Everlast

This sky arches over me,
clouds against blue
in so many patterns
that only seem not to move.

A warm breeze takes me
seaside–away
from waiting and wondering,
into the pregnant moment
growing heavy inside of me.
Something always yet to be born:
A new page, new sky, new moment.
Some stillness, some silence.

Such a busy world, so much activity.
words drowning out poems
that bring more words. So many clouds.
Rain, sun, ever changing.
The other night, after drinks and dinner,
I laughed about getting an Everlast tattoo–
boxing gloves, upper right arm.
I thought I could be reborn.

And I see how I long to hold
my newborns again,
in awe of their changing beauty.
I hear her blasé “cool”
when I tell her to come
upstairs after her shower.
She claims this space now
to groom herself,
be alone with her own changes
before appearing in the dark
wearing a colorful skirt and sparkly leotard,
a red bandanna pulled tight
over smoothly brushed wet hair,
then crawling back
into the safety of proximity.

Next day, she bears disappointment
that I cannot chaperone her
class field trip, the last of the year.

Already I glean that the clouds
have changed shape
though I could never describe how,
only know that this is not the sky
it was five minutes ago,
the angle of my pen’s shadow shifting
under the words that appear
in blue ink out of nowhere.

There is some sorrow here
in seeing the sky change,
in feeling the warm breeze against my cheek,
some longing
I have never fully touched
growing within me, asking to be born,
becoming separate from me,
no longer one body.

The emptiness of the space
they once occupied so magically–
I miss those gentle somersaults,
pointy elbow here, rounded butt there,
slowing filling me
to capacity
until there was no place left to grow
but out, out into the world
of their own lullabies,
their own sorrows and jokes,
their own journeys.

And so I sit under a changing sky,
find the mortal world enough–
within me some heartbreak
of a love so big
that maybe I was born to bear.

***

Lullaby
by W.H. Auden

Lay your sleeping head, my love,
Human on my faithless arm;
Time and fevers burn away
Individual beauty from
Thoughtful children, and the grave
Proves the child ephemeral:
But in my arms till break of day
Let the living creature lie,
Mortal, guilty, but to me
The entirely beautiful.

Soul and body have no bounds:
To lovers as they lie upon
Her tolerant enchanted slope
In their ordinary swoon,
Grave the vision Venus sends
Of supernatural sympathy,
Universal love and hope;
While an abstract insight wakes
Among the glaciers and the rocks
The hermit’s carnal ecstasy.

Certainty, fidelity
On the stroke of midnight pass
Like vibrations of a bell,
And fashionable madmen raise
Their pedantic boring cry:
Every farthing of the cost,
All the dreaded cards foretell,
Shall be paid, but from this night
Not a whisper, not a thought,
Not a kiss nor look be lost.

Beauty, midnight, vision dies:
Let the winds of dawn that blow
Softly round your dreaming head
Such a day of welcome show
Eye and knocking heart may bless,
Find the mortal world enough;
Noons of dryness find you fed
By the involuntary powers,
Nights of insult let you pass
Watched by every human love.

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