Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Poem for Brigid

February 2 is generally celebrated as Groundhog Day in North America, a day when amateur weather enthusiasts (or those of us who are just tired of winter) truly believe in the fantastic - that the presence or absence of a shadow denotes the length of winter. February 2 was a snow day here, a rather anticlimactic snow day, to be sure. I could have made it to work, but it was closed for the day. I was happy to spend the day hanging around with my seven-year-old doing nothing in particular.

February 2 is also Imbolc. Imbolc is one of eight sabbats that we celebrate throughout the year.  At Imbolc we mark the mid-point between winter solstice (more or less) and spring equinox. Imbolc is also a feast which honors the goddess Brigid - who is goddess of the forge, the well, healing and poetry.

For the last several years, I've participated in an annual online poetry slam honoring Brigid, where bloggers and readers post their favourite poems. This year, I missed the boat, so to speak. I wanted to write something new - I have been combing through old notebooks and found some imagery that I love. The poem I wanted to share is almost completely written, except for a few refinements. But work-related stress got in the way of creative thinking for a few days. And then I hurt my knee.

 You might well ask how a sore knee relates to blogging or poetry writing. It's all about sitting. I am on my feet, walking or standing all day long at work. By the time I get home, my knee is quite sore and needs to be iced and elevated. I hate sitting still. And I dislike parking myself in front of the television for hours on end, but that is exactly what I've been doing since Friday. My brain is turning to mush. I am reading some, and watching mindless junk like Nanny 911,Ghosthunters and Little Miss Perfect (who, I ask you, who does that to little girls?), and wishing I could just get outside and walk the dog for an hour to clear my head. I just don't have the knack of balancing my laptop on my lap and typing away yet. So I've stolen a few minutes, while Emily practices the piano, to sit with my knee at a painful 45 degree angle, all for the sake of posting something.

The unfinished poem must wait for another day. Instead, I'll offer you something else. I wrote it almost a year ago, and rediscovered it last week....enjoy.

"I am forgetting things,"
she sighs
with a sidelong glance,
as we walk swiftly
through decaying leaves.
The path winds up and down
through her woods,
between the bare-branched trees
of early spring.

I think
she really forgets nothing.
It may not be
the merciless recall of time and date,
but she holds the memories
of a woman floating
down the river.
She has seen thousands
of faces, can recall
the nuance of
a simple speech.
She sings her spellbound notes.
Words upon unwritten words are
remembered, recalled,
submitted for approval.

When it happened doesn't matter.
Where is unimportant.
The ache that brings us back
is the embrace of her
arms, strong enough to love
each facet of
the universe.

The position of the heart
the disposition of the body.