Wednesday, July 13, 2011

all that we leave behind

alexander ivanov "a tree branch"


sleep
wraps its dark arms around me
and i find myself
standing very still
on the side
of an impossibly steep slope

lifting my head
i see that
several women
are also standing
on the side of this slope
each wrapped in soft white muslin
that wavers slightly
in the breeze

they are looking across
the hills to the west

each is holding
a root ball

some are small
and cupped
in soft hands

some are large
and held close to their bodies


inside each root ball are
mirrors, ribbons,
torn pages,
feathers,
and the fingers of each woman
entwined within the roots and the soil

but for the movement
of their clothes
the moment holds

entirely still
and completely silent


-

i lie on the bed with my arms outstretched
i am an anchor that has dug itself down and holds steady the huge shadow floating up there
the great unknown that i am a part of and which is certainly more important than me.

italicized words excerpted from "carillon" by tomas transtromer

20 comments:

Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello:
So many of the complexities of this vast universe of which we are a part seem beyond our understanding. But, perhaps, just experiencing and not worrying too much about what it all signifies, is the joy of being human.

What a wonderfully atmospheric poem which captures for us that time when one is half asleep and yet half awake.

Ruth said...

It's a vivid dream that I relate to utterly. These last years my work has been to get more rooted, in earth, in the physical, while examining it and myself from within. Every item you list in your litany is mine that I hold dear in this root ball in my hands. This is a meditation, one I can turn to as I seek to become even more rooted and less cerebral. Your descriptions are always beautiful. This steep slope is one that will last in my mind's eye.

Thanks by the way for your suggestion in the last post's comment. I did rewatch the video, looking for what would last in me, without sound. That second look was just right, and now I am not anxious about remembering it.

steven said...

hello jane and lance, i swim upstream when it comes to joy because i love to place myself directly in the path of the sort of work that allows for some consideration of the mysteries of life! this piece is based on a dream i had three days ago. steven

steven said...

ruth it was like stepping into a painting. it was at one and the same time entirely clear and then also muddied visually and symbolically. i wish i could have seen the women's faces which were entirely visible to me but none of which signified or registered with any memory of mine. i posted it here in some hope that perhaps it would trigger an association with a reader - or even me!! steven

erin said...

it's a dream i wish i'd had so to have seen it from the inside.

but i have seen it. i saw it here.

interesting that there are no other men present. perhaps we are all women with rootball hands when we allow it.

the breeze moves against them gently. i watch with you.

xo
erin

Reya Mellicker said...

Holding their lives in their hands are they at the edge of sleeping and waking?

Steven, well ... wow. All the things I always say including thank you!

This post is truly perfect.

Reya Mellicker said...

I wrote about dreams today, too. Love being on a wavelength with you.

ellen abbott said...

Oh, cool dream. Root balls filled with bits and pieces of individual lives.

steven said...

erin that makes me wish that it was possible to share dreams - as complete pieces - but i think that they are like babies in the way they arrive at parents. i think dreams are about what we can manage or perhaps what we need to be managing. steven

Terresa said...

Steven, your centering thoughts are balms to the soul.

"the great unknown that i am a part of and which is certainly more important than me."

How your words help me put my life into perspective, I thank the day I discovered your writing.

x

Dan Gurney said...

An arresting image, this dream. I find it interesting that the root balls contain mirrors, ribbons, torn pages, and feathers.

Was there any sort of vegetation on the slope? Since none was mentioned, I pictured it above tree line, mostly barren.

I wonder why the women were looking west.

Lots to unwrap here....

Tess Kincaid said...

Beautiful post. It reminds me so much of my "Picasso Eye" in the tree branch outside my bedroom window. It's covered with leaves now, but will be dispensing his wisdom again in the fall.

steven said...

reya the women in this dream were entirely awake. it was a very peaceful scene. still. the only word to really contain the whole. steven

steven said...

reya when i visited your blog early this morning i wasn't entirely surprised to see that you'd also felt driven to share your knowledge and experiences with our dreamworld! it's very cool to be connected. steven

steven said...

terresa thankyou for your very kind words. the quoted piece by tomas transtromer is one of many i hope to add to my own posts in the next little while. his writing opens doors and windows for me. steven

steven said...

dan the slope and the distant hills were from england. they were bare of trees. much more like the moors of the north which i saw as a child and then as a returning adult for long distance walking. steven

steven said...

tess - this dream was so real and so still i woke immediately after it faded away. steven

steven said...

ellen - yes! lives in rootballs. steven

Linda Sue said...

If I could be closer to you- I would ask you to move over just a little bit so I could scoot inside the corner of your head for just a little while- It's awesome in there! Thanks for remembering this dream and writing it so effectively- It sticks in the most wonderful way- like a hearty breakfast!
BTW- back from bike town- Cars a third class citizens there- you would feel right at home in Portland, I swear!

steven said...

linda sue it's a pretty crowded place inside my head. makes me think of the talking heads song "mind" there's a party in my mind.. .and i hope it never stops
there's a party up there all the time...they'll
party till they drop
other people can go home...other peoplle they can split
i'll be here all the time...i can never quit." steven