Tuesday, February 16, 2010



All morning
I have been
watching doves -
covering a
silence of light
under their wings,
like a sacred secret,


in the root cellar,
the beets bleed
from their constant
jostling in the bin,
cheeks pale and
withered now


the potatoes, too -
with their wandering
eyes and mocking
grins, beg to be
buried again


I find myself
thinking that
had my electrons
been arranged
just a little bit
differently, I might
have been a
mourning dove
hiding the light
under my wings


a root vegetable
in a winter bin
spending my days
going soft in the head.


trooping with crows said...

Wow! So brilliant and so dark. Love the personafication of the veggies! Wild imagery here. The beets bleeding, potatoes grinning...it's creepy kind of. Last stanza is amazingly thought out..."going soft in the head" perfectly describes the winter wearing on us... the doves with thier light and secrets give us hope for Spring.
GOSH! Just, wow, awesome Mom.

joaquin carvel said...

i also love how you play light against dark in this - and the goings-on in the cellar, how "preserving" just seems like a much slower decay.

also seems like there is a wink in the "might have"s - at least i sometimes i feel i'm "going soft in the head" - but sometimes try to hide a little light in my wings.

Rick said...

I really loved this, Kay. Dark humor and introspection blend so smoothly in this poem.

And I've been gone a lot- do you have news on your poetry collection?

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Merissa, it evolved some since I wrote it down on a post-it note at your kitchen table. lol Brilliant and dark...thank you so much for that wonderful assessment! I always appreciate how I can "hit" the poem off of you before I polish it. Glad you like the last stanza - I worked on that most of today. Yes, and the light giving us hope for spring...it can't be as long as it has been. Thanks for your ardent support. You've always been my number one fan - and how did Cash say it...Oma, what's a beet? I'll always associate that with this poem, where ever it goes. Love...

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Joaquin, thanks so much. Oh, yeah...there is that wink. I am always feeling a little crazed, but I don't mind - it keeps me steeped in material ;P

Rick, I appreciate your enthusiam for this. Thanks! Well, let's just say I am working on it.

Aniket said...

I want to get some of those electrons re-arranged too. :)

You've evolved, i'll give you that. Evolved to a superior human being. I'm glad to know you such great poets.

Margaret said...

This is just brilliant K.
I love the expression of this poem.

It's impossible to think of the vegetables as "just vegetables" after reading this.

The last line tops it all and is the perfect ending.

Coffee with Clark said...

Brilliant! I love getting up in the morning and finding your writing. And you have such a knack for closing lines that just knock your socks off. In journalism, we'd call that a clincher. Stunning.

I don't find this dark...I find it humorous.

Thank you.

Bob said...

I love this, Kaye... very gentle yet strong imagery and thought... brilliant.

Gerry Boyd said...

I think the structure of this works very well. Almost conjunction junction. Bravo!

Karen said...

The contrast of the hidden light and the bleeding beets is striking. The personification of the beets and potatoes is done so well that it feels natural in this context.

Every word of your poetry is well chosen and exact. Reading your poetry cuts my heart, Kaye. There may be a wink in this, but I feel the darkness and the bleed.

Anonymous said...

Your poetry is so stunning. And rich in the deft and artistic use of metaphor.

I wonder. If we step outside ourselves, maybe we're no different than the bird or the vegetables. Maybe we're playing a much a narrower and predictable role than we tend to perceive. And yet, I want to be able to rearrange molecules. If we can't do it, what can? Is anything able to reach higher that its prescribed lot in life?

Coffee with Clark said...

Kay, have you heard of Rick Bragg? Big old fat Alabama boy, 1 semester of college, won the Pulitzer at the NY Times for writing.

Check his book All Over But the Shouting...

He starts with a story of red birds fighting...reminds me of your story of cardinals. Poetry in prose, with homage to Faulkner

Julie said...

Here's another person who read this poem and thought...Wow! I love the form and the soft voice. But then the tongue in cheek stanza at the end made me smile. I'm already soft in the head, so I can relate to that:D

The darkness and the beauty blend together, and I just love that wonderful artist's brush of dark humor at the end. It's not too much...it's just right.

And yes, the contrast of dark and light is powerful! I LOVE the image of the dove and "silence of light under their wings." Silence of light is perfect. The images in the poem are all so unique, yet they complement one another. How awesome to have doves and beets in the same poem. Wonderful work, Kaye!

Marie said...

Dear K.

You are very talented. The
gentleness of your writing and
the honoring of each part of
nature. The last verse is sublime.


Vesper said...

Indeed, a thought I often have and one that never ceases to fill me with wonder.
You've expressed it here with exquisite images.

Anonymous said...

Other people already said this, but "going soft in the head" is too perfect. I like the way you connected the images together, as well as the images you chose. Nice little trifecta. :)

jack sender said...

that was fun to read.

i suppose someone is rotating the beets. they aren't moving on their own, i don't suppose.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Aniket - What a very nice thing to say..thank you for that - and for your friendship. ;)

Margaret, many thanks for your compliment. I was hoping the last line would make a good end.

Terry - A clincher, huh? Thanks! I learned that technique from my mentor, Ruth Stone. She said to "go along with a conversational cadence and then turn with a hard brilliance in the final lines "a kicker" Ruth called it.

Bob, that is the very thing I love about your poetry...gentle, yet strong imagery and thought. Thanks. Bob!

Gerry, lol...thanks for commenting on the structure. I was glad I thought of doing it that way. A little different form.

Karen, what a poetic thing to say...that my poetry cuts your heart. Thank you for that. <3 Yes....always, always the darkness.

Jason, I thank you for such a splendid compliment. Yes, I wonder...what would it take? I appreciate your analytical thoughts!

Terry , I have read that book. Sister got it for me a while back for my birthday. You are right - it is really a terrific read! Thanks!!! :)

Julie - I appreciate your reflections here. Thank you very much! I must have changed directions on this ten times...! Finalized it typed it and changed a few lines right before I hit "publish"...hahaa I do thank you for your good remarks!

Marie, First, welcome to OMM. It is nice to have you here. Glad the poem resonated with you. Thanks for the compliment, too. Hope you will stop in again.

Vesper - yes, I would imagine that you would have also had this thought...you should write a story about it. It would be soooo good!
Thanks, friend!

Joseph, I appreciate the kind remarks. It is interesting how a poem develops, with me anyway. I can't go into it here...but this one was a rather strange progression. Thanks!

Jack, so glad you enjoyed this. lol...yes, the beets move on their own...ergo the darkness! ;O

catvibe said...

Oh Kay, this is fabulous, and brought a huge smile to my face! I feel like the beet, or the potato with its wandering eyes and I know I'm going soft in the head! Love it!

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Cat - I guess we can all relate at some time or another. Thanks!

Ronald Rabenold said...

I love the imagery. Well done. I love the light under the wing. Thanks. Refreshing.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Ron, thanks so much for stopping by OMM and for leaving such a nice comment. Yes..that attraction to light is so common among poets and writers, but - then there is the wonderful darkness, too. I think Whitman said it best "that lovely play of light and shadow." Come again when you can.