Toni Morrison, author, poet, Nobel Prize winner, Poet Laureate, teacher, African-American woman, left her earthly home August 5, 2019.
Someone Leans Near
Someone leans near
And sees the salt your eyes have shed.
You wait, longing to hear
Words of reason, love or play
To lash or lull you toward the hollow day.
Silence kneads your fear
Of crumbled star-ash sifting down
Clouding the rooms here, here.
You shore up your heart to run. To stay.
But no sign or design marks the narrow way.
Then on your skin a breath caresses
The salt your eyes have shed.
And you remember a call clear, so clear
“You will never die again.”
Once more you know
You will never die again.
"Her writing was not just beautiful but meaningful — a challenge to our conscience and a call to greater empathy," Obama wrote on his Facebook page. "She was as good a storyteller, as captivating, in person as she was on the page."
I was certainly aware of her novels but only found her poetry after her death. "Phrases, in her poetry as well as her novels give pause because they were fresh combinations of words that painted leveled images in a word or two: crumbled star ash, hollow day, silence kneading fear--complete images that could be interpreted in so many ways; each a pause cliffside before a leap into something else altogether." Fyn Dorian @ Writing.com.
I tore from a limb fruit that had lost its green.
My hands were warmed by the heat of an apple
Fire red and humming.
I bit sweet power to the core.
How can I say what it was like?
The taste! The taste undid my eyes
And led me far from the gardens planted for a child
To wildernesses deeper than any master’s call.
Now these cool hands guide what they once caressed;
Lips forget what they have kissed.
My eyes now pool their light
Better the summit to see.
I would do it all over again:
Be the harbor and set the sail,
Loose the breeze and harness the gale,
Cherish the harvest of what I have been.
Better the summit to scale.
Better the summit to be.
I am sorry discovered her poetry so late. Her imagery, "the taste undid my eyes" will live on.