Monday, May 03, 2010
The Sidhe Have Visited My Room Again
I was inspired by watching a documentary about the poet Gary Snyder at tonight's San Francisco Film Festival to return to my poetic roots and post a poem instead of prose.
(Originally published as "The Visit" in So To Speak, George Mason University, Winter/Spring, 2002)
The Sidhe have visited
my room again, moved the pieces
of furniture, left footprints
all along my floor and walls.
Petals from a strange and sudden
flower still float on the water
in my sink of dirty dishes.
It is morning and I
press my face against the air
trying to see in. The room is quiet.
My great-grandmother was small
and dark, and nobody knows
where she came from. Learn
from me, she says in her night voice
the web of moon cast
upon the earth. Feel it
trembling in your fingers
like a fisherwoman's net, and pull
the silver fish upon the shore.
They are heavy,but they are all
yours, every one of them speaking
an undiscovered language.
There is singing, the Sidhe said
brushing their lips against my ears.
It is all
Around There is a symphony
of wild sound beneath the surface.
Unmeasured and chaotic, the river
is always longer and wider than
you thought, and the bridge is never
where you expect it to be.
The Sidhe have come and gone.
They have rearranged the night
taken off my skin
and folded the difference
into my bones.
My great-grandmother lays the fish upon the sand
the ones with torn bellies and gaping mouths
the ones with knowing eyes
the ones already turning into flowers
She moves her tongue behind her teeth
and names them, one by one.
It is morning, and I am full
of forgetting. I drain the water
from the sink and begin to wash
the dishes. A single petal clings
to white porcelain. I leave it.
The rushing water sings. And I
in my waking slumber hum
the dim memory of an aching
The ocean breaks.
My great-grandmother with her muscled arms
pulls, and hauls the net upon the shore.
Silver scales still luminous in dark waters.
Learn to cast the web of moon upon the sea.
And bring the fishes home, she says.
They are all yours.
---Lisa Gale Garrigues
Image: "Sidhe Queen" by Angie Bowen.