A River Runs Through

We are no clearer as to what will happen to our border come 29th March, 2019, the Brexit deadline. Teresa May was hoarse and shouted down in Parliament the other day. Still the only movement seems that the penny dropped that No Deal is really a very bad deal for all concerned. Four centuries of British invasion and colonialism have come home to roost. It’s a knot they made for themselves. Well, their ancestors made for them. For those who feel no ancestral connection, who believe that post-moderns are beyond history, this is where history, ancestral decisions and actions brings us. Victors may get to write the official history. The land and the ancestors know the whole story.

As an aside, today marks six months since starting to write a poem a day and posting it on this blog. I had done the month long NaPoWriMo in April 2017 and 2018, but I felt the itch to challenge myself. I had no idea that I would still be here. You can see my flops and the successes. But at least I am having the courage to write on a daily basis.

I am really grateful for my faithful readership (you know who you are. And so do I!) and my faithful Twittership Traci York (check out her blog http://www.traciyork.com). The blog has evolved with poetry writing as a spiritual practice and as a journal. Not so much of outward happenings – there have been momentous occurances – but of my inward response to them, or even my deflection of them.) I do at regular intervals wonder how long I can keep this up, especially as I start juggling teaching and three different projects over the next three months. That will be a real test of the practice.

A River Runs Through

Borders may shift
but the land stays still.
Rivers demarcate
the only sure
lines you can cross
on maps.
 
                   No matter
the tribe you subscribe,
they can deny
you, throw you to
hell or Connaught, out
beyond the Pale,
into schtetl,
township bulldozered.
Relocated
you can become
a Them, a Not-Us
so easily.

                 Who
do you love?
                 Will
they love you at
your last moment?
                Would
the earth reject
your lifeless form?

The land knows you, that
you are their own.
Where your bones rest
it calls you its own.
No maps or border,
no tribe ever
will describe all
the story the land
tells us.
                 Listen. Here.
A river runs
through like blood.


Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved.

Featured Photo by Drew Coffman on Unsplash

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Losing A Soul

I’m a bit sleep deprived since I went to bed later than usual, on an adreneline high from performing at a local Open Mic session organised by a project run out of the Glens Centre in Manorhamilton. It’s been bringing together Open Mic poets and musicians cross border. Last night the venue was Blacklion, Co. Cavan, right by the imaginary line called border, which is roughly the halfway point between Manorhamilton, Co. Leitrim, and Enniskillen in Fermanagh. And since the border between Northern Ireland, (which is technically in the UK for those who do not know) and the Republic of Ireland, has long been a hot button topic, and possibly the sticking point in the whole of the Brexit negotiations, border was the night’s theme. I read two poems written and posted in 2018. Since borders was the night’s theme, I opened with Borderland (https://sojourningsmith.blog/2018/10/23/borders/)and followed with Collateral Damage.(https://sojourningsmith.blog/2018/11/11/selective-remembrance/). Well, you cannot say I chose cheery poems for my local Open Mic debut. But then I am the woman who had the brass neck to read a poem titled “Chaos is Good News” to a group of stunned Brits two weeks after the Remain or Leave vote.

But now for something completely different. Today’s poem has more metaphysical themes, a different sort of liminality all together, if similarly un-cheery as my choice of poems read at the Open Mic. In shamanist circles there is a phrase I have heard ‘soul loss’ and ‘soul pieces.’ And those phrases tugged at me for exploration. I played around with this idea while I was sitting in the car waiting on my husband doing an errand the other day. It’s handy to stow a tiny notebook in the handbag that has, according to the dear husband, Tardis proportions. You can write scrappy lines and ideas and non sequiteurs that might grow into a Poetry Daily.

Losing Your Soul


The soul is said to depart.
It’s how we know someone is dead.
Their body has gone inanimate
a piece of stone on a marble slab.

But it may not have happened
all of a sudden.
We might have been throwing
pieces away, a bit  every year.
A bit fell off  like a limb.
Or escaped during a hit and run.
It could have been a lie
that changed the molecules
in the air
that altered the cells,

and so, year on year,
the soul’s organism was dying,
going increasingly
leaden.

Would that we could commend it,
Christ-like,
as one whole.
Meanwhile,
pieces have been lost,
left unclaimed,
lost like housekeys
never recovered.

Or we give pieces away
to those who have no need
for any part of a soul
tendered,
its currency unrecognised.

We die a little
piece by piece
as we spend a bit of soul
here and there.
Losing one’s soul
is how we know
we are dead.


Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved.

Featured Photo by lee yeongkyeong on Unsplash