Friday, March 26, 2010

The Banshee Wail

The oldwomanshuffle—no speed
to write of, really,
but dogged determination to move
onward, upward, anywhere but here,

the long voyage out and you
can never go home, again,
and on and on
the journey begins, blah, blah, blah

yet she keeps moving,
never tiring enough to decide
there’s no more point in

and if she really lets go
with the wail that inspired
all the stories there’d just be
another story and she’d be

just as far from home,
so wailing’s just a waste.
She’s not gonna do it,
there’s still business up ahead


Mark said...

This what I think poetry is about at its best. 5 stanzas, 5 clear and related ideas to play with, all aiming at a single point - the point seems to be our mom, and if not, so what. It makes me think of my mom and her situation and several ways to see it. The fact that there are many ways is both a satisfying and reassuring aspect of the poem.

Jeff Epton said...

You know, bro, I wasn't consciously thinking of Mom when I wrote this. It certainly applies to her in most important ways--she refuses to feel sorry for herself, insofar as that is possible, and refuses to share her sorrow to a degree far beyond what most of us could bear. She shoulders her burden with a great deal of dignity, but she is not so isolated as the mythological banshee, who must endure extremes of social isolation, and ages ever so much slower than the rest of us, and whose anguished big-cat wail terrorizes us all, even as we ignore the real character of those whom we misunderstand. Still, they, like the rest of us, must soldier on.

Jeff Epton said...

But more to the point, I suppose is your comment about what you prefer a poem to be--aiming at a clear point, even if it takes a reader to drag it there. I am grateful to you for dragging The Banshee Wail further down the road.