Poetry Time: One Moment

once His blood was enough to quench me
my stomach grew larger and fought all sweetness
His blood, His flesh no longer enough
my head grew larger and fought all reason
His love, His sacrifice could not satisfy
my heart grew smaller and fell away

if I could have just one moment with You…

my heart was too small to be broken,
my love too short to be noticed,
I may as well have been in the grave
among the skulls, the medals, the trinkets,
without Your penetrating light
to sear my soul
i gorged my stomach on what could never be
on what was so far from You

if I could have just one moment with You…

my eyes first turn toward the mysteries
that never could be mysterious enough
my hears perked to hear the story
that I thought I could best
and I found the greatest gift
that I could never have bought for myself

if I could have just one moment with You…

Poetry Time: Seat of Memory

No longer can the sludge of old emotions bury me
I choked on mud for so long I forgot the taste of air
In a cavernous place, your hand slipped from mine

The dirt covered you, the floods rained over you
My interior never forgot you as you lingered
Temporarily apart but always a part of me

A brilliant spark took hold that night
The dirt was turning to flowers on the eve
of her birthday, when the air

smelled of roses, beauty turning outward,
and I uncovered you again, and I realized
you had never not been mine.

Under the Sofa

“Poems have a way of getting lost under sofas—it is one of their charms, and one of the reasons they endure.” —Stephen King, “The Breathing Method” (Different Seasons)

“The Breathing Method” was my least favorite story in Different Seasons, but it had the best quote. Sometimes you don’t find the perfect poem until exactly the moment when you need it the most. You could read the same poem millions of times and find that it never holds any meaning until that one moment when you need the poem… and there it is. The diamond of meaning you had been searching for, that small shimmer of truth you desperately needed to hear. Under the sofa all along.

The quote reminds me of T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, which has a strange way of reappearing in my head at odd times.

Who is the third who walks always beside you?
When I count, there are only you and I together
But when I look ahead up the white road
There is always another one walking beside you
Gliding wrapt in a brown mantle, hooded
I do not know whether a man or a woman
—But who is that on the other side of you?

In a sense, this particular poem could never get lost under anyone’s sofa because it is so well known and often taught in English classes, but to me losing a poem under the sofa (or anywhere) just means that it’s buried in your subconscious mind and will resurface whenever it darn well pleases.

The same is true if you write poems. They appear out of nowhere and disappear just as quickly. You can find them while searching under the sofa for that elusive quarter you could’ve sworn was there. You can find them while standing at the bus stop and breathing in the scent of another person’s cologne as he walks by.

But the poem will not endure unless you write it down.