Thursday, March 31, 2011

Blunder and Peel

There is little or no magic about them, except the ordinary everyday sort which helps them to disappear quietly and quickly when large stupid folk like you and me come blundering along, making a noise like elephants which they can hear a mile off. -- Tolkien, The Hobbit

. . .

How gently you ask me
to peel back my ribs

and reveal what's inside.
To really believe

I'm a reflection of the one
who will never cast me away.

-- Rachel Barenblat, “Beat,” 70 faces



No, there is no magic about me, despite your kind words,
what I have is the ordinariest human kindness, and the gift
of holding still. When the blundering is past, the love remains.

The light pours, sticky sweet, through cherry branches,
putting me in mind of cordials and liqueurs, apéritifs
that only promise opening. Crème de cassis as drunk

by the great Hercule. How gently you ask me to peel back my ribs!
There are two layers to the pericardial sac
(the packaging is worse than what you find at Walmart,

also referred to as the cod or scrot);
but what we find, after all this shying and sidling
is that we were naked all along, and loved

in all our awkwardness: not in spite of,
says God -- not in spite of, but because.

7 comments:

Luisa Igloria said...

I needed to read such a poem this morning. Thank you, Dale.

rbarenblat said...

Oh, oh, Dale -- beautiful, and I'm honored to have my own lines here too. The last four lines especially make me clutch at my heart.

Dick said...

What a lovely pairing!

carolee said...

I love the last three lines especially!

Uma said...

Just amazing.

Dale said...

Thank you dear friends! I don't think the part about the syrup is actually stitched in yet, but I think it belongs. I think.

Peter said...

I love epigraphs. One day I'd like to write a book that is more epigraph than original text since discovering and connecting the epigraphs to each other and to my writing seem to give me as much pleasure as my writing.

This is a great companion to Rachel's poem, which is itself a Midrash on Genesis. So your poem is kind of a reflection on a reflection. Your second stanza is so strong and sensuous -- a real delight. I see it, feel it, smell it, and taste in dizzying turns.