Feed her life

The blood-moon-month comes, rising full
above the trees.
Each night, in the shadow, I wait
to see her, sleep and dream
of her in a white dress,
before she leapt
off that ledge into teeth-green wealds.
Somehow, I always found the strength
to catch,
to hold her weeping eyes
before they shed into blood-emerald pools.

She watches me now as a wolf heart
In a place I’ll never reach
wild, behind gates of trees and shadows –
tall shadows like dark curtains all hung together.
How does she see now – through
those sheathed eyes looking out?
She doesn’t speak, only howls.
But inside I see her hope peeling into winter walls
brown dead green floral.
Her young garden ripped and ravaged
by what she learned was home.
And I can’t touch her.

Your blows turned her eyes wild,
rapid pulses, deep breaths of survival.
Knuckle cracks against bone –
The bruises rose in a ridgeback down her spine.
Her once gentle hands reeked of instinct
and your skin.
I held her empty body
after it ripped like a paper doll in your violent tides.
I held her as innocent as a pale pink shell.

I tell you. Sit
and I’ll show you
the heart of a beautiful woman run
dark by your hands.
She comes from the trees at night panting, scratched, starved.

I chain you up by the window,
bleed the blood-milk from your veins
carve her flesh from your flesh
of the body you stole.
It’s the blood-moon-month, you see
and her howls split light through the dark slits of trees.
There’s still a light. I can see.
Can you see what you create?
I create, too –
I’ll feed her life back out of you.

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8 Responses to Feed her life

  1. Rachel. Rachel. Rachel. Rachel. This is utterly gorgeous. And mysterious. And brilliant. I have a rip-roaring migraine tonight, darling, but I’m going to print it out and read it when I can stand the light, but this is stunning. xo

    • rachvb says:

      Oh, thank you so much, Melissa. I’m so sorry you aren’t feeling well. Take care and get some rest.
      This isn’t the one I’ve been struggling with, but I think all the work on the other one made this one come quickly. They are both flowing in the same vein and now maybe that this one is free, the other one will follow?

  2. Rachel, dear, does this mean you haven’t been able to get to the poem that was giving you trouble, the one other than this one?

    My head is clearer. I still find this poem mysterious and strangely beautiful, but find I am confused by the prepositions, who is the you/she/me–because it seems they morph into one another–is that what you planned? There are some things in poetry that a poet ought not to have to explain, and then there are times when the reader is puzzled, as I am by what’s ‘actual’ happening. I wish you could write another draft, keeping the strange beauty and power, but make it clearer to the reader more of the reality of the drama. It isn’t clear and this is too good a poem to let it confuse the reader. Maybe no one else was puzzled, but I was. That’s today’s critique, my dear Rachel. You have so much talent but there is much, at any time, a poet can learn from her poems. I hope you know I am not being unkind but truthful, as I see it. xo

    • rachvb says:

      No, I haven’t been able to get to the other one. I wrote the bones to this one a while ago and just finished another draft (that I posted).
      I appreciate you taking the time to give feedback. I am sort of my only editor (except a good friend of mine) and it’s important to know the trouble spots. This blog is my education in a lot of ways. There is always so much to learn – especially from honesty. I think lately it’s been about getting back to my true voice but making it stronger. There is always time to go back in. I am learning to be patient with them.
      Thanks again. xoxo

  3. Lindsey says:

    I’ve read this about five times now since this weekend. It’s sooooo good. I think my favorite line is “carve her flesh from your flesh, of the body you stole.”
    It’s very powerful. Remind me never to get on your bad side so you don’t slice and dice me ;o)

    • rachvb says:

      thanks, love. I think I’m going to go back in and do another draft. Tighten it up a little. But I’m glad you like it. =)
      Don’t beat up on my loves and make me want to slice and dice!

  4. Rachel, My blog – or the way in which it connects me to other writers – is my education as well. I still sort-of lurk, absorbing as many poetry lessons as I can, while trying to participate in discussions that are still, at times, outside my range.

    What resonates for me in “Feed Her Life,” is the sense of a champion, of vindication, a voice to speak against helplessness and violence. And what feels so important is your willingness to share the process, bringing work out into the light where you, and the rest of us, may see it in all its dimensions.

    As part of her Tuesday Poem this week, Claire quotes a writer about “serving the poem,” something I want to spend time with and understand. This is not work for the faint-hearted. I trust you know the extent of your bravery. xo

    • rachvb says:

      It is odd for me to be learning in the open. I was always such a private learner. Doing things on my own until they were perfect, doing things without being seen, not wanting my mistakes to show. It’s been difficult for me to put certain things out in the world, but I remember a friend telling me that I should be excited to learn, to not think of it as what I don’t have yet, but what I will, what I can accomplish, what I get to learn in writing and life. It’s not a bad thing, it’s a good thing. And I’m trying to see it that way. As much as I feel like a little girl a lot of the time, I think maybe some part of me will always feel like a little girl needing to learn.
      I’m glad that came through for you in the poem. That’s the most important part of it for me and I’m glad it resonated for you. I’ve gone back into it and will post the new one soon and I think it’s much clearer.
      Reading poems – it seems so easy because all the words are there and everything works. Not until you begin really pushing yourself and your work do you realize how much work it really is. How many drafts and steps. And even then it’s no guarantee.
      I read that, too, on Claire’s blog. And I wrote it down.
      What I find pretty amazing is that every new poem, I learn something new.
      Thank you, Marylinn.

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