A secret

November 15, 2006

If I don’t write about it
maybe it will die. If I keep my
dry tinder away from its
forest fire of words, maybe
that will be enough. Except

what if a secret’s more visible
when being kept in, like the neon
blue limbs of jellyfish, illuminating
edges of inky black piers,
like mermaids shining torches.

Perhaps it is better to share
the secret, to halve the light of the load,
smother the glow like a blanket
thrown over
a canary.

I think I will whisper this secret
into a dozen places. I will dig out
a small pit of soil and murmer it into the
dark balls of roots. I will draw
it on the back of a bus ticket

and tie it to the thin, red foot of a
sleek, black duck, migrating for winter.
This secret will be told to the
pale pink cushion of a clam,
to the canal running murky,

and littered with leaves like ears,
to the interior of a plug socket, but still
I’ll worry. Will these keep it safe?
Or has the stone
said something?

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13 Responses to “A secret”

  1. Allen said

    I just can’t get enough of the way you write, always enjoyable. Always a pleasure. I just wanted to let you know that.

    Although I don’t comment on every piece I do read everything you write. Every time you update your site my feed reader tells me and I rush right over to feast at your horn of plenty. Okay. Yes that was a hokey holiday reference none the less I do read everything you write and just thought I’d let you know that. ::grin::

    As long as you keep writing it I’ll keep reading it.

  2. i really like the poem – it gets into its stride and has some very good images … i could suggest some edits – but then i always stick my nose in …
    xxx

  3. Allen, thanks so much for that, I’m beeming ear to ear!:)At the risk of sounding like a mutual appreciation society I think I’ve read all of your stuff too-and from my comments you’ll know how cool I think it is. Thanks again!

  4. Fishbone woman-tell,tell,tell! I’ve already been fussing with it loads-new person fussing would be a novelty..go on then!..x;)

  5. *rubs hands together*

    well first i would lose the stanza 1

    in stanza 2 i would

    what if a secret’s more visible

    (a secret isn’t visible in the first place?)

    when being kept in, like the neon
    blue limbs of jellyfish,
    illuminating edges of inky black piers,( i think the inky black comes too soon after the neon blue – so would drop black)
    like mermaids shining torches.

    what if a secret’s visible
    being kept in, like neon
    blue limbs of jellyfish,
    illuminating edges of inky piers,
    like mermaids shining torches.

    stanza 3

    Perhaps i’s better to share
    the secret, to halve the light of the load,
    smother the glow (i like the way glow echoes load)
    like a blanket
    thrown over
    a canary. (this is where i have a problem – a canary doesn’t glow – unless radioactive? so is a confused image for me …)

    from this point i really like it … it’s quirky and gathers a kind of demented pace which works very well … i’d make a few adjustments

    I think I’ll whisper this secret
    into a dozen places. I’ll dig out
    a pit of soil, murmer it into the
    dark balls of roots. I’ll draw
    it on the back of a bus ticket

    tie it to the thin, red foot of a
    sleek, black duck, migrating for winter.
    This secret will be told to the
    pale pink cushion of a clam,
    to the canal running murky,

    and littered with leaves like ears,
    to the interior of a plug socket, but still
    I’ll worry. Will these keep it safe?
    Or has the stone
    said something?

  6. Dana said

    You are my hero for using language like this:

    like the neon
    blue limbs of jellyfish,
    illuminating edges of inky black piers

    This secret will be told to the
    pale pink cushion of a clam

    Yummy.

  7. I love the imagery and metaphors in this poem … my first visit here am I am “wowed!” Interesting edits from “ivoryfishbone” … frankly some of the edits are fine (for tightening language), but so is the original (for conveying subtelties and emotion) … and in the end the edits come down to editorial taste and “paring.”

    …for example, a secret can be quite visible … some “secrets” are veiled thinly or poorly veiled, and the argument against that reflects a more narrow interpretation.

    In any event, enough of my rambling. Beautiful poem! I’ll be back for more. Warmly, JP

  8. Fishbone-thanks so much for taking the time over that-so much appreciated! Even as we type read I am giving your suggestions serious thought. I’ll keep you posted-er-literally!

    Dana and Deborah (moment of indecisiveness over whether to use your JP!) also thank you so much. Don’t know what to say really-except your comments make me feel glowy all over-I’m biting my lip as I read, thinking what kind people you are.

    Really appreciated the alternative feedback on the piece too. Fishbone liking blue on its own and Dana not minding the black close by-and JP (JP in praise of indecisiveness)liking the take on secrets and visibility.

    JP-I’ve just read your poem-really enjoyed it, will leave a comment on your site and also come again. Will be visiting yours later Dana-oh too much to say and need to rush off out!Bye for now before I write an essay!

  9. davidbdale said

    This is so impressive. The poem, of course, is fantastic. But the poet! Has any writer ever been so welcoming and generous with her critics! And the readers! Where else can one go to find readers so attentive and kind, so learned and genuinely helpful! I’m a little in awe. My goosebumps have chills, but my heart is warm. My metaphors are in the blender.

    neon blue limbs
    inky black piers
    thin red foot
    sleek black duck
    pale pink cushion

    Our poet friend is very deliberate. Whatever our recommendatins, could she have put together all these phrases by accident?

    For me, the key line is about sharing the burden of a secret. It reminds me of a favorite saying whose origin I’ve forgotten:

    Happiness shared is happiness doubled.
    Sadness shared is sadness halved.

    Do what you do, Lydia. There’s plenty of success here. If it fails, it fails admirably. Fail better next time.

  10. Hi David. Someone once told me you should never criticise criticism and that it can only help you-I really agree with that. I sometimes get emailed poems to crit and know how much attention it takes to do a good job-so genuinely appreciate the time and effort taken by people when they do the same for me. I might not always agree with the crits, but finding out how something you’ve produced is actually received is such a rare opportunity.

    Anyhow, thanks for those beautiful compliments David. I’m as dizzied as you are by all these comments, including yours-which is pretty poetic in its own right.

  11. Dana said

    Hey, have I mentioned I am really stoked that you found my blog? And as far as my being kind … well, you haven’t met me.

    *smiles*

  12. So glad I found it too. The distinction of being first there is also not lost on me. I got to feel all puffed up and important when you pointed this out on Poetry Thursday. And all I had to do was follow a link! Definately proof that everything is meant to happen. So nice to know that you’re happy for me to come around:)

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