Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Thin Places

Day after day of beauty here, and more grace.Yesterday, after noting the red shred of hibiscus in Patricia Clark's book, She Walks Into the Sea, I walked into town, passing a bright red hibiscus in full bloom.

I feel I've found a kindred spirit here, someone noticing the same things I do--specific plants, birds, trees, and shades of feeling.

Spiderwort, nuthatch, even voodoo lily. Butter-and-eggs. Day lily, mayapple. Clematis, poplar, wild iris.

For my friend Kim, there's a poem called "Thin Places."

                                                Thin places, the Irish call them,

the places near a hawthorn where spirits
            pass back, squeezing like sheep do,
                        a spray-painted X in red or blue, through a gap

in rock, in time.


I have a poem called "Willow Tree" that mentions its species name, Salix babylonica, the weeping willow. So when I came to Clark's "Salix Nigra: Black Willow," I knew what it was. She has a "no-name creek." I have a "Nameless Creek." 

I'm someone probably blind in the past who values, now, paying attention. So to find this stanza in her poem "Early Meditation" was like...breathing.

Who put you in charge of watching?
                                    What date for the peepers
singing from the mud?
And the Carolina wren, when does it start
                        nest building again over the carport’s light?
If no one notices these details,
                                                will they cease to exist?

And I love how Clark calls herself "the watcher." 

Listen, if you like, to the nuthatch here at Birdjam and the Carolina wren, singing, "Tea-kettle!" here. Thanks to Wikipedia for the images of nuthatch and wren.

6 comments:

Sandy Longhorn said...

Okay, so here's another poet to add to my this! Thanks, Kathleen. We have a Carolina wren pair that nests in our backyard. I LOVE their song. I once read that they have the loudest singing voice of all the song birds. So tiny and so powerful. Yay!

Collagemama said...

I believe we are in charge of watching, of noticing, and of naming. The hummingbirds arrived on schedule August second. If no one notices these details, they many not cease to exist. If I do not notice, I might as well cease.

Maureen said...

Wonderful selections. Also am making note.

seana said...

I like that Irish 'thin places' a lot!

Robert Mc said...

In some parts of Michigan and Indiana I have heard people call daylilies "ditch lilies." I love the high and low conveyed in that naming.

Kathleen said...

Thanks, all! Something that really impresses me about this work is the sense of connection, deep connection, to the world she meticulously observes. Though a "watcher," she is also of the world, in it.

Ditch lilies, yes!