National Poetry Month April 25, 2020
When water wets stone
is stone more real as it tastes water—
in between those kisses,
longing left within the stone?
Or, are Saint Catherine’s tremors true
that all the way to heaven
Or does gratitude in lovers parting
as writes Thich Nhat Hanh,
keep truth from flying away.
So even in absence, heaven,
even in longing, relief.
1. What inspired you to write this poem?
St. Catherine’s words, “All the way to heaven is heaven.” The contradiction that in longing for love, it is already present, while, for me at least, the feeling of being without love is a feeling of bleak negation. That Thich Nat Hanh expressed a similar belief and faith in absence as St. Catherine, in a different time from a different religion, it seems a lack of faith or openness in me that fails to complete the circle. I suppose this is writing a question to stay open for an answer.
2. What do you like about this poem?
It feels true to me. It says what I mean to say. I like its tightness. I think others may also feel this way.
3. What would you change about this poem?
I wish I had made it easier to enter. I imagine a reader skipping off the surface of the poem and not finding the feeling in it, (which is perhaps because I did not share enough feeling), and in any case is my responsibility to make happen. However, this is one of those poems I find impossible to re-write now. It feels done.
4. Where, when, and how often do you write?
I do new writing in my office at home, in the morning before trying to do any other kind of thinking, five days a week. I jot down words that come at odd times on my phone, and re-write at any time I have time if the whole of a poem feels there.
5. What poetry books are you reading right now?
THE CARRYING, by Ada Limón. The Art of Voice, by Tony Hoagland with Kay Cosgrove.