By Gail Nielsen
Above a monastery between cross and sky she rose and took her place, sweeping arms the length of a stratus cloud lining and she was gone from me But not at Meteora Only the fringe of Zeus’s blue heaven below, olive groves softening cool moss under his feet of hot stone At Meteora wounded ones could touch down and heaven would handle them gently lowing, and the world would turn up its palms to form a cradle to cradle their forms Still dangling from the god’s skirt, at least I’ve reached my own longing skyward enough to take the edge of the garment inside which is sewn a healing’s secret message: “They stitch us up with golden thread.” Like the woman waiting twelve years didn’t meditate her way into the mind of Jesus with blood, she hit the ground seizing the dusty fold of linen he wore that morning, slipped from grasp quick as satin through rosy fingers and a pale thumb when he spun round to lay eyes on her, so in a nearby town Jairus’ twelve-year-old daughter was only sleeping Above Thessaly I dream the skies are always clear except for a current of the finest air, trailing the Regent of the Evening Winds no one else please no, not at Meteora
The Gentle Shallows
Someday a new island to make her forget She wanted to be Sappho for you, not of the girls, Sappho of the careful, male lover Kneeling where the radiant tide unfolded her hands and placed them on a shore, under a garland crown she sought the perfect stone for you in close waters with knees pink and raw from pressing sand, and patience waiting into waiting always the length of two skies She brought small white shells she caught through the gentle shallows when she was wringing with thoughts of you, the rhythmic Mediterranean wrapped around her legs I would have been her and tethered us, not even a promise holds me now, no arms stronger than mine, someone else is a poet in fine linen If not for you, then for no man. Sappho keeps me twice removed I belong to her name
I am away —far enough and the door to the new room closes behind me, I leave the life I have chosen It is safe for thoughts to surround me here, thoughts of you unfold me here despite my scars and how I resist trying to connect them, decipher a secret trail into this territory Mapmaker, see how harsh and kind elements have shaped this place There is a key to me but you won’t need it. Far enough away is where the landscape reveals itself to you
thousands at a time seeds like powder wind wisp through a god’s lips dusting her all over with pink flower
Heroes in the Days of Dragons
These are not the days of fighting dragons on the outer hills These are the days of defeating dragons in the air of breath, the landscape of your heart, psyches make the weather Don’t suit up because “she needs it” Acknowledge that you do this for yourself to annihilate something of your own you see in her Don’t try and save her from the pain, because as you do she will waste her energies fighting you off and never obliterate the elusive, ever-roaming dragonfire Pray for her Be next to her Contribute to the temperature in the room, but be a genuine hero with a fully disclosed set of keys and hand them over so she may be unlocked from your need to be present at the moment of her salvation, that she might rescue herself and be in proper form for the reunion with her real savior
Gail Nielsen holds a Master of Arts Degree in Religious Studies from the University of Windsor (Ontario, Canada). She works as a psychotherapist, coach and education consultant and her interests include classical mythology, music, nature and medicine. Having worked in the mental health field for over two decades, Gail spent a number of years as an online counsellor for a large EAP company, offering asynchronous text-based counselling. This allowed her to blend her love of writing with her clinical work and to refine her ability to hear the “person behind the words.” She co-authored The Control Freak’s Guide™ to Living Lightly which was featured on the national morning show, Canada A.M., and her work has recently been published (or is forthcoming) in WECAN’s Gateways, Kindling Journal, Flights, Visitant Lit. and The Courtship of Winds. Gail is currently working on her first collection of poetry.
One thought on “Meteora and Other Poems”
This is a very nice mixture of beliefs, ideas, perceptions, perspectives, and thoughtful thoughts.
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