In Search of a Metaphor

IMG_2754

Each day I’m drawn in
turtle-tight.
I mourn the old way
I shopped, the old way
I chatted with co-workers,
gossiped as Yelena cut my hair,
or watched my children walk,
with heavy schoolbooks.
The old way I had faith
that tomorrow would be
much the same as today.

Now my turtle shell is
stone-heavy and I fear
I’m sinking toward
a long winter hibernation.

But spring is here, and
hibernation feels wrong.
The wrong season.
The wrong metaphor.
The wrong me.

I’ll trade the shell
for a chrysalis
or a hermitage
but please
not a shroud.

I’m not done.
I still want the
last word.

Copyright 2020 Brenda Davis Harsham

Notes: Most would not consider my house a shell, and I never have before. But the world has changed, and we are changing with it.

I used this photo to visualize my own hermitage — a wind-swept mountaintop where I can be in turns a sage, a madwoman, and a mom. The reality of my home is far more prosaic and suburban than this photo. But nothing can prevent me from imagining myself elsewhere.

Writing Tip: This post was inspired in part by a Guardian article by Alison Flood about Simon Armitage’s poem, Lockdown, on the current virus crisis. His poem is visually-exciting with “streams like necklaces/ fan-tailed peacocks, painted elephants,/ embroidered bedspreads/ of meadows and hedges,” punctuating his “waking dreams” of previous quarantines. I would not have fully understood the references without Alison Flood’s light and lyrical explanations. Thank you Alison Flood and Simon Armitage. But this is a writing tip, so my tip is the three R’s. Read, reflect, write. Your own unique viewpoint, your experiences, can communicate something universal. We are all woven together by words and life, warp and weft.

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