myth and poetry

Perilous Image a poem by Stephanie Pope from Like A Woman Falling, Selected Poems © 2004


Perilous Image (p29)

I lived for a time planted and soiled
in a lifetime inherited from a lifetime
of learning what to do and how to be
the parts that couldn't quite live up to
the expectations I threw away
the parts that refused I ignored
but I never gave up the best part
I sent that part still very much alive
away from this disturbance in my soil
I sent it to live on the other side;
the side in pure darkness where
all things sooner or later come and go
I lived for a time safely in an unsafe way
till the wind blew black
and in myself wrapped round
through its darkness past my too-safe bet
before the fire of that wind's own silhouette
(that wicked, wicked wind's own silhouette)
with my other self wrapped round
I found myself struck down and yet alive
I found the living in myself again
through the self struck down.
Who is to say what a thing is
in the presence of a throng
in the gathering of the throw-aways
that left and still belong.
Who can say what such a thing reveals
like in the presence of some ancient song
that sings a suffering no longer mine
but of a great god vilified who lifted, freed
and gave back to me this humanity denied.
All things sooner or later
like the wind witches come and go
break free with the help of the witchy grubs
and blow and blow and blow
Surely mine must be a wind blown song
no word can sing
But, by the journey-ing along
what seeded me and is released
becomes the reach
of things that truly are
unto each other each.

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