As we end National Poetry Month, and NAPOWRIMO for 2020 I turn to Dylan Thomas, and the two poems of his that subconsciously, and not so subconsciously, color my work. "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night" is almost a mantra with me, so much so, that I borrowed the phraseology to tell people at my Humor and Well-Being presentations "Don't go gently! Go Laughing!" And the second meaningful poem "and death will have no dominion" casts a long shadow over yesterday's poem. As I once spend a summer reading all the works of Shirley Jackson, to discover the broader scope of her work, with one foot in humor and one foot in horror, it may be time to rediscover Thomas, and add another literary root to my creative tree.
This year, as every year, I title my April poems "The Cruellest Month," and for the most part, it has been a metaphor. However, this year, April was indeed cruel, bringing death under her wings like rain, raising up the flowers of mourning. Her sister May could end up being just as merciless at worst, and a valley of tears at best.
So, tonight I bid April 2020 farewell, she the bringer of a personally significant birthday, amid anxiety, fear and anger, and the balancing power of love. The stuff of my poetry for sure.
“I am glad you are here with me. Here at the end of all things, Sam.”
Frodo Baggins to Sam Gamgee― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
"The end...is just a little harder, when brought about by friends..."
Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tim Rice, Jesus Christ Superstar
"Oh what a world.."
Margaret Hamilton, as the melting Wicked Witch of the West, The Wizard of Oz
The Sacred Heart
iconography of childhood
the heart of Jesus encircled by thorns
representing the pain we cause
felt for all eternity
even while living in Paradise
an image to shame our sins
inspire us to holy lives
the Immaculate Heart of Mary
encircled with flowers
is pierced with seven swords
because the heart of a mother bears
the blossoms she tendered in her garden
alongside the wounds of maternity
sorrows too painful to bear
hanging side by side in the church
like grandparents in old fashioned clothes
not smiling just staring
their hands levitating their hearts
outside of their bodies
flaming like the candles
we light for special intentions
all I can think of is
falling on the thorns of life
ten swords impaling me from behind
my mother heart stitched many times over
my feet stomping on serpents and legos
refusing to say good-bye
when they leave, one by one
icons are only as valuable
as the jewels with which they are encrusted
eyes expressionless and dead
peering out from bodies
from which the heart has been removed
unlike my heart, which bleeds every day
pain born of love, not sin.
©2020 Noreen Braman