Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Memory of Stones, Reminders to Forget (Poem)

Memory of Stones, Reminders to Forget — A Sestina

A bed of dry sticks and umber stones
lacks comfort enough to make you forget
how your scraped, skinned palm always reads
in that other dream
where you run hard and long,
eager to measure the lifespan of fleeing birds.

In the time I've listened to sad black birds
scratch hollow songs into hollow stones,
I've rubbed both palms together, trying to remember how long
and how far we've come, our season to forget
behind us. What those ravens must dream
I imagine no other but I reads

in so quick a flash of silk-lined wing. What another reads
as passing quick, I foresee as the fateful muster of birds
seeking, seeking, as ever in my own dream
I look for signs, clues, and secrets below stones
newly turned and freed of hard clay. What I forget
is the length of a day pulled from memory, its long

trail pinned in the mind's recess. I long
for the blossom of lemon and orange, thin reeds
of yarrow, syringa twinned with thyme to forget
how emblems of sorrow on the breasts of birds
stand in for feelings. Pick through the broken stones
laid down before you and tell me your good night's dream.

A spell cast with a sprig of yew disturbs the dream
I had of you and me to replay our history long
pushed deep but slower still to recover from stones
set loose in summer storms. No pleasing lover reads
his palm the same a second time. Nor can birds
resist the rush to seek new heights; having fallen, they forget

the steepness of their climb toward clouds, they forget
how day slips its mood into night, how a broken wing fails a dream
seen lived in the eyes of so many other black birds,
every one and each unlike them. What message you would long
ago have spared to send is spent in haste, and I who read
the silence in the too-tight space count every stone.

Which of us would dream, the other, after, reads
in the leaves that have long lined the nests of bitter birds:
that memory of stones, these reminders to forget.

© 2011 Maureen E. Doallas
____________________________________________________


This is my first effort to record myself:

 Audio Recording of Memory of Stones, Reminders to Forget by mdoallas

24 comments:

Glynn said...

You make this look easy, and I know a sestina is anything but easy. I read tyhis, and I listen, and I can sense the building intensity. Excellent, Maureen.

Louise Gallagher said...

I loved hearing you read your poem!

Wonderful!

annell said...

Perfect!

Hannah Stephenson said...

Good work! I love your reading of this sestina, Maureen...nice to hear you@

nance marie said...

you have a wonderful reading voice.
it really helps to have you reading this as i follow along on the printed page. i like it very much!

there is something very nice about being read to. hearing a voice. having the words in print helps me to digest them, but the voice makes it more ...something...what is it? it gives it more human connection...i think.

hedgewitch said...

This is a fine and devastatingly well put together sestina. The imagery repeats in perfect collusion with the keyword language and the symbols they both contain. That transition between the second and third stanza really launches this into flight, and the tornada brings it back to roost. The mechanics are seamless and fluid and very much under the hood.
Fine writing, and I don't mean merely in a technical sense.

Brian Miller said...

very nice...sestina is not easy by far but you play it well...you have a lovely reading voice...thank you for sharing it...smiles.

LauraX said...

"What those ravens must dream
I imagine no other but I reads

in so quick a flash of silk-lined wing. What another reads
as passing quick, I foresee as the fateful muster of birds
seeking, seeking, as ever in my own dream
I look for signs, clues, and secrets below stones
newly turned and freed of hard clay."

The flow here is magnificent Maureen

Daydreamertoo said...

Beautiful. I read and listened.

If stones could talk, what stories they could tell.

Joanne Elliott said...

Wonderful sounds and images. Well done!

Andy said...

I echo everybody before me. Listening to your voice and following along with the visual has a different impact rather than just reading alone.

Beautiful sentiments. I especially like the ending.

I'm here:
The Evening Wind

poemblaze said...

Kudos on the sestina!

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

Wow, what a tour de force!

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

Wow, what a tour de force!

S. Etole said...

This was a very special treat ... to both read and hear ... thank you.

jen revved said...

this is absolutely stunning, Maureen. I believe, one of your most lyrical and powerful and tender-- perhaps to build a new collection around. xxxj

WINDOWLAD said...

..i like the cover title, i like the message, i like the forms, i like clarity, oh i like the whole thing 'bout this poem... and i believe you're gifted with a soft-spoken voice just, if i may suggest, try to read slower the next time... peace!(:

Brightest blessings!

~Kelvin

signed...bkm said...

A beautiful piece Maureen in everyway...I am going to come back and listen to your reading....but this is a piece that is exquisite to read the image perfect...bkm

Mark Kerstetter said...

This bears reading and listening many times, truly stellar.

Jerry said...

Poems are best recieved aloud. Thanks for the reading and the form effort. Oh, and the content delivers on that great title!

Joanne said...

So complex, this structure and the threads that pull through the entire fabric (stones, dreams, birds). I could really get the full weft of it from your audio reading. Please continue recording!

wolfsrosebud said...

What depth you've given this piece with your vocal expression. Beautiful...

Ruth said...

Brilliant, Maureen. And your reading of it opens it up like a complete garden. Your voice is so lovely, and I am convinced once again how important it is to listen to poems. Your language is lovely, with birds and stones, and in your voice I believe even stones live.

L.L. Barkat said...

"I long/
for the blossom of lemon and orange, thin reeds
of yarrow, syringa twinned with thyme to forget
how emblems of sorrow on the breasts of birds
stand in for feelings."

That. Wow, oh.