In response to Big Tent Poetry prompt Aug. 9: possessions
When I first saw the prompt and the challenge of exploring the whole issue of possessions and their affect and effect on and to me, as an individual, I immediately thought of a poem I wrote many years ago and that remains a particular favorite. And how the object discussed has changed, in my inner senses over those years. Eventually, I began to also consider all of the new possessions I have acquired in the past months as we dismantled my Mother’s apartment.
After writing about both things, I couldn’t make up my mind which one to post, so you get both. And although the two are different in their approach to the issue of possessions, they both seem to end up in the same realm, but on distinctly different notes.
More A Matter of Who, Than What
To possess a thing, one must own it,
accept it into both inner and outer
existence. So, some of these things
will never truly be mine, even though
they take pride of place here, inside
my space, they will always be hers.
Chimney lamp, ornate with brass-like
fixtures, white bowled bottom and upper flute
holding muted red and yellow roses
in etched design. That one became mine
when I placed it on bedside table,
yet, small china hutch will always be
hers, even though what fills its shelves
truly rests in my possession.
Even words of personal ownership
stumble on my lips as I fumble,
trying to come to grips with newly
enriched environment. Three months
have passed, yet many days I find
myself startled anew by need to define
what is hers, and will always be hers,
and how that has changed, permanently
altered what has always been mine.
Can more fully comprehend now,
why so many believe in ghosts. Things,
mere objects, can be haunted by lingering
energy of that one who used to own them.
Feelings felt, even words expressed long ago,
seem to make a nest within more solid
ingredients, possess memory perhaps
of that other who has gone to rest,
forever freed of all possessions.
Elizabeth Crawford 8/13/10
This second piece is actually two separate poems. The first was the title poem for my first small volume of poetry, a brief overview of the grief process. It was written in 1998 and the book was published in 1999. The second poem, added this past week, is simply titled Addendum (2010).
Splitting Darkness (1998)
Wear a small silver ring
on little finger
of my right hand.
Face of an owl
fierce eyes staring.
Friend of night,
on silent wings,
seeking what lives
only in shadows.
Rides my pen
watching words spill
from its tip, filling
pages with blue/black
getting to the heart
Still wear it, that little silver ring,
means far too much, so many different
things. Youngest daughter twelve, eyes
bright with childish delight, unwilling
to wait for Christmas Day, still too far
away. Rushing toward me, through tiny
dark shop, where aisles were so cluttered,
we had to slide sideways to get from one
to another. Watched her run to show me,
fist clenched tight, waving as she trilled,
“Look Mom. Look what I found! You must
put it on, wear it right now, it is so you.”
And she was so right.
She just passed her thirty-first
year, now carries fear for three
daughters of her own, another
adopted through marriage. And still
manages to mother every soul
around her. Comes singing, brings
songs now, instead of delicate silver
rings, fierce eyes of owl staring.
Have never removed that ring
from little finger, except once
at insistence of technician before
an MRI. Felt exposed, naked
from the loosing, more so than thin
hospital gown could render.
Need her now, more than ever. Her
ability to split darkness in silent flight,
that I will need, when I confront
threshold of eternal night. She, that tiny
owl, is my truest and best companion.
Laugh, when I think what might happen,
if centuries from now, some student
of archeology should find what might be
left of my remains. Sees pen still clutched
between bony digits, hears clink
of silver ring, and reaches to possess it.
I promise, even swear, I shall rise
up, clacking hinged jaw will drop
open, and will snarl,
after all that time,
“Don’t you dare.
Elizabeth Crawford 8/13/10