Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Poem of the Day: “Fretwork” by Carol Hamilton, Poet of the Month

Songs of Eretz Poetry Review is pleased to present “Fretwork” by Carol Hamilton, Poet of the Month.  Ms. Hamilton will also be serving as the guest judge for the Songs of Eretz Poetry Award Contest, which will run from September 1 to October 15, 2015.  A detailed biography of Ms. Hamilton may be found here:  http://eretzsongs.blogspot.com/2015/08/songs-of-eretz-poetry-review-poet-of.html.  The contest guidelines may be previewed here:  http://eretzsongs.blogspot.com/p/songs-of-eretz.html.

Fretwork
Carol Hamilton

The aspen trees bear the scars
near Canjilon. The sheepherders
with their Spanish past
carved their art, their graffiti,
themselves into the paper-white bark,
left Altamira-like horses,
the date, the cross,
a naked woman of wide hip and thigh.
Their faith, their lust
withstood the miles, the isolation,
the last light glancing off evening
to illumine the chiming leaves from below
like Toulouse-Lautrec faces in a bistro.

Those little incisions they made
out of afternoon boredom
have swollen, darkened, grown,
and will die with the trees,
which have gone on
about their treely tasks
carrying the wounds, ignoring them.
I would tattoo my name on your wrist
like that, lightly, not to hurt you,
but just so you would be marked by me.

Poet’s Notes:  I believe that writing a love poem without falling into sentimentality or using trite expressions is a true challenge for the poet. Like most of my work, this piece did not start out to be a love poem. To me aspens and Spanish shepherds (perhaps they were really Basque) stir memories and imagination. The photographs of the tattoos the bored shepherds left in the Rockies stirred many associations and memories. In the end, the lines, as I wrote them, led to a more personal response.

Editor’s Note:  I enjoy the engaging ending of this poem about love and arborglyphs.  Walt Whitman might have expressed the sentiment in just that way.  “Fretwork” was originally published in Skylark.

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