Friday, July 27, 2018

WHEN I COME BACK, I WILL BE GRIEF



When I lived by the lake 
- smell of cattails and weeping willow -
it was always summer.
I woke to the sound of water
slapping the side of the cottage:
my Grandma, watering things down
against the heat of the day.
Then she pulled the canvas awnings down
like sleepy eyelids
over the front windows.

Smell of sweet peas, peonies and pinks;
wisteria, mimosa.
Tall hollyhocks beside the hammock
where I dreamed away
summer afternoons.
I remember being
the only swimmer in the lake,
during an afternoon thunderstorm,
back then,
the air metallic,
pewter sky lowering,
rumbling, growling.

I was whole, then,
before the fracturing and distress
of living through my teens,
of growing up,
and men, and pain and calamity,
the rest of my life spent
reclaiming
all I had lost.

I will return to that wholeness
from whence I came, one day.
I will be cattails, 
standing dry, bent and broken
at the edge of the pond.
I will be wolf-pup, 
peering fearfully
from my den,
knowing, to survive,
I must elude
the predatory Two-Leggeds,
who are everywhere.

I will be deer,
fleeing the flaming forests.
I will be mother orca, holding
my dead newborn calf above the water
for three days, grieving,
unable to let her go.
I will be grief itself,
watching the world I love
burning itself up.

5 comments:

  1. OMG! WOW! Brilliant, sad. My new favorite.

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  2. stunning - absolutely stunning Sherry!

    I love how you've taken a simple memory and then walked us through it, and your growing up, and how, once you've found yourself, reclaimed your spirit, you know and suggest you will return back to the beginning - to the cattails - and although you suggest you will be bent and broken, still - you will be whole - at the center. And then the point of points - of being grief - in all its aspects, and the images you've pulled -
    this is just brilliant - so perfectly worded - and yes, this IS one of those "I so wish I had written this" -
    phenomenal!

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  3. Just reading the last stanza, I can picture the mother orca holding aloft her dead child, as I read about it, on cbc.ca. Yes, can feel the tears forming behind my eyes.

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  4. Crying out loud here, Sherry...so much beauty, so much love and pain. I don't remember cattails in the lake where you and I both grew up, but I can picture them now. And the mother orca...so much like a human mother. Beautifully written, my-friend-I've-never-met.

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  5. Breathtakingly stunning - moved to tears - Bravo!

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I so appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.
Thank you so much. I will be over to see you soon!