To Poise an Errant Lady

February 25, 2013

Suppose he rose in his dream, not to fall down the stairs,
but to beckon God with a secret prayer to poise
an errant young lady. Suppose he reckons to poison the giants,
maybe forever, because the falling prayer
always started when he found his  glasses in his dream
and he knew he could see the giants were everywhere.

For a dream-song is just a breath of air expelled,
and to poise an errant young lady is more pose
than prose or proposal. His heart went out to her,
his love forever, poised at the head of the stairs
drawing  her breath, from the vertigo, the falling prayer,
to the world itself…just a breath expelled.

He would poison the giants forever, if she fell.

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5 Responses to “To Poise an Errant Lady”

  1. extrasimile Says:

    It is interesting that while one can be happy or sad or angry or—even—ecstatic without falling, love seems to require it. At least our thinking about love does. You will note how the person at the top of the stairs changes from him to her. Destabilized? About to fall? You know, Anna, the more I think about it, the more similarities l see with this poem and your ‘To the winter fields’. They are very different poems but ‘What awaits?’ seem to fit both. Falling ceases to be a metaphor, however, especially as you get older. Stairs become giant steps to climb and swirling landscapes to descend. My goal was to get you to the top of the stairs. Vertigo is indeed a word to love.

  2. Anna Mark Says:

    …and the glasses…I like this sense of sight which extends also into the world of perception, dream, “the world itself…just a breath expelled.” It’s a poem that leaves me feeling unbalanced, precarious, about to fall.

  3. Anna Mark Says:

    Well…is this a “love” poem, too (but perhaps not in the typical sense ; )? I am most captivated by these lines:

    His heart went out to her,
    his love forever, poised at the head of the stairs
    drawing her breath, from the vertigo, the falling prayer,
    to the world itself…just a breath expelled.

    He would poison the giants forever, if she fell.

    The poise, the waiting, the falling…is very alive in these lines. And the presence of the giants is threatening and large. They are the cause of the falling prayer and could possibly be the cause of “her” fall…which I interpret here as death (another self?). The image of someone about to fall, or even the possibility of falling, down a flight of stairs is quite an unsettling, nightmarish image. Fall into fear, perhaps.

    And I love the word, vertigo.

  4. extrasimile Says:

    Thanks, John, you know how much I aim to please. I was trying to use the sounds of the words as a kind of organizing device—using them to make it ‘poetry’, as it were. The stillness— yes, the poem is poised, and waiting, another self.

  5. John Stevens Says:

    I read this yesterday and I have returned this afternoon to absorb the mood, the atmosphere, of the poem. It’s slow-moving and reflective – as so often with your poems. here, I note and enjoy very much the sounds – those echoes, starting right at the first line with ‘suppose’ and ‘rose’ and popping up throughout until we reach ‘expelled’ and ‘she fell’. There are other kinds of echoes too – the repetitions of words and phrases (poison the giants; falling prayer). The sounds and the mood are very pleasing, Jim.


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