Palinode (salt, mask, descent)



Palinode (salt, mask, descent)

Tracing the map to the swaying places, she rises
through the interior world, garnering peace by
syllable. Water, clouds and sand mark her ascent.
The expectation is return, renewal. My friend did not
awaken this morning, and tonight I praise her
passage with drink and song. Matter into spirit,
mountain into sky, redemption, freedom. We bathe in
light, reclaiming the liminal. Our tears evaporate,
leaving salt and untrod paths in our wake.

The paths in our wake delimit the future, but
everything falls. Which do we desire more, the grasp
or its release? That instant preceding fear defines a
yearning particular to its course, a cycle of regression
and progress: ancestors descend into human or
animal form, die, depart to the heavens, and return
anew. Distilled power, a bridge to the spirits, the
mask unshutters and conceals the conscious mind.
Opening my eyes, I release the sun.

I release the sun and observe the results. From sky
to soil, from above to below, to solidity. Spirit
acquires matter, disperses and regroups. Rain and
alluvion, flooded homes, the dark night of childish
laughter. Each to her own path, each to an end. Muting
the string, I touch the harmonic into the world, linking
civility to proportion, lowering dissonance. Everything
falls. Everything. From curve to angle, we resist and
rejoice. In this design parabola, she descends.


* * *

“Palinode (salt, mask, descent)” was first published in Otoliths in slightly different form, and is included in my chapbook, I Have a Bird to Whistle (7 Palinodes).



4 thoughts on “Palinode (salt, mask, descent)

  1. While pretty sure I’m not at all “getting it”, this poem (this reading of it) has me gazing at a moon wearing a mask that partly hides more or less of her countenance as she rises, sets, spanning the sky amid stars in between … and vanishing awhile until magically rising again. Except about once a month she (Moon) does not rise. And except about once a month, she wears that mask: “the
    mask unshutters and conceals the conscious mind”
    (Enjoyed the read, whatever I’m missing perhaps will call to me next time?)

    Liked by 1 person

    • When I wrote this series of poems, I relied heavily on a reference tome on symbols, and multiple meanings were inherent in my word choices. I started this one the day I learned of a friend’s unexpected death. We were to get together sometime in the near future, but she went to sleep and never awoke…

      Liked by 1 person

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