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William Haskins
01-15-2016, 03:27 AM
Grandma dozes in the
front porch dusk,
glass eye glinting
in the last hint of day,
a jewel behind half-lid lashes.

She whispers a verse or
some other sacred gossip,
chipped like a fossil from
memories that grow deeper
as deeper grows the evening.

She's carried his kiss
on her lips all her life,
long after his bones were
bleached on a beach
of some island she cannot name.

She remembers him young, for
he was never otherwise.
Once they dreamed of a future;
now she retraces a life too long
beneath a setting sun.

CassandraW
01-15-2016, 05:31 AM
A beauty, as always.

As is sometimes the case with your poems, I found my imagination wandering outside the edges of it -- e.g., to contemplate what “sacred gossip” she might be whispering. Given it was chipped from memories, I imagine the stories belonging to people who, like her husband, are mostly bleached bones.

Heathen that I am, by the way, I had to look up “sacred gossip.” In case anyone else is unfamiliar with the phrase, this is what I found (http://breadnm.blogspot.com/2015/08/sister-simone-campbell-urges-us-to.html):

“Ask a stranger you meet--while waiting in line, at a stoplight--to share their story, to talk about what matters most to them, to name their deepest needs and desires. Really listen. Then share what you learned with someone you know. (Sister Simone Campbell calls this "sacred gossip." )

I especially love the imagery in the first stanza: “glass eye glinting/in the last hint of day,/a jewel behind half-lid lashes." (I saw a cloudy marble eye from cataracts, by the way, rather than an actual glass eye.)

Also this: “chipped like a fossil from/memories that grow deeper/as deeper grows the evening.” One could read "deeper" in a couple of ways -- that her memories grow more profound and important as she grows older, or that they get buried further in her dimming mind. I chose to read a bit of both into it (perhaps because I watched my father slide into dementia) -- that she must dig deeper into her hazing mind for these memories, but they are there, crystallized, and that much more important because they are pretty much all she has left as she dozes out her final days on the porch.

And this: “She remembers him young, for/he was never otherwise” -- so poignant.

Thank you for sharing it.

tiddlywinks
01-15-2016, 06:40 AM
Hi, Haskins,

So, I rarely tread in this section, since I don't often 'get' poetry, but your title caught my eye. And I don't have much in the way of a crit, other than to say I really enjoyed this. You captured me with the vivid attention to the glass eye in the first stanza. Whether it's really glass, or metaphorical as Cass describes, I could see it in my mind's eye.

I might have tripped through the next two stanzas a little too eagerly - I didn't find anything personally to pause on in the second stanza - but the third hinted at the longing and still burning flame for her long dead love which is then fully realized in the final stanza.

That final stanza is poignant, bittersweet, and full of a life lived with reminders of the past. I really get a sense for the old woman's depth of feeling and maybe even regret for the long life they did not have together.

All that to say: lovely. Thank you for sharing.

William Haskins
01-15-2016, 08:21 PM
thank you both for reading and for your thoughtful comments.

Kylabelle
01-15-2016, 08:48 PM
Wonderful read. I am enjoying this one very much. "sacred gossip, chipped like a fossil from memories" is a jewel.

I read, and wonder how you do this? and hope to osmose some of this art. Truly a pleasure.

Ambrosia
01-15-2016, 09:31 PM
Chills.


Thank you, William.

Steppe
01-15-2016, 11:24 PM
Love your alliterations William. I like "sacred gossip" also.

Magdalen
01-18-2016, 04:42 AM
Sentimental in a very good way. I can picture her there in the last glow - the "glass eye glinting" makes her even more intriguing. Thanks!

Stew21
01-18-2016, 06:35 PM
This reminded me of my grandmother. She was widowed for many years (almost 30 years). As she got older she would talk about him. She put pictures of him as a younger man around the house. She said she wished she'd sat on his lap more often. It did feel like she was chipping out a fossil in her memory.

You didn't intend to, but you captured her twilight beautifully.

William Haskins
01-19-2016, 03:20 AM
i very appreciate everyone's comments. thank you.

Perks
01-22-2016, 11:00 PM
I've often thought how sad and bottomless (and possibly groundless, too) it is to carry an ache for a love that's been lost to death in youth. How doubly painful it is that somehow they'll always be idealized in that state of young love, because they never got a chance to disappoint us.

But this makes me aware of another pain in that kind of loss that hadn't occurred to me. We all lose our youth and have to process that loss to the mirror, mirror on the wall. And we also have to confront it on the field of our memory of our young selves, too. But how bleak it is that who should be our ally in this so mundane (but awful) struggle, our partner, has gone and pulled a Dorian Gray. They stay young and vibrant and we wither, not only diminishing in comparison to what we were, but in comparison to what they were, too. It seems only fair that we should have lost that juice together, at least.

Great stuff. As always.

CassandraW
01-23-2016, 01:23 AM
They stay young and vibrant and we wither, not only diminishing in comparison to what we were, but in comparison to what they were, too. It seems only fair that we should have lost that juice together, at least.


Well, there's also the mental aspect of aging, and that could work either way. Some people's minds and spirits ripen and grow with age, rather than diminishing -- while others shrivel and harden into caricatures of what they were at 22. (Alas, I believe the latter may be more common. But then, I am a cynic.)

There's no saying how her dead husband would have matured or how they would have matured as a couple. Perhaps they would be on that porch together at twilight, hand in hand. Or perhaps she'd be there alone, grumbling about what a goddamn deadbeat he was.

Perks
01-23-2016, 06:13 AM
Well, there's also the mental aspect of aging, and that could work either way. Some people's minds and spirits ripen and grow with age, rather than diminishing

In this case I was only talking about physicality, and maybe general energy levels. Certainly not mental or emotional development.



There's no saying how her dead husband would have matured or how they would have matured as a couple. Perhaps they would be on that porch together at twilight, hand in hand. Or perhaps she'd be there alone, grumbling about what a goddamn deadbeat he was.

Which is what I said in the first part of my post.

CassandraW
01-23-2016, 07:04 AM
Which is what I said in the first part of my post.

Yes, I understood that. I didn't mean my post as a contradiction -- I meant to chime in with your musings. The poem got me thinking on similar lines.

An old boyfriend of mine died young in an accident -- after we broke up, but still, we dated for four years so it was a significant loss for me. I often wonder how he would have aged, and what he would think if he were to meet me now.

ETA: My segue into the mental aspects of aging mostly stemmed from thinking about him. Heh. I'm guessing he'd find me rather off-putting mentally if he were to meet me today. (I dated him before law school. I was less brassy and less confident then, and I don't think he'd find the change an improvement.)

cjtait
03-04-2016, 04:57 AM
Is it enough to simply state "I love it..."???