Poets’ Corner: Can We Hold the Shapes We Dream?


What has become of morning and mourning

And these uncertain whispers of stardust and blood that rouse us to rejoice in statues of light carved at the edge of the sea?

To say we are one, one form, one matter formed

From expectations and needs for all these things

Longed for in our waking sleep, in restlessness

And the hesitations of our deep sins of omission,

Is to say we cannot hold the shapes we dream.

So if you come to me dressed in skins stolen from

The traps of seeming innocence, speaking in tongues

Of things that exist only in reflection and coincidence,

Will our memories still wander beneath the Dogwoods

The way our bodies wandered under their weathered leaves?

I have so few storms inside me today, so few days left

Of thunder and winds to sweep the porch of debris

I only see the half-light of summer washing your hair.

Like you, I am a mythology, and forbidden, a glyph

Of nerve and bone carved into the scattered stone

Tablets at the island’s crumbling edge as it is eaten

By the sea. The season descending is just another form of gravity and the only anchor Autumn offers.

In the history of water surrounding us, the tidal light

Of chance and natural circumstance, if anything is real

It is this, this chemistry of form and flesh energy holds

Together tenebrously until we rearrange the changing

Syllables of days into cells and codices of a language so human

All our lost and unborn lives will be recovered from the sea.

A resident of the dank and moldy primal forests of West Tisbury for 32 years, Lee H. McCormack has been occasionally reported as actually being seen alive, usually from a great distance through high-octane vision-magnifying devices. In spite of life, he has managed to continue pursuing the elusive images and metaphors required in poetry to properly confound the rational senses on his mysterious and wondrous journey of spirit through matter towards that final passage into solar wind and pure light. Otherwise, he’s a pretty nice guy.