Word Poetry

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Sample Poems by Meg Schoerke


Lament

--after Isaiah 54:1


We who are barren and desolate, let us sing.
Let our spirits rejoice, our voices multiply
and cry aloud unnoticed, as the reeds
beside a parched riverbed sigh in unison.
Break forth into singing, women, the desolate,
let our imperfect cries become our children.

If we labor, we may yet have children
brought forth in lamentation as we sing,
for more are the children of the desolate
than of the married wife. They multiply
and lift their simple cries in unison
with our cries, strong and supple as the reeds.

The mother of Moses left him among the reeds
that he might flourish among Pharaoh's children.
After the maidens cried in unison
with joy at their small miracle, she sang
and did not let her sorrows multiply
but nursed the child, no longer desolate.

She gave her belovéd to the desolate
in a pitch basket woven of dead reeds,
so that her strength, in him, might multiply
and through the wilderness uphold the children
of Israel, who, as they walked, would sing
new songs of thanks and praise in unison.

They would not sing with her in unison,
for banished Moses left her desolate
to die before he came again to sing
hail down like fire that scorched the river reeds.
Oh fruitful women, you must lose your children;
their deeds, but not your songs, will multiply.

Learn then to let your voices multiply:
sing, with the barren, songs in unison.
And barren women, covet not their children,
whose deeds will only make them desolate,
but bend in sorrow like the graceful reeds
and after the wind passes stand and sing.

Rejoice in unison when desolate:
let our songs multiply like endless reeds;
our voices are our children. Let us sing.


Sight Lines

Like an interior storm
roiling the top floor room, the trapped dove,
scattering feathers floorward from above
the sill and table, rattles
the glass, assaulting
the window, beating and beating against the pane
as if it could break through.
But its view
deceives: those hurrying clouds, those ranks
of roofs and chimney tops
recede to inviting distances.
Beyond the window, other birds
idle along the gusts, wings motionless,
while this dove panics, fooled. Its once soft
calls-the gentle, falling
four beat trills of temperate mourning-
scatter in shrieks, high pitched and stuttering,
as it flounders, certain
that nothing bars its escape, not even
the dove it sees there in the glass.


Memory Work

Sometimes remembering
is like respooling string
after the kite drops. I
tease out the tangles, tie
old and new lengths together,
and at frayed places sever
the line to knot it whole.