Poems by Eileen Adele Hale
by Eileen Adele Hale
From Canary December 2008
Oh to be definite!
Oh, to know how to sing, where is my voice where is my breath,
Cry the mother that chained my voice down
Chained it to the ironing board with her headache, with her
With her suffering that my song could only pain like logs on a fire,
With her suffering brown and ice, blue and quiet, kitchen sinks
and dishes and girl scout songs forbidden
The lighteners of work like stones upon her brow, each note
My dance too hard the floor the chair, a livingroom full of books,
full of other souls' voices silent on the page,
My linoleum upstairs floor, the bare-naked light, my bare-naked
breasts in the mirror in the green swim
Undressing quietly and exploring my body in the mirror, in the
bare-naked light in the cold brittle winter,
In the dark light of mind of cold winter of separation from the bare
dark branches in the fresh wind,
Of being twelve feet above the solid earth and six inches away
from the earth's weather ---
Oh give it back!
The stones of the path, worn grass of the dance ground, thirty
trees to howl under, the sky blue and deep as ice;
The snake in the yew hedge, seasons of small dry leaf falls
caught in web slings, spiders' eyes, millipedes,
Segmented bodies and legs tickling the underfoot fall of all the
ripe and desiccated, yesterday's maple leaves, last year's birch seeds,
Lung spore gills and the pale of under, of hidden,
Castings of the worms of clean centuries.
Let me sing the sun up over the edge and through the arch of olive limbs,
sun-speckles stamping the floor of a grove of limitless serrated who am I kidding?
But let me anyway sing the rain in under, under the leaves verdant running small snakes
of the stuff that feeds the ground, fills our mouths and veins, ponds and puddles,
two-tailed mosquito larvae.
Flies in chickenshit, pine-tree-wind, can the freeway hum, bring in thunder.
Crack the street wide open down to bedrock, grass rooting, clover rooting, alfalfa
splitting the clay down deep and feeding worms!
The bass chant of the thunder, kettledrum splashes, the whine-stretched reflection
of trees deep into pond-sky,
Muck and cattails and frogs, the piping light of lightningbugs, the slow chase of stars
across the clean hours of night.
Hard edge of angled rock underthigh, the moist and rough smooth crystalline under
the cobalt night of stars and black tree edges, tree fingers into the cobalt, the
humming pale of the far edge of the lake and the nearby whisper of a mouse
Bats like inept dishcloths flapping in the dusk; a whisper of air on breast and side.
Breathe the night. Breathe the rain. Breathe air and stars, the points of
expanding into time.
Breathe the pace that night sets, breathe the tide, breathe with the beat of the earth.
Breathe for the cracking of the canyons of concrete, and the marching in
of the canyons of pine.
Breathe for the rotting of the rushing heaps of metal, the rubble of roads and the grass
growing over, the faultings of the splinters of concrete through the earth, the
new vales and valleys and hillocks heaped on the old blocks in new curves.
Breathe for the return of night and morning, for the song the sun sings as it walks across
the sky, for the dance of the moon and the stars streaming behind.
Breathe for us, for the holy, for our return to the earth.
Breathe for Noah's boat, for the rain and the night and the ocean;
Breathe for finding land again.
Breathe for all the water.
Breathe for the mud, and the worms in it.
Breathe for our bare toes, in the mud, with the worms.
Breathe for the trees.
© Eileen Adele Hale