Thursday, June 4, 2009

Archipelago Series

copyright Anne 2008


Archipelago II

The islands of the Aegean Archipelago

Were scattered like the islands of

Her memory of Helen.

The largest was the landscape of love,

Shared, then lost, the most populated with memories.

Then on to the most craggy of the lot:

Rough spots, cliff-hangers, if you will--

Some that had left them dangling by a fraying rope,

Some whose views from the top had been mesmerizing.

After that, the smaller islands:

One, merely a glance;

Another, a longer look across a table;

The next, a tear that left a trail of black down her cheek;

Finally, the smallest but dearest--her voice.

The islands fade now, but her voice

Is the chime of memory

Each time the wind blows.





Archipelago III

Islands keep appearing.

Some slowly,

Some jutting up abruptly,

Some playing Hide and Seek

Like my dream lover.

She appears, she disappears,

She is angry, hurt,

Sometimes consoling,

But always indignant,

Justified, always right, and


Alone is the largest island:

Safe, a fortress against feeling,

Like Jonah in the Whale.

The islands that jut up in this

Sea of Consciousness are

Small but potent:

The most rugged islands are

Pain that others caused and

Memory that refuses to forgive.

"Lean into the sharp edges,"

Helen Keller said. She bled but

She could see for the first time

A world that had denied itself to her.

And there are other islands,

One for business,

One for the impersonal voice,

I get to visit often—like going to the mall.

Like reading the daily paper—

Mundane, pedestrian, ordinary,

Yet still compartmentalized—

Shall I go to this store? Or that?

Shall I read the sports section?

But once I saw that private island,

The one where my lover lives,

The one that is vulnerable,



My ship keeps steering there-

Calypso II—

And I want to be her captive.







Archipelago IV

These islands are my own and

They are uncharted as yet.

The first crude maps gave only

An imperfect representation,

Like an old sheet of Polaroid film

Whose development had stopped

Somewhere in the process,

Leaving only a suggestion of

What was there.

The later maps got the distances correct:

4,776 miles to London;

4,508 miles to Glasgow.

But from which island?

The largest which offered the most

To its inhabitants?

The one that had been cultivated

To provide the nourishment?

The one with the volcano

That seeped its sorrows?

The one that had been bombed

To test the weapons?

The cartographers had a field day.

How far was it from nourishment to

Seeping sorrows, for example?

Did the tides of a Full Moon

Hide more shoreline?

Where the hell were these islands?

Why did distance matter?

They finally gave up. So did I.

The changing landscape provided

Nothing solid from which to gauge

The distance between each island:

Only the mainland remained a fixed point.

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