I have been writing poetry for over 30 years now. Along with travelling, cafes and my darling family, poetry is my sustenance! The Bronte sisters and John Keats are (as you will note below) two of my literary obsessions. I am the author of five poetry collections, including most recently WE LIT THE LAMPS OURSELVES (Salmon Poery, Ireland), NEW GIRL (Anchor & Plume Press), and YAYA' S CLOTH (Iris Press). I live in Madison, Wisconsin.
To Emily Bronte
Eleven years old and sunk in the red velveteen
chair at the Fox Bay Theater, I absorbed
the raw sculpture of Penistone Crag,
bracken and gorse, the peat
blanketing the Yorkshire moors. Heathcliff
with his sea-green eyes, black cape swirled
around him, how tall and alarmingly
handsome he looked.
At Catherine’s grave he cried, you wrote:
I cannot live without my life,
desire held hostage in his eyes,
my heart held stunned in my chest.
Years later, I return to your words;
travel to the stone-
flagged floors of your home;
your desk-box saved under glass,
its lining worn, purple velvet
splotched with red sealing wax.
Walking the rocky footpath towards swells
of purple heather, I remember the words
of the local stationer who saw you
returning one evening: her countenance was lit up
by a divine light. I imagine
I hear your skin
brush mine, whisper what you know:
the silence, the stars
that burn through the page.
Hone the hours to their core—you might have said--
wind and poem, passion and moor.
-first published in WE LIT THE LAMPS OURSELVES (Salmon Poetry)
At Keats' Grave
Non-Catholic Cemetary, Rome.
I found the granite lyre,
the raised letters: Here lies one
whose name was writ in water.
Among the cypress and pine, loud birdsong,
and dark purple iris beside his stone,
a handful of withered roses lay sprawled,
a white rock etched with initials.
I rummaged in my pockets,
found no flower or bead,
no chip of amber like the one I'd left
for my grandmother.
All I had was my new pen,
filled to the top with an ink
that wrote like early twilight.
I wedged it just below
Feb. 21, 1821, planted it--there.
Let the earth carry my message.
-AT KEATS' GRAVE was first published in Naugatuck River Review, and is forthcoming in my collection AN INK LIKE EARLY TWILIGHT (Salmon Poetry).
©2014 Andrea Potos