Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tuesday Poem - Jade


"Hold this," he says
kneeling on air.
"This stone
is alive." But she
is five and unprepared
for such magic.

The frozen sea
rolls itself over
in her trembling hands
and now her bottom lip
is trembling, too. She
cannot see for sobbing
is quite unable to stop
the quaking, stop
the jade

It cracks
the kitchen floor
stains the concrete

The room is dim
and small. It quickly fills
with fish that flash
a sudden squall of men
the whip and slide
of kelp, the smell of gulls
and thunder circling.


I've been 'elsewhere' these past two weeks; I imagine you've noticed how skinny my recent posts have been as well as how dismally few comments I've left on your blogs lately? Sorry. I've been wrestling with daemon and demons alike, and - not unlike the five year old in this week's poem - found myself uncharacteristically 'unprepared for such magic.' There's been something Herculanian about this latest chapter in terms of tasks and asks. This may sound dramatic but truly, I can't recall tackling an obstacle course quite like this one before. I've made a right show of myself, too, coming face-to-face with my Beauty and my Beast and getting to know each of them better and a whole lot more bluntly than once upon a time. You could say I've been doing some grueling dueling.

But I digress...

Back to things jade; pounamu is a myth-rich stone. (For overseas readers, pounamu is the Maori word for jade or greenstone). Pick up a piece and it invites 'reading', to be entered like a landscape.


The Gulf calamity continues to haunt me. I'm unable to paint or draw anything but that right now and don't expect to be able to for a long, long while.

Click here for more Tuesday poems.

And for good measure, a wordless offering from the sea.


  1. A lovely lyric, Claire,

    I hope you're well and that the beauty won't repel the beast.

    Your epigram from Roethke says it all. My Kavanagh has something similar: "Love's doorway to life is the same doorway everywhere ..."
    The small, unassuming gesture is the key -- a pelican smothered in oil and unable to lift a wing.

  2. This poem weeps and rages and contains - a little like the light held in a piece of pounamu. Go well ... take care ...

  3. It cracks
    the kitchen floor
    stains the concrete

    The sounds! I hear them.

    Take care of yourself, dear Claire.

  4. Courage Claire. Lovely to see you posting here and such a powerful poem, too. The power the pounamu holds eh? You've said this to me before, but the prose that comes after your poem has the bones of a poem there. Lovely writing. Kia kaha. X

  5. I'm agreeing with the others and seeing, also, in the kelp, torso and arms, bones and hair — poems, too. Good you're back, brave one.

  6. I love the trembling lip...
    and wish you a good battle with the demons...thanks

  7. oh, i loved this claire...felt every word.

    in relation to the Gulf, the comment i read recently that struck my heart--and my passion for language--is that the word "spill" to describe what has happened is the most surreal, most inadequate expression...
    as tho it were a splatter from a cup of coffee.

  8. Dear John
    Wise words, thank you... 'I hope... that the beauty won't repel the beast.' I hope not too. Both would stand to benefit if they could befriend each other.

    Kavanagh and Roethke are masterful, synthesizers both of them (and surely well-acquainted with both Beauty and Beast?)

    And yes, I agree with you about the small, unassuming gesture... every ONE helps. EVERYone helps.
    L, C

  9. Dear Kay

    You know the stone; the way it both holds light and emits it. It's somehow hard and soft at the same time; penetrable and impenetrable.

    Thank you for your good wishes. L, C x

  10. I appreciate your finely-tuned ear, Mim, your capacity for deep listening. Thank you - L, C x

  11. Hi Mary - thanks, thanks.

    I wonder, would you be able to suggest a response to 'kia kaha" that carries a similar timbre? I would love to be able to return the greeting, offer a blessing - back to you.

    All is well, even when it doesn't necessarily feel entirely straightforward...

    Namaste. L, C x

  12. Hi Pen - the body in kelp; kelp as the body. A poem whichever way you look at it? Thank you. xx

  13. Dear Melissa - battling with our demons can be very good indeed. Tough but sometimes absolutely necessary?

    Thank you for this very welcome message and for your way of acknowledging the place these processes have in the bigger scheme of things. L, C x

  14. Oh Susan, I agree. I agree. We're on the same page... A 'spill'? The term is utterly incongruous. Why, it's a haemorrhage, a slough, a bleed so torrential that no amount of bandages and plasters can put a stop to it. The earth is weeping, protesting, announcing its distress in no uncertain terms.
    What can we possibly do to apologize or make it better?

    As John suggests ... the small unassuming gesture is where healing starts?