The Shift

I am waking earlier than usual for me this past week. I approach each day as a blank. I rarely have a  plan or starting point for my poetry practice. What came to mind to me today was a phrase attached to some artwork in a We’moon almanac from bygone years. It went something like…what do you hold onto when everything around you is shifting. I am sure I haven’t got that parsed right, but that was what was floating up in my mind when I woke out of my dreams about new moons (go,figure!)

I am also endlessly interested in the elasticity of the English language. In my first draft I realised that variations on the word shift were cropping up. And that word really is shifty in its many variations – from periods spent at work, to general movement, to the Hiberno-English for canoodling. There is also the Wayne Dyer film to reference as well. This is my own meditation. And sometimes I really do not know where they come from…


The Shift


What do you hold onto

when all the world is quaking,

as you feel the trembling underneath?


The safest place with shifting tectonic plates

is in the in-between, a portal place.

Hang onto a door jamb, neither in nor out.


Trust the tongue of twilight or glimmer of dawn.

Ride the shifting. Use your own weight

to ride the seismic tide.


Be poised to imitate each wave,

with your trembling knees. Then the stillness

before the aftershock.


What to hold when all your world shakes?

Pick the person from the in-between place.

Kiss them hard while the rest of the world quakes.


Copyright © Bee Smith 2018

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