Day 26 NaPoWriMo2019

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.

Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved.

GloPoWriMo2019 NaPoWriMo2019
Bee Smith is participating in GloPoWriMo2019


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.

Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved.

Featured Photo by Miguel Bruna on Unsplash