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Like Glass

I’ve had a couple hours of sleep since I posted this poem, and now I have problems with it. It’s been rewritten in the post that will follow this one shortly, but since none of the commenters on this one hated it, I’ll make it public again, perhaps as contrast to the new version which I feel closer to and think communicates better.

Heated to glowing liquid,
he forms himself
with proximate air —
sometimes artisan breath, loosed —
considering character and function
through moments damaged
by his errant filter.

He composes hymns that ring true in self images
aching from their own afflictions,
turning white-hot focused affection
toward the shiny things,
with haphazard awareness
of their seared skin and his creeping cold.
Then he shatters —

his pieces scattering,
glittering in intermittent light
as his objects struggle, each in our own time,
in varying states,
each one burned before we know
and living to tell,
each left holding a brittle, cooled shard,
none with a whole to understand
or fortify a future on bare feet.

Perhaps he is barest among us,
vacillating, again molten.
Pained reflection and splintered facts
alter his shape,
though it still favors the old,
beckoning her trust with a new hymn
in the markings and exhalations,
expectant prayers, for art’s sake
and a life lived in one piece.

May she continue to shine,
unfiltered,
with rewarded belief in secret magic
despite the advantage of viewing her predecessor
burnt, shard in hand.

I’m not sure how I feel about this, even though I think it’s finished. As always, please don’t hesitate to be honest about your impressions. That sort of discussion might distract me from the subject, which was probably too fresh to explore this way. But I needed to write something about it (in public I guess since I’ve shared it here) and this is what came.

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8 thoughts on “Like Glass

    • Thanks for relating what you saw here. After a bit of sleep, some kind observations, and a re-reading, this poem felt wrong to me. I don’t know why I was able to do it now, but the rewrite I just finished feels much better to me. I stated up top that the new one is in the following post. We’ll see how I like that one tomorrow.

  1. I really love the last stanza. The second character is unexpected, but fits well with the narrative, and the music of this stanza is subtle and beautiful. I also love that there’s a lot of action going on in this poem. You have creation, destruction, and creation rising again in new forms all the way throughout.

    • Thanks for reading it, Courtenay. Something about the way I tried to include the creating and the tearing apart and the facts of this situation didn’t work for me after I came back from a couple hours of much needed sleep. The new version of it in the next post works better for me now. I’m a little on the confused side today, but plugging away.

  2. Reverse the genders, and you have my sister and my son. That description of how he seems like blown glass, then the shift to a hymn, those combined give me the sense of someone whose presence fills the room, touches everyone (not necessarily in a good way, but in a powerful one), so that when he breaks, everyone is affected, cut in someway, left barefoot even though walking without shoes is perilous. And then the girl who follows after him, who has the potential to be the same way, but who has been cut, who might be able to swell and fill the room without breaking, she is a symbol of hope. Like I said, reverse the genders, and you’ve got my family.

    • Wow, Jessie. I think we could have a hell of a talk sometime if we could sit down a while with some coffee and cake. I feel like I can understand the emotion and the power of what you got from this, but I don’t recognize most of it in what I was trying to say. Which is only to say that you may actually be saying something similar, but in different language. I’m not having a good day, so I don’t know. As I’ve told the others in the comments here, I didn’t much like this poem after I woke up, so I rewrote it and put the new version in the next post. This writing stuff is hard.

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