Meet Me Next to the Nymphéas

My feet know the way,

and I trust them.

It is a humble, everyday sort of magic, I suppose.

And so, at last, with their guidance, I wander into the hushed gallery

and am bewitched afresh — utterly, completely, hopelessly.

My eyes blur with sudden tears,

and I am alchemy of emotion.

I breathe in greens, lavenders, golds;

I exhale serenity.

Hello, old friend. It’s me. I’ve come to stay awhile.

A Moveable Feast

“And when at last you find someone to whom you feel you can pour out your soul, you stop in shock at the words you utter.” -Sylvia Plath

I share the astonishment of wounded stars,

spellbound in their wandering courses,

held blithely captive to wonder.

To be seen, to be known.

The petals drop slowly, rhythmically even,

until quintessence alone remains,

perched on fragile stem.

To be chosen, to be loved.

I partake of a sumptuous repast

where brokenness leads

to no loss of appetite.

To be embraced, to be set free.

Titus Andronicus: Act II, Scene IV

I am not Lucrece. I am not Lavinia.

You cannot cut out my tongue

if the truth of the words that I speak

causes you discomfort,

if the way that I unapologetically carry myself

brings you unease.

You cannot minimize my significance.

You cannot trample upon my flame.

You cannot silence me

for, when I speak,

I verbalize the communal pain

of thousands upon thousands.

Muteness would be mutiny,

and that is an act I refuse to perform.

Aubade

I said, ‘Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. I would flee far away and stay in the wilderness; I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and the storm.'” Psalm 55:6-8

The Nesting

“But you are not a dove.” The reproachful echo resounds, echoing in my skull.

And yet, so often, I cling to my perceived agency, gaze firmly upon the skies.

I fixate in formulaic verbosity; I validate my foibles and fears.

Daydreams of nostalgic yesterday oft overtake present joys.

Phantom pains from missing wings skeletally ricochet.

Now I pluck at twigs, yearning to create something new, to find contentment here.

The Singing

Fragile frame. Twinkling song. Sharp, observant eyes.

The nightingale welcomes me into her nest, and I humbly accept.

“What’s your story?”

An inquisitive tilt of the head, expectant.

The words are slow, manifesting like molasses.

They are elusive, shifting in shadows I cannot grasp.

Yet the silence is somehow entirely right, and I need not rush to fill it.

I sip my tea, breathe in, and begin.

The pause just before birdsong greets the dawn.

Reverie

An insurgent breath, recoils, trembles, returns, swallowed back up by my greedy lungs

          as the train deafeningly gallops into the station,

                                                                                                and my eyes flutter closed.

                                                                I float delectably, daringly close to danger, suspended.

Do you want to know what the secret is?

Sometimes I do not feel real.

                    It arrives as a pleasant surprise when my heart instinctually begins to pound,

                                                when the counterfeited bitter wind stubbornly tosses my curls,

                                        when I encounter a thousand crystalline kisses falling from the sky.

I shiver, and I smile.

Sometimes I do not feel real,

but tonight I most certainly do.

Attacking My To-Read Pile

To properly kick off 2018, I read eight books over Christmas break!

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf  [✭ ✭ ✭]

Eloquent. Modern. Candid.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr  [✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭]

Riveting. Illuminating. Moving. Refreshing. Beautiful.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern  [✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭]

Magical. Suspenseful. Mysterious. Satisfying. Extraordinary.

Everyone’s a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too by Jonny Sun [✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭]

Imaginative. Engaging. Heartwarming. Endearing. Unforgettable.

The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur  [✭ ✭]

Unoriginal. Repetitive.

Secrets for the Mad by Dodie Clark  [✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭]

Vulnerable. Entertaining. Witty. Charming. Delightful.

The Stream & The Sapphire by Denise Levertov  [✭ ✭ ✭]

Worshipful. Rich. Thoughtful.

Black Chalk by Christopher J. Yates  [✭ ✭ ✭ ✭]

Intense. Gripping. Ingenious. Thrilling.

Roots & Resolutions: 2018

Grow

  • Be renewed by frequent time in the Word.
  • Journal daily; process, reflect, and pray.
  • Travel. (London, England: May 2018)

Nurture

  • Exercise at least 2x a week (go to the rink, attend yoga class, etc).
  • Make reading for enjoyment a constant priority.
  • Stay hydrated!
  • Blog more consistently, aiming for a new post every weekend or so.

Prune

  • Spend less time on social media.
  • Consume less sweet treats — only on weekends or special occasions.
  • Save the earth and forgo being a carnivore on Meatless Mondays.

Foggy Thoughts

The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.
-Fog, Carl Sandburg

 

Muffled, the fog creeps in — relentless, stifling, enveloping all in its path. Time seems to halt, perhaps in reverence or perhaps in fear. Suddenly, you realize you have not breathed in days. Since the fog came. Lampposts appear in the grey mist as if faraway stars, yet they do not twinkle and burn. Still, they seem too distant, too otherworldly to touch. Buildings grow unfamiliar, hulking in the ever-dusk. The cold comes, or maybe it never left. You are no longer sure.

Disjointed hands. Friction. Heat. A flicker of life, and repeat.

The words freeze on your tongue. A lone train wails, unseen.

Shivering, speculating, succumbing.

You can no longer remember what it was like

before the fog came.

• [A poetic experiment in the correlation between the prevailing weather conditions and one’s mirrored mental state, inspired by Carl Sandburg and Ethan Frome.] •

 

Little Things

With needle and thread, with pen and paper, with a typewriter’s clacking keys, I attempt to string together the little things — the hiccups and heartbeats — so that no infinitesimal moment escapes me. However, capricious memory slips like lackluster sand through the gaping space between my grasping fingers, and so I languish.

I hold on as best I can; I learn to content myself with letting go.

A single dollar abandoned on the concrete. Just for me? I like to think so. A man in the grocery store complimenting my smile, asking if it is always there. A mother, with her arms laden with piles of books for her children, directs a tender smile at me and wishes me a wonderful day after I simply pause to open a door. An impromptu bouquet of flowers in my hand, clandestinely plucked. An essay — ripe in its utter completeness.

He speaks to me in ways so grandiosely minute; I try to listen.

Home?

Today, it dawned on me at last: I am a college student.

I was sitting peacefully in SAGA when it happened, strategically placed in a quieter corner of the cafeteria near a sunny window overlooking the verdant softball field below. There was a cheery mug of Earl Grey tea tenderly cupped in my palm (to which I had added honey and a dash of soy milk with great expertise) that was softly radiating warmth, and I was intently hunched over, studying the pages of The Oresteia in all its beauty and horror and intricacy, furiously highlighting, underlining, and starring countless phrases out of pure excitement and enjoyment of the gripping ancient text. And then I suddenly halted — awestruck. I was still alive after over a month of independence; I was successfully navigating Wheaton College. On my way to the crowded cafeteria, and even amidst the harried process of finding an unoccupied table, I was able to spot numerous kind, familiar faces in the sea of ravenous humans. To my left, a girl from my French class that very morning who has mastered quite an impressive accent. (C’est magnifique!) To my right, a compassionate girl from my residence hall floor that had once generously transported my car-less freshman self to a nearby Target without hesitation. These people that I am now beginning to distinguish among the masses have names and stories, strengths and weaknesses, moments of great vulnerability and triumphs; I am finally beginning to realize that truth. We are all undeniably interconnected, even in the most seemingly insignificant of ways.

So, I continued on, feeling just a bit lighter and as if the world was somehow reborn anew as a noticeably friendlier place. I successfully checked my CPO box, no longer helplessly fumbling with the clumsy lock or struggling to recall the digits of my combination; I paused to admire blooming flowers along the concrete path that I trod as I thoughtfully weighed the benefits of various studying locations in my mind — fully oriented with no need of a campus map or spoken direction.

As apprehension ebbs into a form of assuaging familiarity, I ponder: could this be home?