To Anna

For Anna Mark

My poems feel overdressed
when I read your poetry. [i]
I love their nakedness—
or, as modesty would have it,
I love the bathing suits they wear—
worn fully without clinging.

Yes, my clothing does cling—
like everything else—
too much these days.
Of course, one’s clinging to life
is the source and model of all clinging—
and to the life of your children,
the others , whose very otherness
can make it more precious and still—

How this poem clings to its loved ones,
holds then tight, then forgives them
enough to let them swim out
a little further and still further…
It could be a model for the world.
I wish I could swim with them too,
even when your feet touch other shores.

[i] I am talking about Anna Mark’s poem The Lake, which you need a password to access. I will reprint it here with Anna’s permission.

The Lake

. She wears the deep water —
….. the clear dress soaks
……her shoulder length hair.


If only my words, if only my love,
were that sweet water,
that ancient lake you jump into wholly,
playful and free,

living water to your sense of joy, innocence and trust,
darkness beyond the depths of our sight,
beyond reach yet willing to be known,
worn fully without clinging,
rapture without entering too deeply, too soon,
as explored mystery captivating awe —
fear and wonder;

a mother’s caress reflecting light,
eroding the places that harden,
where you’d thrive with me,
your strong root in me for when you shed me,
when your feet touch shores,
when you leave,
when it’s time for you to go,
when you emerge —





.for my daughters




Published by extrasimile

define: extra: excess, more than is needed, required or desired; something additional of the same kind. define: simile: a simile is a type of figurative language, language that does not mean exactly what it says, that makes a comparison between two otherwise unalike objects or ideas by connecting them with the words “like” or “as.” The reader can see a similar connection with the verbs resemble, compare and liken. Similes allow an author to emphasize a certain characteristic of an object by comparing that object to an unrelated object that is an example of that characteristic. define: extra: an minor actor in a crowd scene

3 thoughts on “To Anna

  1. The clarity in this poem is startling, Jim. It is a brilliant poem. Anna Mark is one of the best poets writing on wordpress, and this is a huge compliment, but your poem is as refreshing in its conversational response as a clear lake of water in the high mountain on a day that is almost crystal from sunshine. Both you and Anna need to be deeply congratulated.

  2. Jim, both this poem of yours and the original from Anna Mark give me great pleasure and are a perfect conversation. In your response there is the same celebration of love, eg for a child, and then the development of thought about our very human love of life itself. The poem is a wonderful staring pony for reflection by the reader without restricting the reader’s mind (well, you would never do that, would you?).

  3. I think this is a much more “naked” poem than I’ve read here in a while ; ) though there’s something very important about undressing one (a poem), too, I suppose. Thank you. Yes, you can copy and paste mine here, if you’d like. I think your response is beautiful.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: