Tuesday, June 25, 2013

I Move Toward Form, I Use My Fears (Poem)

I Move Toward Form, I Use My Fears*

I move toward form, I use my fears,
      admonish age but face what leaves
           no 'scape from crow's feet deepened,

the years, flat lines and likened to the streaks
      of white I tease from outgrown roots
           and pull as weeds from ancient grounds

tendered in praise of one more winter's rains.
      I fear a drowning, am always under water,
           my shell, too, thinning, too brittle to absorb

what else fills vacant space, the deep holes
      where stars withdraw from so much natural
           light. I see how nature reuses forms I fear,

makes blades of grass, sharpens the stinger
      of the wasp knowing to fix the pain in place,
           pulsing its variations in red, a heart reclaiming

its target. I move toward form, become again
      a funnel of fear catching on a ragged wish bone,
           broken, its short side mine and put aside. You,

all steel, your armature deflects what glancing
      blows in time can do when finally they turn in
           on themselves, cutting in two the borrowed form

we lashed together to make us one. You use
      my fears, I'm moved to form the classic letter,
           enclosing what truth is found in words remade

in perfect combinations of silent consonants
      and single vowels, like this one — I — left lone and loathe
           yet to forgive the culminating treason of x's and o's.

© 2013 Maureen E. Doallas

* Inspired by the question "Do I move toward form, do I use all my fears?" in "Double Ode" from The Gates (1976) in The Muriel Rukeyser Reader (W.W. Norton, 1994), 271. The collection is available through re-sellers. The poem is included in The Collected Poems of Muriel Rukeyser (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2006).


Hannah Stephenson said...

"I see how nature reuses forms I fear."

That line is sticking with me as I finish this poem.

nance said...

i'm with hannah on that one...

S. Etole said...

So well described.