SEVENTH LETTER TO HELEN

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SEVENTH LETTER TO HELEN

Postby steffen » Thu Apr 15, 2010 5:57 pm

SEVENTH LETTER TO HELEN

April again, it's a year again,
And that makes seven
Since your breath caught,
Stopped and timelessed you
In a tangle of Easter lilacs.

All of us here are
Much the same as ever,
Dreaming away our todays
Under the coffin-lids
Of yesterday and tomorrow,
All safe-havened in our
Carpe-diem-ticking-gnawing
Nows.

But you ? What about you ?
Those eyes laughing up at me from the carpet edge:
Was that you ?
The voice calling out my name from the kitchen:
Was that you ?
The hand that waved from the open upstairs window:
Was that you ?
That goldfinch hopping about in the peach tree:
Was that you there saying goodbye ?
Yes, I think it must have been you,
With all your perfect courtesy
That showed you as you are now
On the other side of time.

This I know for certain though,
And take it for a fact that
Pools of you lie quiet, waiting,
Waiting in the woods.
But let this be our secret.
Let it stay just yours and mine.
Last edited by steffen on Thu Apr 07, 2011 1:37 pm, edited 18 times in total.
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Re: SEVENTH LETTER TO HELEN

Postby Saturn » Thu Apr 15, 2010 7:07 pm

Wonderful Steffen, very poignant.
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
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Re: SEVENTH LETTER TO HELEN

Postby steffen » Thu Apr 15, 2010 10:34 pm

Thank you Saturn for the "wonderful" and the "poignant". But it's April you know :"the cruelest month, breeding / lilacs out of the dead land, mixing / Memory and desire, stirring / Dull roots with spring rain." The month of May is just around the corner.
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Re: SEVENTH LETTER TO HELEN

Postby Cybele » Fri Apr 16, 2010 12:16 am

Steffen, this is wonderful. Sad yes -- but very beautiful.
Thank you for posting it.
"The philosopher proves that the philosopher exists. The poet merely enjoys existence."
Wallace Stevens
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Re: SEVENTH LETTER TO HELEN

Postby steffen » Fri Apr 16, 2010 12:08 pm

Thanks Cybele for your reply. Sad bad ? or Sad good? I wasn't saddened, perhaps unsettled, but mostly relieved that I had been able to put all this to rest, come to terms with it and somehow discover for myself and perhaps others, that other side of time, though it remain still an unfathomable mystery.
Before I even started revamping this old poem, I had been reading Goethe and found these: "Death is a commingling of eternity with time; in the death of a good person, eternity is seen looking through time". Also this: "In nature we never see anything as isolated, but rather everthing in connection with something else which is before it, beside it, under it and over it." And finally: "Beauty is a manifestation of mysterious, secret natural laws, which otherwise would have been hidden from us forever".
Last edited by steffen on Fri Jun 11, 2010 11:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: SEVENTH LETTER TO HELEN

Postby titian dj » Wed Jun 09, 2010 9:53 pm

Helo again, Steffen

I think you have a stunning poem here. The imagery and melancholic mood are palpable as you reflect on yesteryear and the here and now. Although this is a sad poem in many respects I feel there is a positive momentum running through the memory of what was AND is.

I wrote a sonnet entitled The Nightjar, which attempts to deal with death in a positive accepting way; your poem reminded me of how I felt at the time. This is one to return to.

I probably wouldn't line break on 'of' unless rhyme or meter demanded it. (but it's a minor nit)

A very moving poem indeed.

Best,

Bri




steffen wrote:SEVENTH LETTER TO HELEN

April again, it's a year again,
And that makes seven
Since your breath caught,
Stopped and timelessed you
In a tangle of Easter lilacs.

All of us here are
Much the same as ever,
Dreaming away our todays
Under the coffin-lids of
Yesterday and tomorrow,
All safe-havened in our
Carpe-diem-ticking-gnawing
Nows.

But you ? What about you ?
Those eyes laughing up at me from the carpet edge:
Was that you ?
The voice calling out my name from the kitchen:
Was that you ?
The hand that waved from the open upstairs window:
Was that you ?
That goldfinch hopping about in the peach tree:
Was that you there saying goodbye ?
Yes, I think it must have been you,
With all your perfect courtesy
That showed you as you are now
On the other side of time.

This I know for certain though,
And take it for a fact that
Pools of you lie quiet, waiting,
Waiting in the woods.
But let this be our secret.
Let it stay just yours and mine.
titian dj
 
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Re: SEVENTH LETTER TO HELEN

Postby steffen » Fri Jun 11, 2010 8:02 pm

Hello Titian-Bri
It's always a surprise and greatly appreciated to discover that someone has read your poem and found it to their liking, especially coming from a person like yourself, whom I look up to as a true poet. Octavio Paz once commented that every poem necessarily involves two persons, the one who speaks and the one who listens. Thank you for listening. Without that inter-communication one would soon become discouraged. Those who love beauty often find themselves walking a lonely road.
When you used the adjective ^stunning¨to describe my poem I immediately suspected that you had given in to exaggeration. But then when I went on to read your comment on the `nit´I realized that a lack of sincerity is not one of your faults. I undangled that preposition! Thanks for that and for `stunning´ too. That's a big word!
I would certainly like to read the nightjar poem you mention. Curiously enough, I've been working on one too but it hasn't pieced itself together yet. So we have something else in common - robins and nightjars.
Heartfelt best wishes,
Jim
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Re: SEVENTH LETTER TO HELEN

Postby gstormcrow » Fri Feb 04, 2011 8:52 pm

I was truly moved by your sincere poem that comes straight from the heart. A beautiful testament to the fact that, though time passes, true love never dies as it lives on all around us.
I'm in love with Osama's Aunt Sally
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Re: SEVENTH LETTER TO HELEN

Postby steffen » Wed Feb 09, 2011 3:27 pm

Thank you gstormcrow for your kind words. And welcome to this site - -your enthusiasm is much appreciated.
Best wishes
Jim
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Location: North of Spain


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