Monday, February 21, 2005

I Shut the Box and It Became A Poem . . .

Come Mnemosyne and weep
Weep for the fast winds of summer brought bright in a silver key
Weep for childhood condensed into a circle of rubber
That fits inside my palm
Weep bright haired Titan for rings that seem made for a child’s fingers
Too slender to have ever been mine
Weep for midnight rituals, long kept vows,
For sisterhood, childhood, weep for the innocence
Of Saturday’s spent kicking the air in joy
Come Mnemosyne and weep for this spark of sulphur
I have saved and hoarded, snap it beneath your fingers
And give me again the silken cream moon over the Bay of Naples
Give me once more the awe in the face of the child
That stood beside me, gazing into a bowl
Of pink misted Vermont dawn,
Lady of Memory, give me back in the flash of this long kept flame
Both boys who loved me long ago, in Jackson

Weep Lady Mnemosyne for the blackstar giving child
Who needs became a hardened man too soon,
Weep for the girl with the lovebeads
who burned her candle hard at both ends
And burned it into nothing. Weep. Weep. Weep.
Weep Beautiful Titan for the body that moved across the floor
So fast that the air eclipsed and blurred
Weep for the joy that bloomed like miracles under my rib cage as I flew Weep for this still, silent chair
Weep for the twisting ache of empty desire that holds my heart now
Weep Mnemosyne, weep for the pain.

Weep Lady, weep for a boy, who was more than just a name and
The date he went down.
Weep Lady, Weep for LtJg Lee Benson.
Weep for March 17, 1968.
Weep for a War that had no meaning.
Weep for those who were lost and never found.
Weep for the thousands who died.
Weep Lady, Weep that they will not listen to you even now,
You who know, you who remember.
Weep, Lady, weep, bitter tears of frustration
As they carelessly do the same thing again.
As if they had no

Weep with me Lady for these small paper memories
The sweet nights of youth, weep for the music,
The crowds and the lights that wove into the everything of it
Weep for the hard-driving sound that defined my generation,
Which beat in the blood and pounded the body whole
The soft ballads, beautiful poetry kissed with music,
Weep with a smile, for the mystery never meant to be solved
Left an enigma of puberty, Cleopatra the Queen of thirteen,
Egypt, the secret password of twelve, mystical sealed tombs
Hold the mystery of life, which was never about growing up

Weep Memory, for the Lady I miss whose soft gnarled hands
Worked this broach. Weep Lady Memory, stay here and weep, for
All who have gone and all who will go, leaving things . . . corporal Things to hold in the hand and yet who leave no spark to speak,
No hand to touch, no answer when I call . . .

Mnemosyne, Lady Memory, Titan of the Gorgeous Hair,
Weep, that you come to me much so sharply
Are we companions too clearly you and I?
You have blessed others with softening grey and with shadows
With sponges that drink the ink of the scene
But it all comes penetrating, clear-cut and incisive to me
I hear, I see, I smell, I remember . . .

Will you weep with me Lady?
Have you blessed me or cursed me?

Weep for a love lost, not forgotten, still bound by a small golden band. Your hands on my shoulders Mnemosyne
You let nothing slip by or turn softly to sand.
Weep for this wide open nautilus that came from a far distant sea
Weep for the brown eyes I never have seen
The hands that I never have touched

Who do you become beautiful Titan
If your face turns away from the past?
If you looked out into the future
Would you be someone different at last?
Would your focus and face be changed
Would the change run shallow or deep?
If you turned your face into the future
Lady, would you cease to weep?

©Edwina Peterson Cross


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