Sunday, July 01, 2012

July 1: The House of Yearning

This morning I woke up to a fog covered hillside.  Everything always feels muted on days like this.  The prompt for the day, the house of yearning, made me think of the way we construct places before they are even found or built.  There are so many old farmhouses around the Sebastopol area that were built by the early settlers in the late 1880s and 1890s.  Those families traveled very far before they constructed those homes.  I started thinking about how they must have dreamed those boards into place as they sat in slow moving wagons willing the miles to pass.  And how, for some, tradegy would strike, leaving them only with what was built in their minds.  Here is my poem for the day.  If you write one, feel free to post it as a comment!

This is the House of Yearning

This is the house of yearning where fog-combed skies muted the cries of red-tail hawk.

This is the day when the wind carried salt, lavender and rosemary.

This is the day when it was dull enough that memory light the mind like a tiny lantern.

A long journey in an open wagon. Dust. Flies. The reel of clouds overhead and the slow stories they’d unwind over days that stretched wide as a sea.

The hard boards on our backs lying down in back. The ruts in the road as seen through the cracks and every once in awhile the bright shock of a wildflower.

The smell of fire and smoke. The sound of fire. The press of bodies around it. The way the fire quieted then glowed like a red, sunken star.

How each day we’d speak of the house. Build it with shared words. You’d say: hillside, open. I’d say: water whispering, dappled woods.

How always there was an orchard, a garden.

And the miles wound under us. Flat swaying seas of grasses becoming thick-knuckled mountains. How the air tightened and grew crisp.

By the day we sat at the blue-eyed lake we’d constructed everything out of air.

As we bathed in the icy water. As we washed the dust and flies and miles from our bodies we were submerged in the shadows of birds.

Today the house is made of wood. The orchard stretches 20 trees deep. The garden writes itself into the soil.

And you are not in it.


Tracie Morell said...
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Tracie Morell said...

I really appreciate your blog Iris. Thank you.

Iris Jamahl Dunkle said...

Thank you so much Tracie. I hope you'll write some poems and post them. How was Chatsuqua? Good, I hope!