Wednesday, June 16, 2010

water flowers

you could sing
if you were the wind

with your fingers
as they wove
tiny filaments
in and around
the cotton threads
of the sails

and your song
would be wordless

filled only
with the knowing
of the sky
the gurgling
of the noonday river
swirling in water flowers
the thick wash of the sun
the soft warm bricks
vanilla yellow

and not so very far away
the hollow
of an oarless

cos cob john henry twachtman

i arrived in canada - an immigrant child from england - forty four years ago today.
my father was waiting for us in the terminal in toronto.
i hadn't seen him for a year.
i thought it was a long time.
in the year he was gone
i had a recurring nightmare.
a man entered the bedroom in which i was sleeping
picked me up and threw me through the floor,
then i passed through the first floor
and then through into the cellar.
this is about being compelled to view,
become aware of,
and deal with my subconscious.
perhaps with my shadow.
here i am.
much more for the experience.


Penny said...

I read but dont often comment.
I loved the top poem but was quite disturbed by your last bit. I imagine we all have nightmares about odd things but childrens are the ones that are remembered. I was always being chased in slow motion by men in red coats (soldiers?) but I was born just as the 2nd World War started so perhaps it was some sub conscience thing I had heard about.

Dan Gurney said...

What a nightmare! Did you wake up as soon as you reached the cellar?

Ruth said...

You grabbed me with the first two lines. How beautiful they are. Then, the rest lived up to them. Very imagistic, and when followed by that painting, just stunning.

Your experience shared is fascinating. The things that shape a person's life!

jinksy said...

We all have our shadow beings to contend with...

Friko said...

the child is father to the man,
are you still delving?

Bonnie said...

Happy Birthday dear steven. It seems you and Friko are sharing the same birth day!

I like your comparison of our song to the wind. Those who do sing in their heart permeate the atmosphere like a soft, gentle breeze. I will take this thought and keep it with me today. Hey, we should be giving YOU the gifts!!

steven said...

helo penny, thanks for the comment. i'd be interested to know more about what you're describing regarding children's dreams being the most vivid and memorable. i think children are very available to the flow of the dreamworld and that they are equally connected to the great flow of events in this world. making sense of their world - i think that's what their sleeping minds try to do. steven

steven said...

dan when i landed there i was still asleep. i knew in my waking life that there were lots of cockroaches, mice, and probably a rat or two down there. sure enough in my dreams they'd be there. then i'd wake up. my memory is that this was a dream i had every night but i doubt it. but it happened a lot. a lot! have a great holiday day dan!!! steven

steven said...

hi ruth! thankyou for your kind and thoughtful comment. it's intriguing to me that some things stay with us for our entire lives because you can be sure they shape us in ways we can't fully comprehend. have a peaceful day. steven

steven said...

jinksy - yes we do. some walk with us. some walk inside us. steven

steven said...

friko - very much so! steven

steven said...

hi bonnie - well it's not my birthday today but then i think every day's a birthday. you wake up, you're alive, you get to reexperience whatever innocence you wish to reexperience and the world unfolds each day! no i arrived as an immigrant in this country from england 44 years ago today which was a form of birth for which i am deeply indebted to my parents beyond the gift of birth they gave me almost 53 years ago! have a lovely day. steven

Elisabeth said...

You can imagine, Steven, how much I appreciate your dream, and your autobiographical element here.

I wouldn't dream of trying to make sense of it, that's for you to do, but it reads so beautifully and resonantly, I'm in awe.

It's as lovely as any poem. Thanks for including it.

Linda Sue said...

First poem STUNNING! I thought ,"I know how to sing with my fingers, wordless, ASL"..Love the warm vanilla bricks- made me hungry- and just in time for a Birthday of certain magnitude! I will eat vanilla cake in your honor- it will go directly to my ample arse and from that weight I am sure to fall through to the cellar. Memories of childhood nightmares do linger- my son remembers clearly one he had when he was only two years old.Happy Birthday, young thang! CHEERS!

steven said...

elisabeth - i went to school in clothes of my own choosing today (of course!!) and one of my colleagues said to me "you look like a little boy today steven". and i realized that i had dressed myself as a boy - steven fourty four years ago aged eight and a bit years old. happily, my colleagues are friends and can see through and past and around much of what i appear to be and do!!! steven

steven said...

linda sue thankyou so much!! i had my recurring dream when i was eight. when i came to canada it stopped and i've not had anything like it since. lots of bridge dreams. lots. i love cake - any cake, any time, any reason. enjoy the vanilla cake. it's not about where it goes, it's how it gets there right! steven

hope said...

And we're so very glad you made the trip so we could get to know you!

Noelle Clearwater said...

Hello Steven,
I want to give you two links before I forget. One is from a paper called Individuation:The Process of a Lifetime. Here is that link:
the other is
The first is very accessible and the second incredible but more cerebral. Still it will resonate with you I believe. I am sure in fact. I wanted to say that there is something about the poem that reminds me of Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. As you recall he has committed a great crime by shooting the albatross--a bird which is considered good luck for the other sailors and as a result, the boat becomes still and the wind dies. The sun beats down mercilessly and all of the crew die except for him. He is the only soul left to tell the tale to the wedding guest. So stagnant is the water that he perceives hideous forms of sea life crawling on the surface and he exclaims at one point that the frigate was like a "painted ship upon a painted ocean." He feels that he is a condemned man, separated from the world and from himself, hollow and alone. It isn't until he is able to pray, to make a connection with his deeper Self (Jung's capital "S") that he feels released from what he has done and the ship begins to move again. In fact, the ghostly crew gets up and begins to go about their duties to get him home. The sun is beating down on him for much of the poem in the same way that the sun washes the bricks in your poem. But with his moment of prayer, the ship begins to move with no power from him. It is a "hollow" ghost ship that carries him on a journey to the underworld that archetypal realm of the unconscious(filled with dreams, visions, shadow and even moments of self-annihilation). But the wonderful aspect of the poem is the the mariner is saved and his "penance" or journey toward self-actualization is to tell the tale to anyone who will listen. He is the poet just as you are. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is a journey to the underworld and a rebirth and I would venture to say that your dream, as dark as it might have seemed to you as a child was similar. Many children feel a sense of deep abandonment and separation anxiety when they are far from their parents. Recurring dreams are common. I had them too. But your father returned and with his return you entered a new country. Not only did you dream of an annihilation of the old self, you actually experienced it as an expatriate of the U.K. and you are, it seems the better for it. I am sorry for the length of this response.
Blessings and Light,

Golden West said...

Forty-four years is a long time, Steven. Amazing how quickly it passes. I have lived in this same home for thirty-three years now, which seems barely possible (as does having a child of 31). All the more reason to savor each day, with a thankful heart!