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Wooley & Lord – February 2013

Rachel Wooley and Jim Lord traded art and words. Jim shared this untitled drawing with Rachel:

boatIn response, Rachel wrote this poem:

Away From the Shore of Certainty

Select the boat waiting quietly, unmoored
and climb aboard, row up the river,
out of the town that bled
away from the banks of its foundation,

seeping over the land like a stain.
Let your arms ache with effort;
let the oars leave blisters
across the lifelines on your palms.

Push back against the rapids
that splash onboard and soak your shoes
and throw your soaked shoes over.
Realize what you don’t need.

Row your boat past oil-stained shores,
cool your hands in the murky water
but drink only the rain.

Catch the fish that flash silver
but eat only what you need.
If pollution has mutated the fish –
extra fins or eyes – don’t eat it at all.

Dock only to build a campfire,
to bury the bones, to rest:
to stay too long is to stagnate.

Row your boat ‘til you have to choose
a tributary, until the banks
are too narrow
or the mountain too steep –

only then should you remain
ashore: stretch your stiff legs,
toughen your bare feet
on weathered ground, find substitutes

for what’s lost to wind, to rain,
to rapids… or leave it all to erode
at the edges of your memory
where it can quietly float away.

* * * *

Rachel shared this poem with Jim:

The Fall of Giants

Irish legend has it that a giant built a bridge from Ireland to Scotland to defeat a Scottish giant. Upon his arrival, he was frightened away by a trick and thus returned to Ireland, destroying his bridge behind him.

A thousand destructions emerged
in the time I spent to build
my way across the water –
straighter path than the ocean
floor. They weren’t so meticulous
as the stacking of stone upon stone,
layers of moments, damply fit
into place amid the angles of others.

It was a terrific thundering avalanche –
the displaced spray of water
which slapped the surface of itself
in white waves, accepting the work
I undid. As soon as I pulled the first pillar
my fear released with the stone. Yes –

I cried, later, remembering
the work of so many summers
now swallowed by the sea.
I sat by the remains, watched
as wind and wave rounded edges
of stone and memory. Still
I waited. Having cast so much
of this island out to sea, it sought me
as recompense. I acquiesced.

Slowly, the hole I dug filled in –
I turned to stone. The ocean crashed
continually. The land threaded roots
through my hair, the cracks in my skin.
Green unfurled above them.
Now only a face emerges
from the stone cliff I’ve created.
I wonder which of us
will be forgotten first.

In response, Jim made this photo illustration,” Giant’s Causeway”:

giants_causeway3

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 25, 2013 6:51 pm

    These are beautiful, both the originals and the responses. Great work, Rachel and Jim.

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  1. February 2013 – Issue 13 « the light ekphrastic

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