Two Hours Before Rain... and After
Last night I sat on the patio watching and listening as the weather changed. I was fascinated by how the feel of the wind and the open-air sounds altered as rain slowly approached.
Two Hours Before Rain
There's a scent of rain at sundown.
Air moves uneasily,
But all the green things are grateful,
Drawing hope from the moisture
Within its slender gusts.
Thrashers call to each other,
Multiplying their echoes in the rising air,
While the doves' wings beat anxiously
As they vault in and out of the mesquite.
Gray spreads slow and vast as evening falls,
And behind follows a mist,
Half dust, half cloud,
As the drylands wait for water.
Sonnet in Pain
Those moments when the heart has grown too numb
To read the mind’s black-lettered pages, crisp
And clean, wherein the tide of words may sum
All things except the pain the heart will lisp
As in its cradle ere the brain began
To straighten out the crooked paths of hurt,
And make them plain and simple, form a plan
For living day to day without the spurt
Of life’s blood every time the sun went down
Or unkind word was spoke or hope was slain
Or kindness met with silence, smile with frown
Or terror roused or day commenced with pain.
I wait for heart to soar where mind has flown
And for the mind to read what heart has known.
This week has seen some disappointing news of a delay and possible contract failure on the sale of our house in Missouri. What should have been completed shortly after we moved out has drug on and on, and our potential income from it has dropped since we learned of serious repairs that are needed. Those will have to be carried out by the buyer, but we are leaving some of the sale proceeds in escrow to allow the buyer to get the work done. In other words, we are effectively paying a pre-determined lump sum for the repairs though the buyer will oversee them.
The worst of it is the delay in needed money here—above all, the funds to set up fencing for my beloved horses, forcing me to leave them boarded longer, far away from my day-to-day life.
I wrote the above poem describing some of the relationship between the heart and the mind with the pain I am feeling. And it leads me to add some comments about the nature of writing creatively.
I know that I am speaking counter to accepted, professional wisdom here, but I do speak from the standpoint of experience. I come from a background of having endured many, many years of emotional and physical abuse, and I am stating what I know to be true in my own life.
I do not write poetry as a release for my pain. I do not write it because it is cathartic to express these things, to give them some sort of release through art. I write to be read. That is, I write in order to somehow communicate the good and the bad.
Usually I stick with the good, but sometimes I need to know that the pain has also found expression and an ear. Isolation was one of the constant forms abuse took for me. I was removed from school at age eleven to be “homeschooled” (even that effectively ceased at fourteen, after which I mostly taught myself). Later I spent many years leaving the house perhaps once or twice a month, carefully chaperoned through basic shopping by an ever-present mother. Through a long period in my adult life, I went out entirely by myself perhaps twice in ten years. The price I paid in terms of hostility once I returned was not worth it.
My final break was, in fact, partially the result of my attempting to go out more often independently. There were many other aspects, but it was a major contributing issue.
Why am I writing all this today? Partly because I’m feeling vulnerable to the chance of things going badly wrong financially, though that probably won’t happen. And partly because I want to speak a little more freely about my poetry. Why I write it. How I think about it.
As far as I am concerned, it’s a means to communication. It’s never an end in itself. I don’t have the heart to tap words out with no chance of them ever being read. I’ve known isolation far too well to do that; it withers the will and the doing.
In that sense I am so grateful to you, my readers. It is you who complete my work by reading, listening with the mind’s ear. I tell you what I see and think; I hope it bears meaning in your minds and lives, somehow.
Each of us has a unique vision, a way of seeing life and the things around us. To share our visions… that is the language of the poet, the artist, the musician, the language of any creative work.
Humans have always survived by communicating with each other. In this era of confusion, lockdowns, and social isolation, it is important to keep opening the channels of communication, whatever they may be.
For me, that includes poetry. Thank you again for helping complete it by your reading.
Wow. What an open-hearted message. Thank you for sharing your "why" of writing poetry. I truly hope the financial position will improve, so yo can get your horses closer to you. I'll keep reading :)