Welcome to where I am, where my kitchen's always messy, a pot's (or a poet) always about to boil over, a dog is always begging to be fed. Drafts of poems on the counter. Windows filled with leaves. Wind. Clouds moving over the mountains. If you like poetry, books, and music--especially dog howls when a siren unwinds down the hill-- you'll like it here.


MY NEW AUTHOR'S SITE, KATHRYNSTRIPLINGBYER.COM, THAT I MYSELF SET UP THROUGH WEEBLY.COM, IS NOW UP. I HAD FUN CREATING THIS SITE AND WOULD RECOMMEND WEEBLY.COM TO ANYONE INTERESTED IN SETTING UP A WEBSITE. I INVITE YOU TO VISIT MY NEW SITE TO KEEP UP WITH EVENTS RELATED TO MY NEW BOOK.


MY NC POET LAUREATE BLOG, MY LAUREATE'S LASSO, WILL REMAIN UP AS AN ARCHIVE OF NC POETS, GRADES K-INFINITY! I INVITE YOU TO VISIT WHEN YOU FEEL THE NEED TO READ SOME GOOD POEMS.

VISIT MY NEW BLOG, MOUNTAIN WOMAN, WHERE YOU WILL FIND UPDATES ON WHAT'S HAPPENING IN MY KITCHEN, IN THE ENVIRONMENT, IN MY IMAGINATION, IN MY GARDEN, AND AMONG MY MOUNTAIN WOMEN FRIENDS.




Sunday, March 14, 2010

MAGPIE TALES: A WOMAN'S HAND

Thanks again to Magpie Tales (http://www.magpietales.blogspot.com/) for bringing this poem up from my memory. It was inspired by the photo below it, courtesy of photographer Louanne Watley's Evelyn Series.

Of all the bones,

these the most eloquent,


lying upturned on the windowsill,

holding a woman's life


mapped in their grasp,

every pulse-beat her heart's story.

(photo credit: Louanne Watley)

The following poem is from my volume Catching Light (LSU Press), based on Louanne's series of photos documenting the last months of a woman who wished to be call Evelyn. Or Eve.

Vanity

Without hands
a woman would stand at her mirror
looking back only,
not touching, for how could she?  
Eyelid. 
Cheek. 
Earlobe. 
Neck-hollow. 
The pulse points that wait to be dusted  
with jasmine or lavender.  
The lips she rubs  
rose with a forefinger.  
She tends the image  
she sees in her glass,  
the cold replication  
of woman, the one  
who dared eat from her own hand  
the fruit of self-knowledge.

15 comments:

Vicki Lane said...

Breath-taking, Kay. So very eloquent. I love the tie in with Mother Eve.

Kathryn Magendie said...

Oh! one of my favorites of all...

SUN DANCE HILL said...

Lovely and poignant; very sweet.

willow said...

This is just too marvelous for words, Kay. The photo is lovely and so perfect.

Brian Miller said...

love that last line of your magpie...mapped...magnificent.

Lyn said...

Beautiful..a woman waiting, a woman watching..all of us, I think...Thank you...

Kathryn Stripling Byer said...

Vicki, these poems that came from the photos really unlocked something resonant for me. Kathryn, I know you know how that goes. That resonance/vibration can keep us humming...

Kathryn Stripling Byer said...

Sun Dance Hill, thank you. I've always wanted something poignant in my poems; sheer cleverness isn't enough, but then I've never been that clever. Just give me dulce, sweet, sweet!

Kathryn Stripling Byer said...

My dear Willow, your comments always make my day, as do all the Magpie followers' responses. I wish you could see all these photos. Maybe I'll post them! Maybe you will write some poems from them????

Kathryn Stripling Byer said...

Brian, I've been fascinated for a long time by the mapwork of palmistry--also phrenology, etc. How the body gives a reading of the interior, if you know how to interpret it, or think you do. It's probably a lot like other forms of reading the life journey--runes, for example, which I've been looking into. I love the poetry of these various ways of inseeing.

Kathryn Stripling Byer said...

Lyn, the waiting and watching are where the art is born, I often think. Maybe we are too busy these days for the waiting, which is such a huge loss for art and the spirit.
Thank you for visiting me and Evelyn!

Eric S. said...

"these the most eloquent" So true for the hand is the connection with which we comfort and care for each other. What could be more eloquent than that. I too loved the "mapped... pulse-beat". Wonderfully moving.

Jessie Carty said...

i really love "every pulse-beat her heart's story." And things like reading palms are fascinating. I had a book on it once :) i apparently study everything!

Peter Goulding said...

Remember reading a story about the way Kathryn Hepburn picked something up off a table and it totally transformed a scene.
That hand on the windowsill is so expressive but most of us would miss it.

Rob Kistner said...

Fine poem, than you for sharing...
...rob
Image & Verse