Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Harbinger

her chest fell, dry as a crumpled leaf
breath well-spent on the dance of life
a treasure trove of nights and days
turned over and over, these bedridden hours
each polished smooth and worn as river stone

she lay alone, but for the quilt
her mama had stitched by hand for her
some eighty years before, she but a slip,
an ethereal child, her mother lovely as a song
of desire, plump heat and laughter

embroidered there upon that throw
was a creature ripe with fantasy, a feathered one
with heart of flame, a charm created
thread by thread to weave a spell in which
a mother willed her youngling’s spirit free

find what you love, my love, she said
and pursue it with abandon
don’t chain yourself to heartless man
or waste your years with pointless drudgery
your soul’s divine, it deserves so much more


she arched her head towards the sun
and saw it pale as dawn, the gaze of winter
stretching through a window streaked
with the tresses of the aching wind
a gash upon its narrow, dust-worn face

for on the sill sat a mourning bird
with tourmaline eyes and wings of fire,
a breast so deep and dark it rang
of the depths of the darkmoon sky,
claws elegantly shod in golden filigree

the beast took flight as her soul did rise
into the waking sky, shedding its torrent
of memory, scattering now across the land
the shore, the sea, the rolling hills
a fleeting storm, glittering in its glory

find what you love, my love, she heard
and pursue it with abandon
don’t chain yourself to a heartless man
or waste your years with pointless drudgery
your soul’s divine, it deserves so much more

Rachel Westfall
March 17, 2009

9 comments:

Woman in a Window said...

Soar far. I hope I tell my daughter that often enough. My son, too. I hope they hear me.

This I like a lot, "her mother lovely as a song
of desire, plump heat and laughter." Plum heat. So perfect.

ConverseMomma said...

Oh, don't chain your love to a heartless anything. And yes....pursue it with abandon. This is the mantra we as women, people, mothers, lovers, friends, humans need to keep repeating to each other.

christopher said...

Rachel, I took part of your poem to tell a true story of a tee shirt and a lover, me just 25 and this love very complicated. But this moment was a kindness.

Embroidery Art

I watched stitch by stitch
as you built the lion's head
in many colors
over my true heart,
embroidered on my black tee
shirt as if I earned
this special warm care
from you, as if you knighted
me into love's realm.

Lirio said...

textile magic indeed my friend

Karen said...

"a treasure trove of nights and days
turned over and over, these bedridden hours
each polished smooth and worn as river stone"

These are only a few of the lines that capture me so totally in this poem. The threads, the bird, the soaring and her mother's advice are all captivating.

joaquin carvel said...

this is a beautiful and moving piece - i really love how it approaches those moments from a position of strength rather than supplication - and the echo at the end is powerful.

Poetikat said...

I love the verse about the mourning dove and the way you used the wisdom lines as a refrain. Very nice.

Kat

Catvibe said...

Rachel, sorry I've been remiss. This is exquisite, and an amazing tribute. The image of the mourning bird in flight is sublime. I love this one.

RachelW said...

Erin, yes it's something I hope for my kids, as well. I wish I could embed it in a magic charm or amulet for them.

Kelly, yes, yes! We humans need one another, we are so interdependent, but it's so important that we don't become trapped, controlled, or suffocated in a loveless way.

Christopher, that is beautiful. Thank you. There is magic in it, this gift of caring and protection we offer one another in what we create.

Lirio, yes, this is like your quilt!

Karen, thanks-- this was one of those poems that had a life of its own, and I was delighted by the mother, the bird and the quilt when they emerged.

Joaquin, your kind words are very much appreciated! :)

Kat, thank you; I'm glad they emerged that way, too.

Cat, and thanks for your kind words, too. You haven't been remiss, have you?