untame, still

Her eyes
are like young mares,
dashing wildly for some escape
to the chains her body has thrown round
tomorrow, tying it down
to this sad bed, these muted
walls.

It wasn’t like this,
once.

There was a house with a garden
and a man who tended it.
He planted figs in the side yard
and brought home fried chicken for lunch on Sundays.
Together, they sat by the lake
and in the summer, the kids would
feed bits of stale bread to the ducks and turtles,
or string them on the old cane lines
to catch little sunfish.

There was no pain.

No drifting off into morphine clouds where
maybe, she still dreams of these things,
of painlessness.
Can she smell summer in her sleep?
Taste blackberries? See the walk
lined with purple flowers, hear
the wind over the water?
She scratches at the oxygen lines
as if at mosquito bites, moans.
Her eyes, underneath
pale lids, are like young mares
searching for some lost meadow.
Can she hold my hand
and remember
him?

16 thoughts on “untame, still

  1. whew this one is so heavy with loss…and being near the end yourself, maybe looking back on all that once was had, now reduced to an IV drip….

  2. Agree with Eddie here, my mind immediately went to “The Notebook” …

    I liked very much these lines:

    Can she smell summer in her sleep?
    Taste blackberries? See the walk
    lined with purple flowers, hear
    the wind over the water?

  3. Hmmm…. guess I need to break down and watch this “Notebook,” eh? Thanks, Sparkles, Eddie.

    brian, ayala– “heavy” is the right word, I think. Appreciate your stopping by, as always.

  4. this brought me to tears. (and with apologies to all who love that movie… this is so much more beautiful and real and tragic.)

    “Her eyes
    are like young mares,
    dashing wildly for some escape
    to the chains her body has thrown round
    tomorrow”

    and i think her soul must remember the beauty… i hope, oh i hope, so.

  5. This is extraordinary. The powerful emotions, the beckoning loss and losses bygone are so powerful. I was drawn in at the deepest level. This kind of piece is why I love poetry.

  6. exquisitely sad and deeply compassionate writing…this line really wrapped around my heart “Can she smell summer in her sleep?
    Taste blackberries? See the walk
    lined with purple flowers, hear
    the wind over the water?” The frail line between this world and the next is hard to imagine from this side.

  7. *sigh*
    What a sad story!! Well… at least she seemed to have a full life…
    Bit I must say, I feel for the guy.. 😦

    Beautifully written, Siubhan… intense and very moving..

  8. Thanks, all, for your kind comments. This was a hard one to write, and even harder now to go back and re-read as my grandmother, about whom this poem was written, remains in the hospital, unable to clear the infection which put her there. If I were the praying type, now would be a good time for it.

    Thanks again for stopping by and reading.

    Best,
    –jsl

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