which is a shame, because it made me cry. That last question, so plaintive and dear, overfilled my heart.

You must have been loved very deeply, and still are. I think anyone who knows you must love you, and your sisters especially. This ode to sisterly camaraderie and girlish mysteries is as lovely as you are.

Things do get muddy with the passage of time. But you remember so vividly, and the emotion swells into the present. I love this one, K.

gel said...

Your sister series is so powerful and poignant, I think of those I've loved and lost beyond my control, even if still alive...

The entire poem sings on many levels; it pulses with your heartbeats.

A sampling-only a sampling- of some lines I especially liked:
"in a darkness only we could share/...cried for children of clay?"

and the references to the 60's or is it 70's?
"who had lips of greasy white one summer"

Love the protection lines: "who wouldn't let the wind slice/who waited by the gate of my dream"

Rick said...

You know, K. Lawsen, I quit buying poetry collections and just come to visit you instead. I have come to value poems equally with those of Neruda. I imagine if you and Whitman had traveled the country together, we would have seen a wonderful interplay of styles.

Billy said...

Beautiful, lyrical work on this one. It manages to be primordial and gentle at the same time. Excellent!

Bob said...

Thank you for visiting my blog today, and for your kind words... no, my dog hasn't passed, tho I've had a rough year, had to move and leave her behind... so it's been difficult for me... but thank you again for your comments on my poems, and please feel free to add me, I would appreciate that... and now I have discovered your site as well, and must read up! Tho already I'm charmed, I love the title, "Old Mossy Moon"... take care - Robert

Bob said...

Beautiful! The imagery is so strong and unique... a wonderful description of personal history and love.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Sarah - Please don't be embarrassed - you have been really busy, so don't you worry about a thing. I was slow getting around to comment, too. We were both busy reading all the entries over at Jason's...I am still reading them!

But, thank you, as always, for your very kind and sensitive remarks. You really don't miss anything in your understanding of my poetry. I am glad that this reached you on a deep level.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Gel - I always look forward to your discerning comments. You bring certain lines or thoughts into sharp focus. Elements that I think may be too ambiguous never really are for you. Thanks, my friend.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hi Rick, Wow...That is an extremely nice compliment! Thank you so much. Just to be mentioned in the same sentence with Pablo Neruda is heady stuff!

And - oh, how I wish I could have traveled with Walt...or rode with him on the ferry over in Camden. What conversations could have unfolded!

Thank you, my friend, and stay warm in Detroit - or are you traveling?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Billy - Many thanks for your keen observations. I had many emotions with this one that I tried to express...thanks for picking up on that. Love your last post so much! It is a joy to read.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Bob - You are so very welcome for the visit. Your poems are just breathtaking. I really enjoyed perusing your blogsite. I will visit there often, you can be assured of that.

I am glad you stopped by OMM. I appreciate your lovely comments so much. Please come by often.

I truly hope things start to turn around for you in a positive way, Bob. :)

laughingwolf said...

super write, klg...

i miss my sis, still... going on seven years since cancer claimed her :'(

Catvibe said...

K. I just wanted to let you know that your piece made it into my top 5. I simply could not get the image of the bleeding heart tatoo out of my mind! It didn't really surprise me that two of my blogging sisters made my top 5 list, Vesper being the other, because I really love your writing! I also want to thank you for seeing you in pretty much every single comment section. An extremely worthwhile effort!

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Hi, Laughing Wolf - I am so sorry to read that your sister passed away from cancer. No matter how long it has been since our loved ones leave us, we miss them like it was yesterday...sometimes the longer it has been - the harder!
I HATE cancer!!!!!!!!!!


I appreciate your kind remarks here. It is always good to see that you have stopped in. Hope you are staying warm on these frigid days!!

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Catvibe - I really appreciate your support. It means so much to me. I am glad you liked the story.

I wasn't wild about it...but I had writer's block that whole week. I wrote it on the last day and got it in just under the wire!! Argh!!

I did try to get around to all the entries...but ran out of steam. I will still get to those, hopefully. I know you commented on most of them too. I didn't vote yet, but, will tomorrow. I know you will be in my top 5, as well. Your story had such a distinctive voice - very strong and honest with emotion!
Thanks again, Cat! ;)

Lena said...

the last 2 lines are the perfect ending to the poem. just wonderful, so full of emotions. Loved it from the first word till the last syllable.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Lena - Welcome to OMM. Those last two lines were added as an after thought...yet, many people have commented on them as pulling the whole poem together. I am so happy I had an after thought!! ;)

Many thanks for your kind comments. I hope you will visit again, soon.

laughingwolf said...

thx klg... and your kind words on my first flash 55 :)

we had a nasty dump of about a foot of snow, sunday... then buckets of rain today, making a mess, and nearly 50F... back to below freezing tonite

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

LW - you bet.

And that flash was just awesome, my friend!

Yeah - we have had cruddy weather here for the past couple of weeks. Not as bad as you have had, however. Sounds like a sloppy mess. Hurry spring.

Thanks for checkin' in *?*

gel said...

Thank you, K. I have to reign myself in from analyzing too much in my comments on blogs, so as not to turn off anyone. (It's partly the teacher in me...and moreso my overactive mind!) Your writing inspires me to think of ideas that often may not be there, but the fact that your words evoke the "thinking gene" in me, is a compliment to you.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Gel - what a lovely thing to say! For a poet, being inspiration for deeper thinking - is really what it is all about!

I welcome as much insight, and as long a comment, as you care to write. We teachers always have a lot to say - and that's a good thing. ;O Thanks, Gel!

Aine said...

Phew! I'm finally back...visiting my favorite blogs. And what a treat I find here!

I am visualizing what a beautiful collage these sister poems and accompanying artwork/photos would make. Such an amazing gift it would be for your sisters! Have you considered doing anything with this poetry for them?

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Aine - Thanks - Glad you are back, too. Yes, my sisters have copies, of course, but the sister poems have not been published. Hoping to include them in a chapbook in the near future. ;)