Guest Post – Melissa Snyder Novak

I don’t do this enough – act as generous host to other poets, whether established or otherwise. Let’s rectify that, shall we? Today, I’m proud to offer this wonderful piece by good friend, Melissa Snyder Novak. I trust it takes you to similar places that it takes me.

Enjoy…

Cliff Walk

In the summer of my soul,

the waves crash against

the jagged cliffs of memory.

My heart, burning sun-hot,

draws a mist of longing from these eyes.

All thought, suspended.

All desire, unfurled.

 

Along this rugged cliff walk journey,

the misshapen boulders line up –

leading me to places previously unknown,

down, deep-soul’d places.

I walk unsteady, uncertain, afraid, holding out hands

for you to guide me in mystic vision, sweet.

But, once again, you are gone.

 

Feet sink and slide in sand, and

I struggle to press on, breathe, know –

Will you be there when I arrive?

Will you meet me?

Will you help me see the small, shattered edge-stone pieces of shell

that wait for foot to fall?

 

Waves push, invite –

Will I let myself be swallowed by your sea?

Will I open to your crushing waters?

Excruciating, this pleasing thought of being overtaken by you,

sweet uncertainty.

 

In the summer of my soul, alas,

the deep darkness begins to rise,

even against the backdrop of midday sun.

Winter is making its return in me,

anxious to hurl over its blanket,

waiting to devour with nights, cold.

 

The thought delights.

Ocean Pic.jpg

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Somewhere, long ago

Somewhere, long ago, I lost a language.

Words, like jeweled coasters perched light on window-sills,

just out of sight; carefully lettered, dim-lit hallways,

diffused in a dappling dawn –

a reverie in lost sentences referencing only themselves.

I sought what little I could find,

rummaging in refuse, refusing the catalyst of tongue

and tooth when, better equipped, silence met me instead.

Still, as phrases found the furniture of faith,

they stood a bit taller than the mouth that spoke them,

and, in a final flash of familiarity, returned.

 

Lament – A Psalm About Faces

innerwoven

Last summer I was privileged to prepare and lead a class on the Psalms. A big part of the experience was, upon completion of our more “formal” study, we’d write our own Psalm. The class produced some powerfully moving, deeply personal works. Perhaps not unsurprisingly, mine came out as a Lament.

I share here that Psalm and encourage you to share some of your own work in the comments!

Sketch found here

O Lord, God of faces, where now is your face?

And why have you hidden from us your gaze?

Where once we walked together,

now we thrash and reel and hack.

Darkness has become our only ally;

and hopelessness our truest friend.

For those of insolence and hatred rule over us;

the ruthless and ragged become our destroyer.

Therefore, falsehood and lies bind us;

and the absence of truth shackles us.

We have become party with wolves and…

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Then

When your matchless woes meet the seamless stretch of dusk,

and the last wisps of darkest night part for it,

and memory becomes hazy, less insistent upon its way;

when your thoughts creep out, undecided, but curious,

and venture out to something they don’t yet know

but from which they no longer hide;

when all those bruises, brought to ripeness

are more visible but less painful, and 

you begin to wonder why they’re there,

where they came from, their purpose;

when tides again rise and fall, taking out

the bad with the good, the sand with the treasure,

and your shores appear complex but not strange;

when clouds and sky appear unyielding but conciliatory

in their pronouncements, less wanton in demand,

and you remember your green from their grey;

when friends no longer squint or squirm or hide their

skeptical smirks, but raise a glass to your shared blemishes,

and arms link with stories told and mouths, made

joyful-heavy with wine sing wordless songs;

when all this combines to reveal what is

seeking you –

then.