The prompt for today is to use repetition. The villanelle and pantoum use it to great effect. However, I have written a couple villanelles already this month and the pantoum is not a favourite form. I am on the fly this morning as I have a workshop that I need to be out the door to in a little over an hour. Feeding and washing need to also get factored into that time. So I took the quotation that was the jumping off point by my poetry creative colleague Helen Shay. She used a translated quotation from the Anglo-Saxon Exeter Book. “How cruel is sorrow as a companion to one with few dear friends: the path of exile holds fast such a one.”
The Path of Exile
Hold fast to the path of exile, you with few dear friends. Keep moving past your own solitude. Past the ruined house your grandfather built for his new bride.
Hold fast to the path of exile. Keep moving. The past is just a blur of scenery, a babel of white noise. Take refuge in your solitude. Expect no pity. Hold your face up to the rain.
Hold fast to the path of exile. Keep moving past your own solitude, you with few dear friends and finding no mercy for the ghosts that travel with you along the path of exile.
Hold fast to the path of exile. Keep moving past the present. Place one foot in front of the other. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Hold fast to the path of exile. One country is much like another so long as you can still breathe.
You with few dear friends hold fast to the path of exile. Keep moving with your cavalcade of ghosts packed in your lone carrier bag full of what was once a life you had loved. Let us walk together.
The Cailleach had other plans for us yesterday. The workshop and reading is postponed until tomorrow, which is St. Brigid’s Day. Living where we do, when we make plans at this time of year, we have a Plan B. We know that the Cailleach often unleashes the worst of the winter right at this point of the year. Yesterday, I enjoyed the snow in a way that you can take the girl out of PA, but you will never take the joy of snow play out of the girl who grew up in Pennsylvania. As he filled the bird feeders my husband muttered about ‘what drugs is she on…’
I also napped away the afternoon and caught up on some reading. One article I read online on LitHub provides the inspiration for the Poetry Daily today. To read it in full go here.
To be an immigrant is always to live in some state of exile." - Gabrielle Bellot
It's the primal ache never being able to go home. The first motion - to live - means leaving behind all you know.
But then, what new apples from what new trees will fall and feed you after your initial retreat?
Yet - what is left behind is a permanant ache. The old ones knew this when they gave the immigrant their wake.
You die a little when you leave all of what you love, no matter how imperfect it was its edenic state you will grieve.
You die a little so you may live. You give all that you had so you may continue to give but from then on
no matter in which state you live you only really occupy a borderland of what was before and what has been a long goodbye.
You are forever a national of some international No Man's Land, straddling the division line, some fault that blemishes a particular brand.
If I opened my garment and showed you my heart you'd see the line drawn. You'd be able to read my chart.
It navigates the both, the betwixt, the between. And the ache of never truly being seen, of having to constantly remake
whatever it is that is home. We carry a tinderbox for wherever we're bound to light a hearth as we forever roam, to cauterise the old unhealed and the new wounds.
Some days you forget the ache when you are visiting a clement climate. But you will always know what it is to forsake. And how angels slipped you through an eyelet.