Friday, December 13, 2013

Gourd Of Stars

Wind is swaying the grassy plains.
Brush in one hand,
knife in the other,

I bend knee to the bluestem of my birth.
My hair is shadows
to be gathered and sheared.
My skin is a silken sack,
empty and eggless.
Red dirt stains my feet,
and water witches
through the fine bones of my fingers
until "dig, dig" cramps and clenches
like a rheumatism.
I no longer know my hands.

When I was young,
the well was always running dry,
and I grew up afraid.
Afraid of drought.
Afraid of thirst.
But now that I am old,
I can barely bring myself to sip.

So, wind sway my grassy plains,
and I'll sway, too.
I have a brush in one hand
and a knife in the other.
Tonight, I'll drink from a gourd of stars.

The first three lines were provided by my ten year old daughter.  She loved the poem and thought it was really good.  She also thought that she could do better!

For Corey's prompt at Real Toads.


Herotomost said...

Lol...they always do! Wow that was really good. I love the lines she came up with it granted you a lot of lead way in what you were going to write. The thought process of being afraid of not having enough and how it influences the way you live later on was so physically and mentally apparent from the depression era folks. From craving a couple of dollars to hoarding hundreds of thousands of dollars it is strange how quickly we adapt to a situation and how nearly impossible it is to get rid of those adaptations that were born out of fear. What a great poem.

Susan said...

Haunting poem. The water witch and the history, the hair of shadows, blue grass, brush and scissors all remind me of what I knew once about cycles and seasons, initiation rites and the shearing of sheep. Sipping from a gourd of stars is a rising up, one I'm tempted to see as death were it not for all the mythic creatures that roam the prairies. I love the repetition that frames present and past. And I think you have one amazing daughter.

Mary said...

This is very beautiful, Mama Zen. I love the idea of a 'gourd of stars.' Consider it for my dVerse Poetics Prompt tomorrow.

TALON said...

Gotta love Baby Puppy's confidence. :) And if she has any talent, she can thank her super talented mother.

This was awesome, Mama Zen.

Anonymous said...

been reading Neil Gaiman. just finished his collection of SS "Fragile Things"; must still be under the influence. Your write is in that world: magic, real, dark. just a great pen, MZ ~

Kay L. Davies said...

I am not at all surprised that you write beautiful poetry, because I know you do. And I'm impressed rather than surprised that your 10-year-old came up with those three wonderful lines.
I remember we had a well when I was in high school, and its location had been found by a dowser. My brother and I were thrilled, until we realized we'd have to walk down the hill to the well if we ran out of water when our parents weren't home with the car.

Susie Clevenger said...

Goodness this is beautiful..your daughter is quite a poet! What you wrote from her opening is truly wonderful.

Anonymous said...

Ripe collaboration here -- like Mama like Baby Gecko -- and the lead of "brush" and "knife" is keen, the quandary that life either makes a creator or a destroyer of us, or both. Tolerance changes over time -- the older I get, the harder it is to leave the animals and go back to the human community. Its great if you share your poems with your child, courageous too. Kudos to the both of ya.

Grandmother (Mary) said...

Your daughter's first three lines are a poem all by themselves. What a creative image. Brava!

Sioux's Page said...

Mama Zen--So not only do you create phenomenal, mind-blowing poetry, you also produce KIDS who are incredible poets. Yowza!

Yeah, my son saw me write for years, and thought poems were easy things to produce, so I asked him for a poem--just one--for years as a gift. Christmas. Birthday. Mother's Day. Whatever.

It took years, but he finally DID gift me with one last year (he was 23then)--a song--that made me cry, the stinker.

The phrases and images you come up with--they make me want to avoid poetry forever and just stick with prose.

Outlawyer said...

Just beautiful. A new favorite. K. Manicddaily

Lorraine said...

wow quite an impact, superb mama Zen

Kerry O'Connor said...

I think the second stanza is one of the finest things I've read today. It could stand alone, but adds such depth to the whole, and these lines are to die for:

My hair is shadows
to be gathered and sheared...

Ella said...

You and your daughter could write a book-her giving you the first line!
How fabulous are her lines-she has your gift Mama Zen! I too love the "gourd of stars"

hedgewitch said...

Full of striking images--I especially like the parts about the witching fingers,the silken sack of skin(!) the well, and fear of sipping--and the opening lines are strongly visual--a real feel of poetry to them, and of course, the rest of the piece just sings. Excellent collaboration.

Brian Miller said...

wow...quite emotive poem...the silken sack of skin...the knife in one hand, the brush in the other facing that gourd of stars...there is a real human mysticism in this...

Sam Edge said...

You are able to sneak such powerful images into your work the word "eggless" changed the whole complexion and stayed with me to the end.

Helen said...

A most beautiful poem (especially the first three lines) ... you have quite the talented daughter, love how you played off her words!

Oman said...

ahhh, such a lovely prose :)

Lorraine said...

and I love that your daughter wrote the the first three, pretty amazing, I'd say the promise is there, like her Mama Zen

Fireblossom said...

I think Baby Puppy's opening is really good! (and she sounds a bit like her poet mother, too)

This has a ceremonial feel to it, but a ceremony done solo, with just the wind and stars.

ps--I like "I no longer know my hands"