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off my knees and in the trees

Last summer was the summer from hell–emotionally, at least. And as I look ahead to my plans for the coming months, I am noticing a resurgence of last year’s feelings seeping into my writing. The following poem is definitely still rough, but I have found that all my writing is always rough and never finished, which is why I rarely publish anything.

Maybe you can help me smooth some of it out? That’s what the comment box is for anyway.

Summer 2010

The Cunning

Summer allure rolled through spring grass in a sprint for the forest
I chased after through the field toward the promise of a sweet and holy fruit
You enticed me toward the lifted cradle and made for me a dainty halo
And I made my home tucked into your trees,
Wooed by your lullabies of things Greater Than These

But the Greater never came
And you hushed away the These
Until the day my mouth was open and the wind rushed out of me
“Will you climb up or should I jump down?” I sang from a teetering cradle on a dying branch
With an eyebrow raised and a plastic grin you called up through the limbs
“Young girl, stay put in this tree, there’s nothing down here to taste or to see
sing if you wish, but know that I have the fruit abundantly”

So I sang with parched mouth from a vine not my own
Pretending that some how this might feel like home
“Sir, this tree bears no life and these branches lack water.
It shows who you are, not a lord or a father”

With a jester’s response, you smiled and smiled
and bellowed and bellowed from a heart turned mild
“Then let thy mouth be dry and speak no more! For this is my tree and I am its lord”

White petals shriveled to chalk and fell from my hair,
To a ground far below where nothing could grow
And cries of protest rattled through the trees
While the wind sang of things Greater that These

Then that wind shooed at my halo turned ash
Swirling into black leaves with a hiss
In time for your axe to cut through the mist

[part two: The Running soon to come]


5 responses

  1. CharityMae

    Maria! This made me cry. I loved it. I never knew you were such a gifted poet. You are so taleneted; and your vision is inspiring! Love you lots!!

    April 13, 2011 at 9:17 pm

  2. Brandon Call

    Wowzers, when did you start writing so beautifully? Or was I just never introduced to this side of you in high school?

    A few small suggestions:
    “and bellowed from a heart turned mild” doesn’t scan that well with the surrounding lines (especially the previous one). Maybe remedy it by saying “and bellowed and bellowed from a heart turned mild”

    I don’t think the “my” and “am” in italics is necessary for emphasis. I think it would read better without and still get the same thing across.

    At the end, should “Things Greater that These” be “Greater than These”?

    “Until the day my mouth was open and the wind rushed out of me” is one of my favorite lines. But I love everything about this. This makes me miss you even more.

    April 13, 2011 at 9:47 pm

  3. allison

    Beautiful, Lex! I am far less of a writer than you are, so I have no ‘tips’, but it was a treat to read – I didn’t know you were such a gifted poet!

    April 14, 2011 at 12:39 am

  4. This poem puts to word the conflicted girl at my kitchen table and reflects well what I could not fully grasp in person. The writing is beautiful and I am so impressed with your growth both introspectively and expressively.

    I hope you have a sturdy, hard bound book for recording these writings in handwritten glory for the sake of adorning a shelf with such treasure in your own home one day. I am sorry but I cannot bear the idea that written word would no longer be written but rather relegated to electronic format. (even saying those words sounds cold and ugly).

    “always rough and never finished”. Pretty much sums us up, eh?

    Louann (not Alexis commenting on her own post!)

    April 14, 2011 at 12:35 pm

  5. sarah

    love it. you’re terribly imaginative and a bit cryptic and it’s great. very vivid images and I can just hear you reading it.

    the only part I’m not placing very well logically is the line about the “heart turned mild.” the bellowing individual does not seem to have a mild heart at all. did I miss something?

    April 15, 2011 at 6:44 am

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