Monday, June 15, 2009



with me
it’s not the

sweeping me
with their

it’s the ravaging
of the night
the digging

and the
fright and
the animal

sounds that shift
in the cavity
of my skull

like wind
or an endless
throb of thoughts

it’s the sifting
of earth beside
my dream

just there
a wall

where roses
let go their
petals quietly

in a
slight wind
of reverie

at my feet
like concrete

with me
it’s not the

it’s the
absence of

that I hear
so piercingly
at night


trooping with crows said...

Let me be the first (for once!) to say WOW.
Mom, I love the title! (I'm glad I waited to see it here) It is sadly appropriate.
"like wind or an endless throb of thoughts" is just super good! I love the flow of this of this piece.. it's like one single long thought.

it's the
absence of
that I hear
so piercingly
at night ..........(loved the explaination of this line earlier)

Cool poem, Mom. always love when you write a new one. It's like, ok, now this one is in my life and my world. You inspire me.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Merissa - lol, you made it! Glad you like the title. I changed it several times before posting. Usually the title comes to me quickly, but this took several hours. I wanted this to flow in one long slow breath of thought. Glad it came across as such. Thanks for all the sweet words. I feel the same exact way about your paintings...from the waiter with the pizza to Madeleine's portrait (the last finished work?) They make up so much of my world. You inspire me in so many ways everyday! Love to you.

Julie said...

I always turn mental flips when I read good poems. I'm flipping now! I have read this poem over and over, and I am in love with it. Do you send out your work, K? You should! My gosh, this is awesome. I love how you start with the voices, then end with "not the voices." Yes, it flows so beautifully.

And the lines!! I love the succinct lines that say so much. There's also a great rhythm there. I can feel the ticking of a clock. You have made me feel the narrator's uneasiness. The panic of the "truth of things."

The echo of sounds you have going from stanza to stanza is also fantastic. Can I say fan-freaking-tastic? Yeah! Like here:

"it’s the ravaging
of the night
the digging

and the
fright and
the animal"...

"The digging" is perfect. I love it all, dear K. And I love to see your range of work. Excellent!!!

Mairi said...

Great play with sound, from one stanza to the next, as julie points out. Night carried over to fright, shift and sift, quietly and reverie etc. And the voices, and not the voices is very nicely laid out, with the absence of voices that you hear making the reader go back and start over in an attempt to hear the absence you're listening to. I read a very different take on a night poem over on just a bit ago that might interest you. Also haunting and unsettling.

nollyposh said...

So beautiful, makes me want to know more of the story! X:-)

the walking man said...

while I am of a different mind about the absence of night voices and the animal sounds that ring through the dark, I loved the build in this. The construction of a pathway to the final lines. It is a great thing you have written here.

Karen said...

Kaye, I have to agree with all those who got here before me. The structure of this is perfection itself.

The first line brings me right in to the world of the sweeping voices who, delicate though they may be, nevertheless add to the ravaging of your night. The introduction of
"the digging
and the fright and
the animal
sounds that shift
in the cavity
of my skull" adds a sense of urgency and terror and an inability to escape ("an endless throb of thoughts").

The sifting of earth, the wall, the endless throb of thought, the rose petals falling like concrete and the wind of reverie -- this is so rich that I have read and reread, marvelling at your ability to infuse a brief breath of thought with so much meaning.

Coming back to the voices -- or rather their absence at the end is fulfilling.

I love your work, and like Julie, I think you should send this out.

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to know you again.

Karen said...

Great picture, too!

Catvibe said...

My first reaction as I read this was, and I quote, ooooooooooooooooohhh. My god what a great poem. I have to ditto Julie here, I don't have much literary commenting to add, just oooooooooooohhhh. And that's because you say what I've felt so much. So succinctly and delicately.

Anonymous said...

An artist's voice. Even though the night is silence, her voice is there for others who remain silent even then.

I agree that the structure is magnificent in its direct simplicity.

Bob said...

I loved this, Kaye... it's eerie yet lush and full of great lines... another example of how the word, not a long sentence, can have the impact at the right point... great work as always!

Gerry Boyd said...

Perfect. That is all. Bravo!

Aniket said...

Wow! And I mean W-O-W!

Magnificent in its simplicity. Loved the structure and loved the words. Clear, uncomplicated in the words of Cat, so very "Oooooohhh".

I love 'The Truth of Things' as much as I love 'Foolishness of things'. I think that should say it all. :P

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Julie - thanks a million. Yes, I do send work out and am fortunate to get work accepted. I haven't sent any out lately...I am not very ambitious, I guess - or so busy during school months that I don't get to it. However, I do plan on sending a few batches out this month (or next - ;p) Thanks for always being so encouraging.

Yes...the narrator's uneasiness about the truth of things...That's it exactly. I can always depend on your deep understanding.
Thanks, my friend and kin.

Mairi - I worked on the sounds carefully - trying to be rather subtle with them, diffusing them throughout. Thank you for telling me that they work.

I appreciate, very much, your compliments and thank you for directing me to fromthefield. I'll definitely take a look! Thanks again for you good remarks!

Nollyposh - hey, Vicki, thank you so much. I'll save the rest of the story for another day! I'll be dropping in on you later. ;D

Walking Man - coming from one whose work I much admire, high praise, to be sure. Thanks a bunch for the great comment.

Hey Karen - I don't know if there is such an animal as a free verse tercet...but I do like three line stanzas. Thanks for commenting on the structure.

Sense of urgency and terror - yes, intended. I fear FOR the natural world outside my window...that is where the fear comes in. Thanks so much for your support and friendship, it means so much.

Cat - I love when a reader connects to a feeling that the poet had while writing the poem. That is always special for me. I appreciate your compliments so much, dear Cat.

Jason - Yes, and with the absence of voices, the quiet becomes audible - and then all other sounds are amplified. As I stated to Karen, it is not a true tercet, I suppose...but I like three line stanzas. I appreciate your commenting on the structure. I thought it would work well with the theme. Thank you for your reflections here. I always appreciate them.

Hi Bob, Thank you very much. You are right...a well placed word can many times make a poem what it is. Always great to see you here.

Gerry - You are so kind. I appreciate your comment very much! And wow..a "bravo" - I am touched and grateful.

Aniket - Yep, that says it all, my friend. I appreciate your great response to this poem. I love the WOW - thanks!!! :P

the walking man said...

Amen and here is a toast to that piercing scream of silence.

Vesper said...

Perfect poem, Kaye. I would have to repeat all of what the others have already said. Let me say just that you are incredibly talented and that it is a privilege as well as a joy to be a witness to your art.

And I just loved the exchange with your daughter. Wonderful! :-)

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Walking Man - cheers!

Vesper - no better words could ever be said, dear Vesper. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Margaret said...

I love the structure of this poem K.

It just flows with its softness and delicateness from the readers lips.

Especially love the ending.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Margaret - I appreciate those kind words. Thank you so much. (Loved your post about the snake - it was charming - ;))

Sarah Hina said...

I'm floored by this one too, K. There's a kind of existential horror in it, an inherent questioning through its descending steps of thought. And an absence is the most terrifying kind of answer.

This one hits home, for some reason. The Truth of Things is something I've been considering lately, too. Especially at night. That wall can feel so thin, and the darkness crawls right inside our heads.

Your voice pierces deep here. Just amazing, nakedly revealing work, K. One of my favorites, for sure.

Silver said...

such poignance.. and lovely flow.


K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Hi Sarah, It's nice to know that this poem is a favorite...thank you so much for that. It is rewarding when a poem can have meaning for someone else, too.

I like how you stated -
"...existential horror in it, an inherent questioning through its descending steps of thought."

Yes...always the inherent questioning about life - wondering about how all things fit together...people hanging between the natural, spiritual, and man-made worlds - trying to find our purpose. Dwelling in one of those worlds, we worry about not being in the others.

Thanks, as always, for your insightful reflections.

Silver - I appreciate your coming by Old Mossy Moon. It is nice to have you here. Thanks very much for the comment. Hope to see you again. ;)

RachelW said...

I really like the bare-bones of this. I'm going to go read it again now. :)

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Hi Rachel, many thanks to you. I always appreciate your visits.

Jenny said...

This is so beautiful and breathtaking!

The way it is written with the short stanzas makes me imagine a howling wind in the background.

"in a
slight wind
of reverie

at my feet
like concrete"

Wow! I also love the use of contrasts and the vivid imagery.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Jenny - aren't you nice. Thanks so much for taking the time to read some earlier posts. I really appreciate your thoughts.

joaquin carvel said...

goosebumps. not so much because of the darkness as the resignation to it. it read to me like footfalls, each staza echoing through the next...eerie, but familliar...i love "the sifting / of earth beside / my dream" - i think because this piece has such a shifting / ethereal feel to it.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Joaquin - Yes, the resignation. The knowing that this is the way it is and nothing can be done. The acceptance of the natural world outside my window - and how everything "out there" is amplified at night when no one is talking or laughing inside the house...the worry over it all - that all will be fine out there - the insomnia of it all!

Thank you, Joaquin for reading these earlier posts. It is so nice to have you back, with your eye for detail and your insightful thoughts!