THE PALPABLE OBSCURE

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(originally posted October 31, 2013)

All souls own this evening, love,
blurring borders between quick and dead.
And even if the fearsome moans of man
did not appoint this time as hallowed,
our backyard trees announce it, as they
lose their glory and become their bones.

The veil is at its thinnest now, that
suddenly obscured you and left me
bereft, dumbfounded in the desolately clear.
Once a day, at least, I stop to wonder
where you are. Β I do not think of
you as being here. Β Except, tonight

a heightening of powers in the darkness
wants to break november from october
with a cold slap and a small wail in the wind.
Something more than me, something much
more sure that you abide, this night, brings
you, in ways that I can almost touch.
.
.

54 responses »

  1. Powerful with much meaning and imagery. Very fitting for the season as we move closer to and soon into November … and your use of bones adds a touch of Halloween. … and as always, love your cadence.

  2. Thank you, Cyn! Sunday was the 14th Anniversary of my mother’s death and this poem of yours has such universal depth, as well as the intensely personal context from which it arose, that I am comforted by it tonight.

  3. A deep-seated heartache at a level that I have not experienced, but your words and reading brings my heart to the brink of knowing how deeply the loss and longing will be one day. It is poignant for many for this time of year ~ my best Cynthia.

  4. A lovely poem touching on the universality of the season as well as a personal loss. I’m sad that the longing is so poignant – but then the poem would be less haunting, perhaps one can’t have things both ways. At our age we have all lost parents and perhaps siblings but the loss of that beloved significant other is a hard one. I’m so glad that I’ve not had to experience it and hope that I never shall!

    • I hope that for you, too, Jane. There’s an odd conundrum involved, though….would you want the beloved to suffer this great sorrow? I’ve had moments of gratitude that it was I who had to shoulder it, and not the one I most cherished. Strange. Strange, too, the whole process of
      re-inventing the universe, which seems to be necessary when you’ve spent the better part of your life with a soulmate suddenly gone. The greatest of teachers, this event, if one can survive the lessons.

  5. This is special Cynthia. I will keep this; I do that occasionally when something really moves me as this did. I store them on my notes page on the ipad so I can keep revisiting and re-reading. This has left me in awe. I don’t think I will ever run out of awe reading your work Cynthia, just wonderful.

    • Aww…awe? Now that’s a real ego booster…..funny, though, when someone likes a poem I’ve written, and praises it, I am often deeply moved, and at the same time not feeling as if it’s about me, but more about the many realities that go into the making of poems…the things that just happen, the universal human feelings, the natural language that has come down to us from many generations, and just being a working instrument of all that in this particular time and place. I do it because it’s what I do…and am so happily gratified when it finds glad readers…it’s as if the reader closes the circuit, and voilΓ , electricity!

  6. I love this poem! πŸ˜€ It has an essence of Halloween in there, but not a Halloween poem at all, nor an autumn one, but yet quite stunningly and cleverly blends both with the missing of a loved one. A wonderful read, so refreshingly original, and you read it so well too. You really should be writing books Cynthia, with poetry coming from you like this I’m sure they’d be awesome!! πŸ™‚

    • I am so pleased that you like this one, Suzy. I don’t know about writing books, but I do have one book coming out soon that collects a lot of these poems from the blog, and a few others, and includes an audio CD. The market for this kind of poetry is not great, but I’m finding that doing a book sort of organizes and finalizes the poems in a way that allows me to look forward! Thanks, as always, for your thoughtful comment.

      • Wow, well that will be good, I shall look forward to that Cynthia! πŸ˜€ And an audio CD as well, that’s a great idea! That will be useful for a lot of people – poetry while driving for example! And also very good for people who have no sight. There are some really dire alternatives for the blind on line when it comes to readings. PoemHunter – a huge website with loads of well known poets poetry recently introduced an electronic reader for a lot of the poems on there, ugh – embarrassing! It comes on automatic, and I usually turn it off it’s that bad!!

        I’m never sure how well anyone does with these self published books. I’m very interested to know, but it feels rude asking someone just how many have they’ve sold! I wish Amazon would have some kind of viewable record of how many sales, a bit like You Tube has views. The only thing you can go by is reviews. So important to get some reviewers for your book, it may help to encourage more sales.

        Good luck with the putting it all together, that’s brave of you take that on! πŸ™‚

        • My viewpoint is this: it would be delusional of me to publish a book with any expectation of money or fame.This is why I am doing a quality, limited edition, intended for family, friends, the local library, and some of my blog followers. If it goes further, fine; I’ll think about that later. Self-published books on Amazon are usually “on demand”, I.e. they don’t exist until someone orders a copy. Moreover, Amazon shares the money with the author, so unless you sell a lot……Reviews are problematic, too, since they are most often written by persons close to the author. A review really should be done by someone with a reputation that is somewhat well-known, otherwise you run into “so your mother thinks you’re great…so what?”
          So you see, I’m not brave. Someone gave me the gift of funding this project, and I’m just enjoying the process of finalizing and organizing past work so I can move on! πŸ™‚

          • I don’t think anyone should delude themselves with too many expectations when publishing a book, even with a publisher. Lots of books never make much at all….until the author is gone of course!

            There are some things authors need to know about selling a book on Amazon, it isn’t always straightforward. It’s best to publish the chosen book elsewhere first, because I’ve heard authors say if you don’t Amazon won’t let you sell it elsewhere while you’re selling it with them, which is a bit stupid really. It’s not going to take long before every self published author finds a way round that clause! They don’t appear to take a great deal of money per book though, but you do have to sell Β£100 (might be the same in $) before they will even pay you. That really annoys me, because you can sell anything on Ebay, new or second-hand and get paid for it no matter what you’ve earned. I wonder how much money Amazon will make over many years on countless self published authors who never reached that amount? Seems very wrong to me, I’m sure one day someone will tackle them over the money they’ve made that isn’t officially theirs to keep.

            And I know what you mean about the reviews, I saw a review like that a few days ago! πŸ˜€ I have come across some self published authors on Twitter who appear to have some genuine interest and reviews on their writing, and their books are a quality read. I’ve lost count of the fake reviews I’ve read on line or magazines/newspapers over the years for professional published authors though, they do the same, they fake it too, but don’t get their Mum to write it, but….well, someone must have paid the reviewer a lot of money because their book was unreadable! And the other week I read about an intendant reviewer on a blog, well respected for her book reviews, completely destroyed an authors novel by telling everyone it was terrible, even inventing things that weren’t in the book. It turned out she wasn’t a 25 year old woman, but a 55 year old editor, seething with jealousy over certain self published authors and their success – it was interesting to know, but an alarming read as to how much damage one silly woman could do! Illusion is everywhere!!!

            That’s a good idea to create a limited edition of your book – at least you won’t have to worry about a bad review and you can say your book is rare!! πŸ˜€

            • I just love your comment, Suzy….it gave me a smile that turned into a laugh…I think it was e.e.Cummings who said “…and the only good poet is a dead.” He was being resentful and sarcastic, of course, but there’s truth in it. And I will follow your advice and take a certain delight in saying my book is rare. Thanks, Suzy! πŸ™‚

  7. Hi Cynthia,October is history today is November ,soon December on his way ,four seasons of our lives ,l think we live a mystery.Thank you for liking my recent post.warm regards.Jalal

      • l agree Cynthia ,no matter how old we are we do learn something new every day from the university of life..God bless us with a good state of mind and that is a great treasure.Wishing you the best.Jalal

  8. This is a stunning poem, haunting, with many vivid moments.
    The lines that impact me most are here:

    The veil is at its thinnest now, that
    suddenly obscured you and left me
    bereft, dumbfounded in the desolately clear.

    What is the veil that obscures one and makes another desolately clear? I wonder…
    And did it continue to dissipate?

    Truthfully, this poem, for me, is just almost too sad to read. I’ve been waiting for a good time alone to read it and comment I, too, see how it can be a lighthouse, like John Stevens says above…because it is wonderfully written, but…it stirs up many things.

    You re-posted it from a year ago…October 31st, no doubt an important date for reasons other than Halloween, love…

    And the abiding is haunting, too. The ending leaves me with the longing for touch.

    • Thank you, Anna. Your reading and commentary are generous and thoughtful. You raise questions that would not have occurred to me, the kind I would decline to try and answer because I generally agree with something I was reading this morning, by A.E. Houseman:
      “Even when poetry has a meaning, as it usually has, it may be inadvisable to draw it out….Perfect understanding will sometimes almost extinguish pleasure.”

      • …and there is no “perfect” understanding, I think…just increasing depths of understanding. I can’t imagine ever understanding anything “perfectly”, nor of pleasure ever being extinguished no matter how full the knowing. Can you? What example of this exists? Questions are unending. Understanding is far reaching and beyond the page or the person or the time…But A.E. Houseman probably has some good things to say, no doubt ; ) Drawing out the meaning, for me, has unending pleasure, like an unfolding universe.

  9. A good idea to reblog this poem, it is very moving. November never was my favourite month, but the poems about this season, like yours, make up for a lot πŸ™‚

    • Thank you, Ina. November is not my best month either, but it does seem to engender a lot of poems….I’ve been meaning to tell you, where I grew up, in a French Canadian, Catholic parish, we always celebrated La Toussaint on November 1, All Saints Day. In those days it was a “holy day of obligation”, which meant we had to attend Mass……with that sugar hangover from all the Halloween candy. Your husband’s name always makes me think of that πŸ™‚ ❀

      • Yes he is born a Catholic, Maastricht, his name day is November 1, as is our son’s, but we usually forget lol. I always think it is special to be named after all the saints! Like you can’t go wrong! πŸ™‚ ❀

  10. Wow – a stunning poem – invoking many emotions, reactions, insights and responses – as good poetry does – and yours is of the very best Cynthia. I really do feel honoured and humbled to be able to read and share it – thank you! A shining light from which we can learn. Oh – and I’ll let my son know where to collect the royalties on my work when I’ve gone…he’ll be happy!! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

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