And then last night, I performed my poem "Samhain," from Eve, as part of the Halloween show at Poets Theater of Maine. The promotions described it as a "ritual poem," and it felt that way, perhaps more than any time I've read it in the past. Was it the costume—black cloak, white dress, amber beads? Was it the fact that for the first time for any poetry performance, I worked with a director, Assunta Kent, to prepare? Was it simply (and not simply—very importantly!) that I was truly "off book" and able to channel the words to the audience without the interference of the page? Was it that my daughter was part of the performance, acting the part of my "young mind" in Kent's staging? Whatever the reason, it was a special way to usher in the season of this profound New Year in the pagan calendar when the veil between living and dead feels so thin, because it brought me close to my beloved Grandy, described in the poem (you can see a photo of Grandy and me in an earlier post here). May you all find beautiful ways to bring meaning to the season by connecting with those you love, living and gone. Here's the poem. Blessed be, and Happy Samhain!
In the season leaves should love,
since it gives them leave to move
through the wind, towards the ground
they were watching while they hung,
legend says there is a seam
stitching darkness like a name.
Now when dying grasses veil
earth from the sky in one last pale
wave, as autumn dies to bring
winter back, and then the spring,
we who die ourselves can peel
back another kind of veil
that hangs among us like thick smoke.
Tonight at last I feel it shake.
I feel the nights stretching away
thousands long behind the days
till they reach the darkness where
all of me is ancestor.
I move my hand and feel a touch
move with me, and when I brush
my young mind across another,
I am with my mother's mother.
Sure as footsteps in my waiting
self, I find her, and she brings
arms that have answers for me,
intimate, waiting, bounty.
"Carry me." She leaves this trail
through a shudder of the veil,
and leaves, like amber where she stays,
a gift for her perpetual gaze.