This poem was brought to my attention by the blog Cup of Jo. It really got me today. The imagery is so beautiful and heartbreaking. It reminded me that everyone, absolutely everyone, struggles. And often the person who struggles the most appears the most outwardly composed. I’ve been that person at times, and like to think I am more empathetic and aware because of it. The last stanza sent chills down my spine!
Sundays too my father got up early and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold, then with cracked hands that ached from labor in the weekday weather made banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him. I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking. When the rooms were warm, he’d call, and slowly I would rise and dress, fearing the chronic angers of that house, Speaking indifferently to him, who had driven out the cold and polished my good shoes as well. What did I know, what did I know of love’s austere and lonely offices? -Robert Hayden
The other day I stumbled across poet and author Nayyirah Waheed’s work and it is so beautiful I almost wanted to cry. Below are a few of my favorites if you’d like to read:
take your time.
you are coming
you haven’t felt yet.
give them time.
they are almost here.
my first country.
the first place I ever lived.
i knew you.
before I met you.
i’ve known you my whole life.
all the women.
What do you think? Are you a fan? I sure am 🙂
P.s. Photos from here
Last year I used to post a poem of mine every once in a while. I was in a class that forced us to write poetry, but since it ended I haven’t written much of my own accord…and I intend to remedy that! Here is a poem I scribbled down quickly last night during a rainstorm.
The rains came heavy from the north
In their little boats with tiny oars
barreling fast towards Earth.
But I stand still.
From the doorway I watch the trees sway,
A coffee in my hands,
as the drops make their way lazily down to the river
And out to some far off ocean somewhere.
And just then I think about my girlhood by the Pacific
Drenched in summer salt and more than a few tears, my slender shoulders browning up like batter, scared of the waves that threatened to soak my suit.
None of our clan lives by the sea now, we are scattered in the violent wind
like the rain that slants sideways into my new home.
And before long I notice water running
in swift rivulets down my cold, silent face.
P.s. Photo I took of the Malibu pier on Saturday night!
Red White and Blue
The boy– the man, really–
Ascended the ladder to the roof
To gaze at the stars above,
Their shapes twirling in endless orbit
Dancing the traditional dances of their distant countries.
But the girl could not gaze at the stars, though they shone clearly in the foreign sky.
She could only stare at him–
His innocent, slightly scruffy face
The way his cheeks flushed red to match
The roof tiles on which the two now perched.
The boy– talking endlessly–
Pointed out how the galaxies aligned
The same crystals in the same sky,
Viewable from every rooftop in every place.
How they burned bright white, nearly outshining their sister, the moon.
But the girl could not focus on the diamond sky
She could only stare at his dazzling teeth of pearls
That illuminated her world with each word.
The boy–finally pausing–
Scooted closer to share the cobalt blanket with the girl,
Whose cheeks alone flamed hot enough to keep her warm.
She thought she glimpsed a constellation in his nebulous blue eyes,
Perhaps the lion of Leo clutching poor Thisbe’s veil,
Or the harp of Lyra picking its mournful melody.
She listened to him speak, not so much comprehending the meaning
So much as the sound– the accent, really
She thought she heard the word airplane make its way lazily across the indigo ether
Reminding her of the morning’s immanent arrival
And her fated departure.
The boy– shouting eagerly–
As a shooting star crossed the scene,
Bursting open like the fireworks she watched every Forth of July,
Showering the pair in sparks of red, white and blue
Each spark a performer gracing the stage for the final act,
Bright but fleeting.
The girl– the woman, really–
Missed the shooting star.
She was too busy looking helplessly at the boy,
The man, really.
The dream of whom faded quietly into the cosmos
To join countless others, glistening beautiful but tragic.
God’s Favorite Creation
The God who made the galaxies, the mountains,
The rivers and the oceans
Who shaped the heavens with his fingertips
And breathed air into life
The Lord who crafted the canyons, deep and dark,
Moulded the fields of flowers
To match the birds in the sleepy forests,
Chirping a melody he carefully composed
The Father who spoke this earth into existence
Knew something was missing.
He knew this planet needed one of you, too–
A lanky boy of skin and bone
With dusky brown hair and inky eyes
A gentle heart and a mild disposition.
A boy with oddly red skin and large hands
To pluck guitar strings
Or caress a girl’s chin.
Of all the realms in this vast universe,
With their supernovas, black holes and constellations
You, by far, are my favorite creation.
And surely, God would agree.
You Always Say
You used to be tough,
a man’s man,
the alpha male. Until you had me
and turned into a pile of mush,
of pink lace and protection,
Barbie doll dream houses and bows in gold hair.
You never had a sister who survived infancy,
no one to dress up and tease
and threaten with an imaginary shot gun.
No pig tails to pull
or words to misunderstand
because she is another species entirely.
I have two brothers
whom you love much.
But not like me–
your sweetest accomplishment.
Opposite from you in so many ways,
like your wife,
my mother with the same heart eyes
and steady voice,
whom you love much.
But not like me–
Your only daughter.
I know fathers aren’t supposed to have favorites,
but if they did, you always say
I would be yours.
Sheets of Rain
The sheets are wet
Sopping, dripping, spreading
Cool against my tired skin.
Enveloped in their clean, fresh scent
I notice the rivulets running down my leg
Bunching at my feet in crisp, clear puddles.
The sheets pour harder now
Steaming, pounding, splashing
Atop my weary head.
But luckily I am not alone
There is a boy entangled with me.
His ochre colored hair damp and dewy
To match his fogged up glasses.
Together we tumble forward
Already sheltered from the rain outside
But still hoping to find protection from the storm within
That threatens to drown us out and never let go,
If only we will let it.
The rain thumps loudly on the wooden deck
To the beat of nature’s drum, building and building
In a crescendo of clean, wet sound.
It’s cadence reminds me of the tip tapping of dance shoes
On the TV program I watch inside
From my worn-in armchair.
The dancers click their heels loudly on the wooden stage,
Twirling in a clear, concise rhythm
To the beat of bagpipes pouring soft music
Outside on the windowsill.
My time as a dancer echoes in my ear,
How I used to make the rain flow with my agile movements,
Beckoning mother nature to come near.
I would flick my feet swiftly, drenched in sweat,
Determination condensing in thick droplets on my brow.
And just as quickly as it came, the rain leaves.
I switch off the TV and sit back,
With nothing but my memories to drown out the silence.