Shadow – a poem

I realize this poem may feel a little dark and despairing. I’m hoping the paradoxical sense of transcendence will come across as well.

Shadow

A blank philosophy
filling the wounded spots
shields her invisible threads
with so many mysterious whispers.

From the unseen to the known,
a path is carved
in pure uncertainties.
Hunger
echoes the hollow.

The bottomless pit,
appendage of my father,
rolls out a black carpet
of useless, toiling ways.

If I told you how the wind,
in deep, encrusted caves,
moves in reeking stutters,
obliterates the culmination of
years of brave defiance,
would you see
with eyes of sorrow,
or hear
a voice of shame?

The shadow creeps relentlessly
and I,
in tangled weathers,
engulf the dark that snares me.

 

Copyright © 1992 Marian Buchanan

Voice of Andrea

Background notes on this poem:

  • I knew Andrea Currie through yoga, when I lived in Halifax in the early-mid-1980’s. She joined the a capella group Four The Moment while I was still there, and I loved her singing voice as much as her soft speaking voice and gentle manner.
  • She once made and gave me a string of origami paper cranes, which, as I understand it, have been a Japanese symbol of longevity and became a symbol of peace after a little girl, victim of the Hiroshima nuclear bombing, took on the project of making as many paper cranes as she could before she died of cancer.
  • Voice of Women is a non-partisan Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) advocating for a world without war. They used to sell the poster I describe in the poem, and I hung my copy of it in the hallway where it could remind me every day to be hopeful that each and every little voice does make a difference.

Voice of Andrea

Only one more voice is needed to bring peace into the world. from Voice of Andrea, a poem by Marian Buchanan. copyright Marian Buchanan. MarianBuchanan.com

Through dusty glass pane
the branches outside my window
seem to bathe in smokey blue-grey.
They nod
in rhythm
to the heartbeat
of the wind,
sweep the illusory thickness
like fingers trailing thoughtlessly through water.

A leaf becomes deliberate in its wobble,
strokes,
with licking motion,
the reflection
of my gently-spinning paper cranes.
Double panes against the cold
have multiplied the mobile into many ghosts,
potentialities in smokey limbo.
For every voice that speaks aloud
there are ten more whispers dawning.

On the wall in the hallway
a Voice-of-Women poster
tells the story
of the coalmouse asking
what is the weight of a snowflake.
“Nothing more than nothing”
says the dove in reply.
How then does a branch
break
under the fall
of one last crystal?
Only one more voice is needed
to bring peace into the world.

Outside my window
the branches nod.
I think of Andrea
folding pink paper into
origami messages of peace,
giving me this gift.

Andrea’s voice
is sweet and true when she sings.
Andrea’s voice
is gentle when she talks.
Soft like a whisper,
like a delicate miracle of water taking shape,
using harsh conditions of cold
to make
patterns of intricate beauty.

Copyright © Marian Buchanan, 1989