We need above all to learn again to believe
in the possibility of nobility of spirit in ourselves.
To Say Thinking
Benjy was say-thinking his turbulent way out loud,
that Caddie smelled like trees, he knew to know
And I cannot breathe I said under my chest breath
And autumn flowers they fill my lungs
with flower dust, a mildew I cant touch.
Ibsen’s Oswald in his stunned syphilis
called out. And I’ll ever forget this need:
Give me the sun, he cried, Give me the sun.
Like anyone could ever give that. Benjy peered through a fence
Smelling honey suckle. I can’t breathe, i said, my father’s gray shirt
had oval wear holes and Oswald was radiant there with hope
that he might live with some brightness.
This spirit land needs what folds under, how we know our songs in the deep,
How we touch each other’s skin where it is all most open. Most acute.
Spirit land makes us burgeon brighten and bespeak what we are.
Eugene O’Neill, in his wonder, thought spiritual realism truest: it was, he said,
really real in the sense of being spiritually true, not meticulously life-like.
No one much listened to his words then, being full as they were then of that thing obsession.
You know, really spirit is right here, before, in us, in you when we stop making words
And just let the say-thinking part emerge to show us out, in,
The fresh hot baked side of us. The shivers of skin. How we surge to quicken
And fall in far to loveth. My mother a true spirit woman felt so different to the world,
her noble heart-self rang to us each and gave forth holy.
She wore flat round clip-on earrings, not danglies.
Between these dull stone bubbles her face gave out spirit shapes,
for she was our flag in the wilderness of materialist monotony.
© 2019, Linda Chown
LINDA E. CHOWN grew up in Berkeley, Ca. in the days of action. Civil Rights arrests at Sheraton Palace and Auto Row. BA UC Berkeley Intellectual History; MA Creative Writing SFSU; PHd Comparative Literature University of Washington. Four books of poetry. Many poems published on line at Numero Cinq, Empty Mirror, The Bezine, Dura, Poet Head and others. Many articles on Oliver Sachs, Doris Lessing, Virginia Woolf, and many others. Twenty years in Spain with friends who lived through the worst of Franco. I was in Spain (Granada, Conil and Cádiz) during Franco’s rule, there the day of his death when people took to the streets in celebration. Interviewed nine major Spanish Women Novelists, including Ana María Matute and Carmen Laforet and Carmen Martín Gaite.