The Fathomable Unknown (Revised with Audio)

The Fathomable Unknown

you recollect the past,
its sweat-stained shirts
and hulking monoliths–
describe the bells
so that we hear
the tintinnabulation,
the bell-swell, clapper-clang,
ding-dong, soul-singing

ring across the hills and plains
across the years—construe
what’s false or true. You,
Writer, make a city rise and fall.
Create a giant, defiant but
literate, stormy as a cloud–

wonder aloud,
grapple for answers
based in knowledge—
a girl, a famine, misogyny, religion—
the thousand indecisions,

the visions —
life and death
and forgotten facts
buried in earth and under snow,
but know,
like the snowbells, they rise and ring,

and like the robins they sing,
a song takes flight,
their wings catch the light
and a tale rises from the dust,
because it must,
a wonder of sorrow, regret,
love, or glory–

Once upon a time. . .imagine. You tell the story.

I revised this poem from last Monday’s musings and added the audio. You can read more about the inspiration and see more photos here. I’m sharing this with dVerse Open Link Night.

55 thoughts on “The Fathomable Unknown (Revised with Audio)

  1. Wow, fantastic revision!!! The poem is so musical, with outstanding use of rhyme. It has a T.S. Eliot vibe to it, which I also love. For me, the whole poem turns on “You, / Writer, make a city rise and fall.” Brava!

  2. The power of writing is easily missed. We create our reality with our words every time we put them on paper. Sometimes this is an exercise in imagination and sometimes an exercise in seeing ourselves.

    • Thank you, Ali.
      Yes, you are right. This poem came about from thinking about some recent things I’ve seen (play, movie) and read, current events, history. . .and Jane’s random words. 🙂

  3. I like how you play with sound here, Merril.
    Reading your lines “bell-swell, clapper-clang,
    ding-dong, soul-singing”
    reminded me immediately of Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poem with lines like these: “Cloud-puffball, torn tufts, tossed pillows | flaunt forth, then chevy on an air-”
    from “That Nature is a Heraclitean Fire” I believe.

    I don’t think you were necessarily going for sprung rhythm but that’s what came to mind. . . .

  4. Gorgeous, gorgeous work done, Merril! 😀 It was a joy to hear you read at OLN. I especially like; “You, Writer, make a city rise and fall. Create a giant, defiant but literate, stormy as a cloud.” ❤️❤️❤️

  5. This has to be one of the best poems I’ve resd about the process of writing. It made me remember a poem by Emily Dickinson, “The mind is a groove” something like that.

    Thanks for sharing this masterpiece, Merril🙂

  6. It’s so rewarding to revisit and work on poems – they are never really finished. I love the use of onomatopoeia in the opening stanza, Merril, and the internal rhyme in the lines ‘Create a giant, defiant but / literate, stormy as a cloud’, and the songs as robins that take flight and ‘their wings catch the light’.

  7. Gorgeous poem, Merril. Love the sonic nature of it, the wordplay and rhyme, the existential grappling. Beautiful to read. I like how there’s a feeling of cares taking flight with the birds you’ve depicted. Stunning photo too 🙂

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