PLACATE THE JAWS

Posted by & filed under Cordoba, Elizabeth Elliott, Placate the Jaws, Poetry, Spectra.

by Elizabeth Elliott (Today’s PRIZE GIVEAWAY is a Copy of Elizabeth’s Book. Leave a COMMENT to enter. See details below)

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Elizabeth Elliott writes poetry about real life – love, family, sexuality, aging, politics, nature, death.  Her words are stark, to the point, and clear.

The poem I’m featuring today, in which Elizabeth pays homage to all the simple wondrousness of life, is from her book Placate the Jaws.
 

***

Before You Close the Lid

Before you close the lid
say thank you for me to my feet,
always cheerful for a tramp,
confused by dancing orders from above.
Say thanks to knees that yanked me in the way that I must go,
their complexity but sign of high ambition,
knees now gone to pasture they deserve,
I linger but their work’s complete.

My hips, replaced so long ago,

I always thanked for arts of love,
but reckless passions are so few
cracked hips with others lie clean in bony piles.
Pelvis and all that waits to throb,
I beg you, open the windows of my mind,
visit me once more to wilder scenes,
those feral loves, the children who came slipping through.

Before you close the lid,
remark as on you pass,
how time alone now seals the passage
to all I thought and all I did.
• • •
You must, for I no longer can,
thank the pleasure of my nose and mouth,
the scrupulosity of words,
the way my wrist and mouth knew poems,
the joining and rejoining of sense and sound,
of all that’s past and might still come,
the details and the thought today,
unique and apt to all my solitary hours.
Oh yes, before the lid is closed,
say thank you for the time I had,
though time itself took all I did,
though time itself takes all I have.

Behind what hair, within what skull,
upon what rumpled pillowcase,
is not where I’ll be found.
Don’t look for me I’ll not be found.
• • •
All giving and all taking once so intense
with glorious or with fatal speed,
connectors working between hand and neck,
now lie inert below my face.
Only belly brought pleasure to the last,
scornful of dangerous swell to vein,
mind surrendered to one last pretense,
to curried lamb, risotto and to crème brulee.
My hands have gone before me,
as in a sense they’ve been my eyes,
holding, releasing, protecting shape,
translating heart for each surprise.
Before you close the lid,
remark as on you pass,
how time alone has put a stamp
on all I thought and all I did.
• • •
Thank you to all these forever,
(though pumping heart and fading mind,
today reject the peace “they” counsel me to know,
instead construe and urge the very words
to yet betray my leaving ——
I’d milk away to racing silks and jockeys still unknown,
yes! to beat against the wind,
race north beneath all lifting bars.)
But no, I myself laid that to rest,
so let it be, another day may come,
(whoever says it won’t
has really not one clue of what there Is.)
To my self, whatever ‘s left of such a wondrous thing as “self”,
I thank, honor, and ever bid its soul
to pure acceptance,
and to you God’s blessing, as you close the lid
***
 

Elizabeth Elliott has taught the craft of poetry in the Gallatin School of New York University where she devised a system of fourteen ideograms for the understanding and comparing of English-language rhythms, whether of prose or poetry in any time period. With composer Seth Cooper, she co-founded, and for a decade directed, Spectra, a non-profit, inter-disciplinary and cross-cultural performing arts organization. Some of Spectra’s venues were Hudson, New York, Merkin Hall in New York City, and The Asia Society. In 1987 Elliott’s ¡Cordoba!, was produced by Spectra in Hudson, New York. Utilizing several nationalities of musicians, singers, dancers and actors from New York City, the music-theater piece, ¡Cordoba! was an historical condensation of the world’s first high civilization. Enduring for many centuries, this was the first time, but hopefully not the last, in which Jews, Muslims and Christians lived and worked together as creative equals. Placate The Jaws is Elizabeth’s fourth book of published poetry. You’ll find more of her poems, and you can hear her readings, on her website at www.eelliottpoetry.com.

TODAY’S PRIZE CONTEST!
Elizabeth is offering a Free Copy of PLACATE THE JAWS to today’s lucky winner.
Today’s Prize Giveaway has the same rules as the other giveaways:


1.To enter to win, simply COMMENT ON THIS BLOG, leaving an email address so we can contact you if you win. All names of commenters go into the ‘hat’.


2.The giveaway period runs for ONE WEEK from posting. The winner will then be chosen by random drawing and contacted.


3. Only one entry per giveaway. (But you can enter as many different Daily Giveaway Contests as you want!)


If you don’t win this one, be sure to order a copy of Elizabeth’s book from Artisan Books and Bindery.