Obvious

movement obscures the form
the light on the water dazzles us
we can’t quite see

we peer and probe
seeking always seeking
as if there is some power
in depth

as if that surface glitter
is not enough

maybe movement is all there is –

the fine oscillation
of atoms, more space
than substance –

energy transmitted and transforming,
the slow drift
into entropy

flames dancing on the surface
of the universe

 “It is life’s work to recognize the mystery of the obvious”
Jim Harrison ~ Songs of Unreason

 

It finally arrived – the last day of Jilly’s 28 Days of Unreason project. It’s going to be strange without the daily wrestle with Jim Harrison’s gnomic sentences. Thank you, Jilly, for bringing this to us. 

It’s too hot to poet much tonight. We hit 31 degrees today – unheard of in this green and pleasant land! – so this is my offering for dVerse’s open link night as well.

Advertisement

Solstice pilgrim

This, then, is her solstice pilgrimage,
this six monthly walk, down this too long corridor,
ticking off letters, – M is for Women’s Health,
P is for Medical Photography
Q is for X-ray and Imaging.

She’s here in the long days of summer,
when the windows are open in this small room,
letting in voices and slow moving air,

and again in the short dark winter days
when there’s not enough light to spare,
not enough warmth to go around –

stripped of power, clothing, efficacy –
she has a name-tag in her bag, out there
she’s someone, here she repeats her name,
address, date of birth at each desk –

Open Sesame

– and she’s touched gently, probed by soft, kind hands,
that press and smooth her skin,
searching for the death that bubbles under it.

 

And there you go – Day 26 of Jilly’s 28 days of unreason challenge. I’m going to make a confession now: I haven’t read any Jim Harrison apart from the quotations put up here. I will, but I wanted to do this challenge without any preconceptions about his work, and just take each quotation on its own terms. It’s been a great series of prompts. I can’t believe we only have two to go. 

And here’s the quotation:

“There is a human wildness held beneath the skin that finds all barriers brutishly unbearable”   from Songs of Unreason

 

I’m also linking it up to tonight’s dVerse prompt – opposites attract, posted by Lillian. She asks us to write a poem including some opposites as contrasts. I’ve used the two solstices here.

Seasons – haibun for dVerse

There are so many seasons, overlaid like layers of paper – like one of those books with separate flaps you had when you were a child, so that you could create a clown with a ballerina’s body and farmer’s boots, or a spaceman with a gingerbread tummy and toddler mary-janes.

There’s the calendar year, of course, but I don’t pay much attention to that. The academic year still runs my life – new shoes and pencils in September, a surge of freedom in July. This year we’ve had Big Exams in our house, so Exam Season has been stressier than usual. Hay Fever Season is another biggie – I watch the pollen report, even though there’s not much I can do about it. The farming year dictates the smells, the mud, the dust, and the likelihood of getting stuck behind a tractor, and Grockle Season started early this year – an outbreak of windbreaks and pop-up tents on our local beach as the visitors invade; caravans and campers on our deep, narrow lanes. Our local ice-cream vans come out in March and disappear in October. The first cone is the start of something –  I’m not sure what.

We skin-swim all year, and suddenly it’s a pleasure, not a penance. We look a little slant-wise at the people swimming in wetsuits. They are missing out on the fiercest sensation of all.

 

seasons shift and flow
suns rise and set, tourists swim
the sea is always there

An unconventional haibun for Jilly at dVerse. 

Cradled

Those of us cradled gently,
basking in the warm gaze of the universe,
who blossomed quietly,
opening in love

we have deep roots

and we carry light within us,
and the silence of the living forest.

For Day 22 of Jilly’s month of Unreason. 

“The world that used to nurse us

now keeps shouting insane instructions.

That’s why I ran to the woods.”

~ Jim Harrison from Songs of Unreason

What is the question?

He was a man who gathered facts
what does moonlight taste like?
as if he could build a world from them,
who first fell in love? with whom?
snatched dates and data from the atmosphere,
what do flowers dream of?

cross-referenced, indexed, filed.
what colour are my eyes?
He questioned endlessly, collated
can you hear a sunbeam strike the ocean?

all the answers, in boxes first,
where did I leave my keys?
then just in piles, great tottering heaps
what noise do Saturn’s rings make?

that rose around him,
what’s the gestation period of the unicorn?
and still, the world eluded him.

where does love live?

For Jilly’s 28 Days of Unreason, where we are all Jim Harrison tribute acts. Today’s quotation is:

“I see today that everyone on earth

wants the answer to the same question

but none has the language to ask it.”

~ Jim Harrison from Songs of Unreason

She doesn’t want to write about love

She’s not going to write about love –
because everyone writes about love,
and everyone knows
that love is a rose
and love is a thorn,
and love is a glistening
bead of blood on a fingertip.

There’s so much more to life
than love – there’s moonlight,
and reading, and bottomless coffees,
but everyone knows that
love is a warm jolt of caffeine,
and love is a poem,
and love is the moon,
and love is a lone wolf howling,

and even when she strips
the metaphors out of her work,
writing a forest – a real one –
she drove there, and pressed her hand
into the bark of a tree
’til her palm was marked,
still everyone knows
that love is a tree,
and love is a forest,
and love is the road
that carries you there.

 

“Love is raw as freshly cut meat,

mean as a beetle on the track of dung”

~ Jim Harrison  from Songs of Unreason

 

Day 20 of this 28 day delve into the world of Jim Harrison. Jilly is hosting a month of Unreason. Check it out. There’s some great stuff being written there.

Babble

Did I babble? Did I spill the secrets

of my immediate desires, not deep,

not very deep, just basic stuff –

water.

Sleep.

Did I reveal myself, in my

vulnerability, my coming to,

my emerging from that hazing mist,

my brain stretching itself, releasing

small thought bubbles that had no

real life, just that primal craving –

water,

sleep.

“I’m quite tired of beating myself up to write.  I think I’ll start letting the words slip out like a tired child. “Can I have a piece of pie” he asks, and then he’s asleep back on the cusp of the moon.”

~ Jim Harrison from Songs of Unreason

That Jilly is totally unreasonable, expecting us to keep up with this challenge! Day 19 of 28 Jim Harrison prompts. 

Cycle – quadrille for dVerse

Pedal as fast as you can –

you can’t out-cycle death –

she’s right behind you,

thighs pumping, –

hair flying

no helmet.

Hide in the peleton –

she’ll find you out –

make a break for it –

she’ll reel you in –

ride hard, ride fast,

death always wins.

Cycle is the keyword for tonight’s quadrille, courtesy of Kim at dVerse. This is for all those middle aged men in lycra. 

Childhood ocean

Even inland children crave the sea –
these were my waters, cold Cornish coast, me
coming out shivering, blue-toed,
letting my crabline drop through
harbour water, long sunny days
sitting on hot stones, reading,
ice-creams and pasties, and all
the jolly little fishing smacks.

But sometimes, down there,
where the sun slants greenish
through the water,
I brushed against a myth.

 

“We’ll know as children again all that we are
destined to know, that the water is cold
and deep, and the sun penetrates only so far”
~ Jim Harrison from Death Again

Jilly’s keeping going, and so am I. Day 17 of 28 days of Unreason. Jim Harrison – the gift that keeps on giving.