Wednesday, February 04, 2009

I Close My Eyes


Maybe it seems ironic to close one's eyes to see. But when we shut out the pressing world, we can open our memories. There in the dark, we dig for what was and find that we need companions like courage, joy, curiosity, grief, and hope. Such companions help us open this or that box... maybe the big locked one in the far corner (our father's leaving), or perhaps just a small one on the attic sill (a happy adventure with a brother or sister).

This morning I stayed in bed just a little bit longer and kept my eyes closed. I thought about the lovely place where I grew up. I wrestled with the news my sister had shared (as a result of a previous post): some of the beauty of that place has been swallowed up in housing development. There is no bringing it back, except to put a piece of it into poetry.

'The Return'

I close my eyes
blot out one hundred
and fifty shale driveways
pickup trucks, Ford
pintos, trailers barely
tied to this ground
by wires, gas lines
cable TV.

I can still see
dirt road, Queen
Anne's Lace, goldenrod
blue chicory
field mice nesting
under leaning timothy
and the apple orchard
rooted beyond tall firs

where a woman
in navy sweat pants,
red Budweiser t-shirt
is just now hanging laundry
to drift upon the wind,
sing with ghosts
of spring white
blossoms, honeybees.

If you would like to participate in the invitation to see and possibly be featured at High Calling Blogs, post your contribution by Thursday afternoon. And don't be afraid to call on the helping companion you need: courage, joy, curiosity, grief or hope. I look forward to seeing what you see.

Photo by Amy Fabbri. Used with permission.

The Seeing, at High Calling Blogs

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

i enjoyed very much what you saw.

i like how you used the orchard
rooted ...and a lot of the other words as well.

3:00 PM  
Blogger Billy Coffey said...

I've tried keeping one eye opened to the pressing world and the other closed for memories. I often trip. So I just sit, smile, and close both.

Lovely poem, too.

3:47 PM  
Blogger Nikki said...

Your words are lovely, as always.

Again, I decided to take you up on the challenge. My latest efforts are in my most recent blog post. I hope you won't mind that at least on of the images that drew me was dark and somber. It's not the stuff of orchards and laughter and warm apple pies, but I can see it like it was yesterday.

4:20 PM  
Blogger Katrina said...

I, too, can see this...

is just now hanging laundry
to drift upon the wind, seems my mother was always hanging out laundry in the warm months.

I really enjoyed that middle section as well... so descriptive!

I just love the way you write! :o)

...Remember you wanted to hear more of the open prairie? ... I've posted a few photo's and words of such over at my blog... I would love to have you come see...

6:36 PM  
Blogger Joelle said...

The contrasts you paint with such vivid, precise wording are the perfect juxtapositions. Past and present. Country lane, crowded street. Love the image of trailers hardly tied to earth, perhaps as transient as your memories, or more so. They too shall give way to something other, welcome or unwelcome. Thank you for sharing this sacred, now perhaps desecrated, place with us.

7:32 PM  
Blogger Kim said...

The following words will not leave my head!

I close my eyes, only for a moment,
and the moment's gone
All my dreams, pass before my
eyes, a curiosity
Dust in the wind............

Really, if I had wanted to go back to Kansas, I would have made the treck of no return up my attic stairs to try to find that album.

OK. Now that I've gotten that out of my system :) I also wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed this poem. I LOVE the first stanza, and the woman makes me smile.

9:21 PM  
Blogger Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

Beautiful details in this poem.

I've enjoy this series you're running, but I'm way too swamped to take up any of your challenges. I'll keep reading though.

9:47 PM  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

Yes, I've experienced a bit of that phenomena myself. I'll have to try it soon again. People might wonder what's up if they see my eyes closed with a faint smile on my face, or more likely if they see me slumped over something and fast asleep.

All kidding aside, I do think that can help us remember. And I sooner than later will be going back to my good times as a boy with Grandpa B.

5:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm... I was directed to your blog by recomendation.

Little did I know you'd write on sensation!

Just Kidding... I'm not writing a poem! You know, your thought is solid, poetry is relevant and fluid, however, I was told we write alike... but I think I may have taken the initial draw and gone somewhere unexpected.

fun piece, I will be back!

2:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh my...

an ache in my throat in sympathy for i mourn just such things.

often i stop and hold our woods in view for a long time - anchoring them in some deep mind place against the days when houses creep in and trees tumble down.

and i try not to be angry for that future...inevitable. we must be content that we had days to stop and hold, yes?

i rarely seem to have the time to join your writing/poetry challenges, but i like to come here and drink thanks for letting me peep in.

8:39 PM  
Blogger Craver Vii said...

I close my eyes and see... fajitas. Yes, that's right. My wife told me that's what she's making for dinner, and I can't get it out of my head. Aah, sweet anticipation!

3:33 PM  
Blogger Rebekah said...

This has been such a wonderful thing for me to do. I needed to close my eyes and "see" her. It was important for me to see her without shame and ugliness. I despised her for so long because she was despised by someone who was supposed to love her the most. I haven't wanted to revisit, but that shame and those feelings of worthlessness haunt me and have so much to do with who I am today and how I still see myself. It is been vital for me to go back and see her differently. This exercise helped me along in a process where much healing is needed.

I love reading your words. Beautiful.

4:44 PM  
Blogger Laura said...


I feel a ghostly grief as I read these words...

These things loom so large when eyes are closed: the roots from which we came.

I received your book in the mail yesterday (could not wait until my birthday) and am savoring each word.

You bless so.

8:07 PM  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...


I just removed my "blogs' most recent posts". Hopefully that will remove all the annoying links from my blogs to other blogs. And for whatever reason, your blog seems to be inundated by them the most.

So hopefully that will make a difference.

7:45 AM  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

ahhhh... nice to see all those links are now gone. Took a little time. I'm back to the old fashioned way I guess, and that's fine.

11:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Her eyes have shut.
Lashes upon cheek,
Their tender edges

Where thoughts collect
In the slow sleep of

Inside her head, at
Her fingertips, played
On the soles of her feet

Words spoken, sung
Dreams dreamed, forgotten
Streets walked, run

Seeing there,
The newness
The corner turned

The bubbling red
The hot white
The darting blue

12:10 PM  

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