Monday, October 19, 2009

All Aboard!

(Photo from Flickr - Click here for source.)

Hear the engine roar! TFE's Poetry Bus is on the move, taking us, this week, to places we might not want to go. Okay, fellow travelers, I'll hold your hands, and you hold mine, and we'll face the demons together. Safety in numbers, right?

The Followers
by Sandra Leigh

When we are very young,
when the world is ours to make,
when our hard-won power is at its giddy peak,
even then, death is a hungry shadow slouched
behind every open door, every velvet drapery.
Silken, smooth as Johnny Depp in a soft grey fedora,
he licks at the eager hollows of our necks,
whispering seductive poetry
of dark annihilation, and we listen.

We listen, tempted,
goose-flesh peppering every limb,
flushed and faint from the hot confusion
of contrary impulses, warring desires.
Is it sex we want, or death?
Or is it, perhaps, to die of sex?

The wonder of us, the luminous beauty,
the capacity for joy, the moist glow of skin
the electric touch of skin on skin,
break our startled hearts, stop us in our tracks
just when we most need strong pumps to move us,
and the sudden knowledge that this shuddering joy,
this arrogant perfection, cannot last forever
is more than we can bear, and the sibilant urging
to end it, end it now, while it still shines,
before time and toil and sadness have gnawed it away,

rings like music,
glows like a distant star.
And sometimes, sometimes
we follow it
into the cold forever.


Karen said...

How poignantly lovely this is, Sandra. Your command of our beautiful language is amazing. I read something like this, and I just shake my head in wonder that someone has articulated this remarkable truth that I already know in my bones.

There are too many images to point out the ones that strike me; let it suffice that I am in awe of your talent.

AngelMay said...

What Karen said. Except I will add that I don't really think you need anyone to hold your hand as far as poetry goes. :)

Poetikat said...

Wow! The sex/death line is compelling.
"Or is it perhaps, to die of sex?" That's quite a question!

"this arrogant perfection, cannot last forever."

I liked this one very much.

Jeanne Iris said...

I'm sorry, I'm still thinking about Johnny Depp, whispering in my ear... ;)
This poem has a mellifluous feel to it. I like it a lot.

John Hayes said...

What a moving meditation on the issues raised by "Lady Lazarus" & Plath's own life. A beautiful poem, one of your very best. The enoy is beautifully handled, with the shorter crisper lines after the more stately lines thru the main body of the poem.

Sandra Leigh said...

Ah, how wonderful - to sleep in after a hard week, then wake up to find these bouquets at my virtual door. Thank you, everyone.

And Jeanne, I'm afraid you'll have to do battle with Willow to get close to Johnny!

P Nolan said...

Beautiful pacing - finely threaded imagery plaits(!) into that heart-crumpling final stanza. Nice one, you.

Totalfeckineejit said...

The whole thing is wonderful, the final stanza is magnifico!Sex and Death, there's nothing more, right?I know you are meaning a bright young shiny death here but when I was really ill and thought I might die I almost saw death as the embrace of a woman and was close to taking that final kiss as a release.No small coincidence that the French call orgasm 'the little death.'Really great poem Tangxzs ye!

Dominic Rivron said...

Thought this was good - particularly the first verse. Love the "licks at the eager hollows of our necks".

I don't know if you know, but in French there is an expression for orgasm, "the little death", or "la petite mort". The expression goes beyond sex, to describe one's experience of art.

It even has its own wikipedia page!

Titus said...

Sandra, this is a stunner. Absolute truth in the poem, loved the use of Johnny Depp as the seductive death and the third stanza was astonishing on a number of levels.
And that precise, curtailed end - "the cold forever."

Wickedly good.

Sandra Leigh said...

P Nolan, TFE, Dominic, Titus - thank you all.

TFE, I'm so glad you resisted that beautiful lady. We would all have missed you - and who would have driven the bus? I'm pretty sure I speak for all your passengers when I say that we are having a fabulous time. My only complaint is that you've run out of goat cheese. That will be rectified by next week, right?

Totalfeckineejit said...

I'll get the goat on to it, tout suite!

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