Home > An Opening in the Body > Before the Season

Before the Season

April 6, 2006

This body, uneasy in its bones, crouched down
Into a branchery of ribs that leans
Into the fat of a round belly, the spine
curved down, like a burdened sapling,
And the shoulders cradling a wary skull –

This body is closed. Here is the gate of light
Here is the gate of sound here is the gate of cinnamon;
Here is the gate of seed and here is the gate of wind,
All closed. Under a microscope, the whole field
Of skin, thick-sown with hair, is a Hill
Of doored hobbit-holes, and they too

Are closed. If you drive up to Maine
Before the season, you will see McDonalds
And Burger Kings boarded up, and old ice
Drawing gray patterns on the parking lots.

Like that.

Now light from the unseen sea, and
An unheard murmur of surf, and
An untasted salt of spray, and
An absent mouth between my thighs, and
An unloosened clutch of entrails.

Like that, too.

I remember faintly kisses and sunlight,
From another year, long ago.

Now, under the surface,
The tiderace and the cold surge
Drag against the jetties’ roots,

Unheard.

by Dale Favier of Mole

  1. April 7, 2006 at 6:55 am

    Nice work. I like the way the first line line echoes the first line of Roethke’s famous poem, “I Knew a Woman” (“I knew a woman, lovely in her bones…”). I also like that you give this otherwise quintessentially classical body poor posture and a gut! (Makes it easier for me to identify with it.) The second and third stanzas are my favorites, but the whole poem works for me.

  2. April 7, 2006 at 10:21 am

    Thank you!

    Similar to Dave, the second stanza is my favorite, but the whole poem is strong, so many ways of looking at my body.

  3. MB
    April 7, 2006 at 3:46 pm

    There are compelling bits throughout, and they work together well. And isn’t that the way a body is? Nicely done, Dale.

  4. April 8, 2006 at 6:17 am

    I think you must stop claiming that you can’t write poetry.

    I’m reminded of plain Prufrock, who ends up lingering somewhere in the chambers of the sea.

    Along those lines, my web searches found scant evidence of “tiderace,” a word I thought at first you made up in the finest tradition of poets, and a word I thought rhymed with clitoris.

    A really handsome poem.

  5. April 9, 2006 at 12:23 pm

    lovely

  6. April 12, 2006 at 11:12 am

    I’ve returned to this three times, and each time read it differently. I love the movement in this poem, and that even the limitations of body and time are rendered as beautiful. The spine that bends like a sapling, the ribs as branchery. In closing the body, you have allowed the whole world inside.

  7. April 12, 2006 at 5:30 pm

    I like those doored hobbit-holes. Wonderful poem, Dale. I’ve come back three times too.

  8. April 13, 2006 at 2:24 am

    Which “gate of wind”? I seem to have two.

    I too will be back twice more.

  9. April 13, 2006 at 2:57 pm

    Thanks everyone, very much. Peter, I think “tidderous” definitely belongs in the English lexicon, (which is unfortunately poor in close rhymes for “clitoris” — I don’t know if other people have met this difficulty, but I’m reduced from “timorous” and “rigorous” pretty quickly to words such as “glamorous” or “licorice.” But that I guess steers us toward submissions for a different Qarrtsiluni theme.)

    Jarrett, I was thinking of the nether gate of wind. Maybe I’m just eating too much bread these days :-)

  10. April 15, 2006 at 3:14 pm

    dale you must write a collection of poems about the body. you write about it like others write about nature – with harmony and forgiveness. thank you for this perfectly beautiful view of imperfection.

  11. April 18, 2006 at 7:11 pm

    Ruth’s right.

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