Sunday, December 4, 2016

Poetry Sunday: The late year

While searching for a poem to feature this week, I came across this one from 2006 by Marge Piercy and I was so struck by its imagery that I felt I had to share it with you.

I loved the idea of the black silhouettes of migrating birds perching on wires and reciting liturgical prayers. And I can certainly relate to studying the granite pitted and pocked rockface of my life as it emerges from the veil of greenery "to be mapped, to be examined, to be judged. "

For this season of holidays is also a time of reflection and repentance as we count our days and look forward - perhaps - to a fresh start in the new year.

The late year

by Marge Piercy

I like Rosh Hashonah late,
when the leaves are half burnt
umber and scarlet, when sunset
marks the horizon with slow fire
and the black silhouettes
of migrating birds perch
on the wires davening.

I like Rosh Hashonah late
when all living are counting
their days toward death
or sleep or the putting by
of what will sustain them -
when the cold whose tendrils
translucent as a jellyfish

and with a hidden sting
just brush our faces
at twilight. The threat
of frost, a premonition
a warning, a whisper
whose words we cannot
yet decipher but will.

I repent better in the waning
season when the blood
runs swiftly and all creatures
look keenly about them
for quickening danger.
Then I study the rockface
of my life, its granite pitted

and pocked and pickaxed
eroded, discolored by sun
and wind and rain -
my rock emerging
from the veil of greenery
to be mapped, to be
examined, to be judged.

4 comments:

  1. What a beautiful poem! I especially liked"

    "...when the cold whose tendrils
    translucent as a jellyfish

    and with a hidden sting
    just brush our faces
    at twilight."

    So true! :-)

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    1. I really liked it, too. The language is just so striking and evocative.

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  2. Oh my. An intensity of imagery and emotion. I did not know she wrote poetry! I read a wonderful novel of hers called Sex Wars.

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    Replies
    1. She's a versatile writer of fiction, memoirs, and poetry.

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