I’ve been so busy lately that it’s been difficult to keep up with blog posts. And I’m particularly tired tonight. So I thought that instead of trying to write something, I would post a poem I wrote a long time ago, “By Tidal Pools.” I’m posting this one because several days ago I posted “Circe” by H.D., and this is another Circe poem. Now, I am not H.D., nor was meant to be. But reading her poem reminded me of my own, which originally appeared in Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, back in 2001, the year I went to Clarion.
By Tidal Pools
At first she watched in case he should return,
By tidal pools where iridescent snails,
Tyrian and cochineal, crawled about,
Saltwater glistening on their subtle shells.
“He was like you,” she’d whisper, kneeling down,
One knee, and then another, on wet rock.
“Like you he wore his house upon his back,
Carrying Ithaca.” She would lean out
Over a tidal pool’s now-shadowed depths
And see, below, the snails, their shells gone dull,
Above them her reflection, dull as well.
Eventually her knees would cramp and ache.
She’d stand and each ridged whorl would glow again,
A demonstration of the dyer’s art.
Where she had knelt, her dress clung to her shins.
She’d whisper then, “Does he lie on some shore
Where snails leave glistening tracks upon his eyes,
Or has he found his home?” She’d turn and walk
Over the rocks while wavelets lapped her feet,
Wondering when the sea had grown so cold.
My Circe is less an enchantress than a woman walking by the seashore, thinking of all the things that have happened, wondering what will happen. Things are so busy, still. But I’d like to write poetry again, when I have the time. And the concentration.
I found an image for this poem too, but it’s not really a painting of Circe. It’s really Miranda, by John William Waterhouse. But I think this is what my Circe looks like.