Tuesday, March 10, 2009


I wanted to carry you to the softest place,
lilting but my words came out heavy,
awkward, pounding like iron.

And so I gathered them up
into a rusted tin and buried them
in the yard between the apple trees,
where the wind and rain would
patiently caress them
into fine red dust.

The songbirds wrote me up
for disturbing the peace, incensed
at the grating sound my shovel made
as it excavated earth and pebbles.
Chickweed sap ran down its blade
weeping, everything crushed.

Rachel Westfall
March 7, 2009


Faith said...

This resonates so deeply in me. Probably for everyone at one point in time or another.

The words being buried and turned to red dust...the patience that is needed -- oh, the birds and the birds always the birds calling at us in one way or another.

I hope for you this is written from memory and not for today's sorrows.

RachelW said...

Faith, thank you :) for your always kind, thoughtful words!

Yes, it's written in memory, and not a specific memory, but more in honour of that clumsy feeling of never being able to say or do the right thing. Hugs back!

Woman in a Window said...

Oh, you dear, dear soul. You're hurting my heart today. Beautiful.

jozien said...

Yes, beautiful Rachel.

christopher said...

Excellent work, my friend! Right up my alley.

Poetikat said...

This, for some reason, is resurrecting a scene from Hardy's Tess, of the Durbervilles where she buries her infant son outside the confines of the churchyard.
God, you're good!


Faith said...

Hi Rachel:)
I had to come back because I was reading some poetry books I have lying around and I came across this poem by Tess Gallagher which reminded me of your poetry so much -- I just wanted to share it with you --

Unsteady Yellow
by Tess Gallagher

I went to the field to break
and to bury my precious things.
I went to the field
with a sack and a spade,
to the cool field alone.

All that he gave me
I dashed and I covered.
The glass horse, the necklace,
the live bird with its song, with
its wings like two harps--
in the ground, in the damp ground.

Its song, when I snatched it again
to air, flung it with light
over the tall new corn, its pure joy
must have reached him,

In a day it was back, my freed bird
was back. Oh now, what will I do,
what will I do with its song
on my shoulder, with its heart
on my shoulder, when we come to
the field. to the high yellow field

Woman in a Window said...

I hope you don't mind but I linked to you today. You reminded me of something from along time ago. If you'd like me to remove the link, don't worry, just post so. Not a problem. I find some of my thoughts reflected here. I didn't want to feel like I was pilfering.

Ravy said...

Good as usual. You do not disappoint. How is the great white north doing?
Love Ravy

RachelW said...

Faith, thank you so much! That poem you found, it's wonderful, and so sad... I can feel the power of the longing, and the longing for the longing to go away.

WiaW, of course I don't mind at all, please feel free to link!

Christopher, and Jozien, and Ravy, thank you three wonderful souls :)

Kat, ooh that is a darker twist on things!

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Regret and remorse for things we can't accomplish - for love nor money. How is it we want to help, or instruct, or advise...but feel we come up short in our efforts. Yes, and we bury that which we feel is too imperfect with us.

A gem of a poem...

Kelly (conversemomma) said...

akward words, pounding like irons, I know those. I have known too many of those.

Found you via Erin and her back door. Will return, I'm sure.

Karen said...

This one really strikes a chord, Rachel. Many things I'd like to bury and wait for them to turn to fine red dust... The other comments say it all. Wonderful poem.

RachelW said...

K., if only everything would work out the way we wanted it to. I so often feel like I'm bumbling, and after I screw one thing up, I just keep making it worse.

Kelly, welcome! I'm glad you came across.

Karen, thanks... I really appreciate your comments!

joaquin carvel said...

i really, really feel this one. more than i would care to some days. you captured it beautifully.

Julie said...

This poem wells in my heart. If I wrote down every line I love, I would write the entire poem. You are wonderful, Rachel. Absolutely fantastic poetry.

Angeline said...

this speaks right to my soul, where it still lays wounded from a huge failure long time ago....
*hopped over from Erin's link*