Penelope Connor — ink girl poet
There are raindrops
in my coffee cup
between my toes.
The sky is clouded
with questions and
I cannot even begin
the asking, because
I see in your stormy eyes
that you haven’t yet
captured the answers.
So, I sit watching water
pool in the bowl
of my upturned poem
and try not to slip into
the swiftly flowing stream,
that washes sand
from the place where
curb and street embrace.
I catch sight of her
in the passing mirror.
She is not the me
I remember being there.
In your eyes, I see
you too have glimpsed her–
subtle changes that surprise,
like a stranger, staring
across a crowded room.
There’s shift in the tenor
of my own rich voice.
I have a new way
of reaching for my glass,
or for your hand.
I feel as if I’m on a test drive
in someone else’s body–
in someone else’s mind.
My heart has always been
this strong and fearless,
but not the rest of me–
until you began to push.
Now I see her, growing
stronger and more true.
I believed you, when
you said I really could.
Now I catch myself
staring at a new me.
“… whatever you desire of the world will not come to pass exactly as you will like it. But the other mercy is that whatever the world desires of you will also not come to pass. And what actually occurs is this meeting, this frontier. But it’s astonishing how much time human beings spend away from that frontier, abstracting themselves out of their bodies, out of their direct experience, and out of a deeper, broader, and wider possible future that’s waiting for them if they hold the conversation at that frontier level.”
“…one of the elemental dynamics of self-compassion is to understand our deep reluctance to be left to ourselves.”
“…we don’t get to choose so often between things we hope we can choose between.”
“Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.”
“Half of all human experience is mediated through loss and disappearance.”
– David Whyte – Excerpted from “The Conversational Nature of Reality”an On Being podcast with Krista Tippett (April 6, 2016)
“Everything is Waiting for You.”
Your great mistake — Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone. Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone. As if life
were a progressive and cunning crime
with no witness to the tiny hidden
transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny
the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely,
even you, at times, have felt the grand array;
the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding
out your solo voice
You must note
the way the soap dish enables you,
or the window latch grants you courage.
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
The stairs are your mentor of things
to come, the doors have always been there
to frighten you and invite you,
and the tiny speaker in the phone
is your dream-ladder to divinity.
The tiny speaker in the phone
is your dream-ladder to divinity.
Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into
the conversation. The kettle is singing
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
have left their arrogant aloofness and
seen the good in you at last. All the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves. Everything, everything, everything is waiting for you.
There is a conversation in me between comfort and pain. It’s not just the pain of sadistic / masochistic play, it’s also the pain of sorrow, of disappointment, and of separation. There is a pain in aloneness, sometimes. I both crave and resist being alone, feeling alone, and being still long enough to hear what my body, my mind and my heart are saying to me in the silence.
Lately the Universe, or the powers that be, have seen fit to give me a season of more aloneness than that with which I am entirely comfortable. I’ve been kicking against the riding crop, balking at what cannot rightly be avoided. l’ve been stubborn, depressed, at times inconsolable. l’ve been blind to what I might gain from accepting the truth and the possibility of good from an experience of change that is filled with increased aloneness, disapointment and a deep sense of loss.
I am reminded today that sorrow is waiting for me, she is my companion, here to keep me company, to help me, to sit with me and teach me, carry me, help me find myself… until her job is done. I need to welcome her, and accept that the loss I’m feeling is a part of life — unavoidable, but completely embraceable — perhaps even something to celebrate as a reason to stretch and grow.
And sorrow is not alone. There are other companions, waiting for me. So, the questions are these: ”What else keeps me company when I feel alone, and what am I missing out on,when I succumb to loneliness?” Here is an incomplete list:
There are books waiting for me. These are books that lend their voices, whisper to me of love and life, of living fully, celebrating and dancing in the sun, lying beneath the stars, gazing at the moon. These are books that remind me there are adventures to have and ideas to explore. There are my own philosophies to challenge and there is my own growth to encourage.
There are songs waiting for me. Lyrics and melodies wait patiently, to offer me comfort, commiseration, inspiration and energy. Songs wait to move me, to prompt dancing, to jump-start poetry, to trigger smiles and tears, and memories.
There are trees waiting for me. They beckon me to walk and run, to lose myself in the woods, to push and to stretch my muscles, to work and to sweat, to tire my body and quiet my mind. They offer peace, solace, connection with my own breath, and my own soul.
There are baubles and trinkets, stones and feathers, scraps of leather, paper, ribbon— so many mementos— that lie waiting for me, on tables and on shelves, in bowls and in boxes, to bring to mind, with the touch of my fingers, the truth. I am not ever, truly alone. I am surrounded by active, purposeful, deliberate love. Mementos of date nights, of personal challenges, milestones, accomplishments and anniversaries are everywhere– gathered by my own hands to surround me with their energy and meaning.
There are also beds and chairs that hold me, support my tired weight. There are shoes and cars that carry me. There are paints and brushes, ink and pens, paper and canvas that invite me to express my emotion, to create and play.
David Whyte suggests that we’d be better suited in our solitude to join the conversation that is waiting with these several companions. They each have something to say, and even, perhaps, speak to each other in conversation as well. It would be a shame if I should get so caught up in my aloneness, that I miss the stories they have to tell me, the questions they ask and answer, and the wisdom they offer. It’s time for me to engage, to find my gratitude, and to listen and speak. With these and so many other voices in my perceived isolation — truly, I am not alone.
We’ve not been down this road before.
So, take my hand. I’ll follow you,
through the unknown and struggles, new.
We’ll face them, hand in hand — explore.
I know that change can feel like war.
Our minds resist the growth that’s due.
We’ve not been down this road before,
So, take my hand. I’ll follow you.
We’ll fight and climb until we’re sore.
We’ll make this path our triumph too,
and find the summit, drink the view.
We’ll spread our wings. We’ll leap and soar–
though we’ve not walked this road before.
Poetic Asides #April Poem-A-Day Challenge – PAD #5:
For today’s prompt, we’ve actually got two prompts (that is, a Two-for-Tuesday prompt). Here we go:
1. Write an experienced poem
2. Write an inexperienced poem
The word “experience” can be applied to a multitude of things and situations. Soo… there’s a lot of possibilities today!
POETIC FORM INFO:
The poetic form focus for my PAD 2016 Challenge is the Rondeau — 13 lines in 3 stanzas; rhyme scheme: ABba/abAB/abbaA (uppercase letters are refrains) Usually 8 syllables per line. For info: http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/poetic-asides/personal-updates/help-me-rondeau-help-help-me-rondeau-another-french-poetic-form
Listen to A New Road by Penelope Connor #np on #SoundCloud
There’s something calming about ironing my Wolf’s dress shirt, and pressing the pleats into her kilt. One night, I was able to surprise her, by blacking and polishing her boots. I found in that process something ritualistic, methodical and centering. I ask her, sometimes, to let me do these things, just so I can let the world go, and pull my scattered thoughts into a quiet, orderly place. These are acts of service that do so very much for my spirit, my body and my mind. It’s hard to describe. Somehow they make things right in my head.
It hasn’t been that long ago, I was dealing with some major life stresses, and she kidnapped me on a Saturday morning. She took me hiking, and though I wasn’t sure I could manage the rocky and hilly terrain, the goal was so tempting, I had to try. We made our way to a fallen tree, lakeside, and she sat me down in a comfortable fork with my back against the bark. She had me put headphones on, close my eyes, and breathe. Restricting outside sensory input, she stepped away and watched over me, while I sat in silence, and allowed my over-thinking brain to let go. The sun warmed my skin, the wind and the water sounds were faint in the background, and she was there, protecting and caring for me. It was a simple and phenomenal feeling. She made it right.
This weekend, we had a long talk about what we were doing in our relationship with the D/s dynamic energy, and how that works in tandem with my other relationships. It was a heavy conversation about the hurts of my past, and my defensive way of restricting D/s dynamics across my polyamorous relationships. In the past, I’d been so hurt by Shepherd’s abandonment, that I’d effectively talked myself out of the need for a 24-7 dominant. I’d convinced myself that I was better suited to a design where I pieced together the dynamics I needed or wanted across my very egalitarian polyamorous relationships.
I could count on Traveler for minimal structure, for the push, the keeping me honest and the mind-fuck. I could get a different sort of emotional support and creative push from my Star-Stuff Rocket Man, along with the occasional play that would give me a taste of the pain I missed so desperately. I’d been talking with The Professor for some time, about D/s play, and looking forward to exploring with him — and had even broached the subject with my Dragon — but the truth was in every case that I was still maintaining control. I was meting it out as I saw fit, trusting each to a degree, but not completely — not like I’d done before, with Shepherd. I couldn’t imagine risking that deeply ever again, and that says a lot for me, because I am the girl who takes risks for love.
When I struggle with being too much human, too much emotion, too much stress, she quiets me — gives me a strength to push against, and shuts out the world. I’ve been calling her my Wolf, and “Sir”, for months now. The truth is that I knew she was going to take that role in my world, from sometime between that first five hour conversation, and the night when we slipped out of potluck discussion for a smoke break and I asked her if we could talk about something. I was anxious, and vibrating with so much resonance, that I knew every person in my home could feel it, and it must be painted all over my face. I didn’t know it at the time, but she was just as keyed up and nervous as I, hyper-aware of every move I made and as cognizant of where I was physically, in relation to her as I was, her to me.
What I am learning, is that she does have the capacity for my fullness. She is wired to be the kind of dominant I need, and can offer me the time and energy that will allow me to let go completely. She has from the start been committed to making room for my other relationships and the different D/s energies they have. I’ve known in my body and spirit for months — that if anyone was going to be a full time dominant to me, she was fully capable, and she was the right one. My brain is only recently catching up.
Every few days, she does something new that amazes me, reminds me why she fills that role in my life. Saturday night, I asked her to make all the choices about where we went, what we did, what we ate — to keep me close, restrict my movements, my focus, remind me that with her, I could let go. As we were getting ready to go out, she pulled her boots from the closet, and asked me to put them on her, and lace them up. It was the first time I’d done so, since I’d blacked and polished them for her. As I was lacing them up, she pointed out the over-under pattern I had used — the one I always use with my own boots — and I realized that I hadn’t told her. I didn’t check the laces before I removed them. I had no idea how they’d been laced before I went to work on them.
She told me then that the way I’d done them was not the way they’d been. But that the way I’d done them was the way I would do them going forward. It was now the right way. When I protested, asking her to show me the way she preferred, she made it clear that rather than correct me after I put so much effort and love into making her boots look amazing, she did the thing that was most right in her eyes. She made the way I laced her boots the correct way, and informed me that to do it differently in the future would bring consequences.
She quieted me. She made it right – and that is amazing.
I’d give you my world, baby if I could.
take you on a trip through my lovely wood —
but the nightingale lost her voice today,
so your tears have fallen just as they should.
I know sometimes you must go your own way.
I can’t smooth your path, take your pain away.
Though you do not climb this mountain alone,
you must face your fears; you can win the day.
I will walk with you, over every stone,
lend my voice to cheer you on, when you groan.
I’ll wipe your tears, when it’s hard and you cry —
believe you can win this fight, blood and bone.
You’ll find your own wings, I’ll run as you fly,
race along the forest floor, watch the sky —
as you chase the nightingale, be nearby,
when you reach the moon, howl your lullaby.
interlocking rubaiyat – comprised of quatrains following an aaba rhyme pattern. Each successive quatrain picks up the unrhymed line as the rhyme for that stanza. So a three-stanza rubaiyat might rhyme so: aaba/bbcb/ccdc. Sometimes the final stanza, as in Frost’s example above, rhymes all four lines. Lines are usually tetrameter and pentameter.
FOR MORE INFO: http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/interlocking-rubaiyat-poetic-form
These long nights etch frost
across our window panes.
We are the slow, tired reply,
heavy with winter’s sleep.
Let’s draw the cloak of longing–
curl into our hollow spaces,
inspire the waning heat of
our own, too-shallow breath.
There’s in us yet, a reaching.
Limbs promising new growth
itch under stubborn bark–
breathless for season’s change.
Sap whispers in our branches.
Murmurs wake us in the night.
Rumors stirring wild imagination,
hope kindles these dry bones.
We’ll soon wake from slumber,
bathe our faces in the morning.
Our weary nights are numbered;
–here comes the blessed light.