Beauty in ugliness – a poem

I am an expert in not seeing –
my eyes can slide from face to belly
without registering what’s between –
smooth as the cool glass in the mirror –

they don’t stop

I am skilled in the fine art
of ignoring. I don’t see the thin line
where the blade bit me. I don’t see
the surgeon’s skill

there is no feeling

that line marks me, scrawled across my skin,
but under it there is the beauty
of scalpel, needle, years of training –
all those years of study given to me

by his steady hand

and my clean cells linking binding,
their interdigitation, their blind purpose,
has its own beauty. My skin weaving itself
my muscles cleaving to each other

in a blue womb.

Mish is hosting at dVerse tonight and asks us to look for the beauty in ugliness. Sometimes that’s hard to do. 

 

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.

Waiting – haibun for dVerse

We are driving across Richmond Park, in a sad procession of cars. None of us want to be here, but we’ve all made our journeys, and here we are. The traffic’s stopped for a moment, and we are waiting here, right here, appreciating the pause – a space to breathe and be silent, before what will come next. It’s beautiful here. We can see why you loved it, why you came here when you wanted to breathe. It’s bleak, though. The January sky is bone white, and everywhere is grey – the trees, the ground, even the deer that gather and rest, so close to us, so tame. We are waiting to move off again, when suddenly there’s a flash of green movement – a parakeet – sudden, incongruous, wildly glamorous. It’s like a message from you, reminding us that life is fun – your favourite word – and that we should remember you with cocktails, and silk scarves, and laughter. One day we’ll manage that. I promise.

Sudden green arrow
Piercing the grey winter light
Promise of laughter.

This is for Raj, who walked away from us two weeks ago, and left the world a little duller, a little greyer, a little less glamorous. She carried her life like a bouquet of roses, and shared the scent and colour with us all. DVerse is asking for waiting haibuns. It seemed to fit.DVerse