Found pillow

In marble halls as white as milk,
lined with a skin as soft as silk,
An image of women, an image of men,
Dented and battered, scarred and thin.

Within, without, with hearts and rain,
With cabbages, kings, with kites without strings.
Their eyes were watching, were watching god,
in bare rooms, empty, were watching god,
With shadowed eyes, bare mattresses, odd,
shortened breath, shortened life, watching god,
watching god.

We suspect them of having mean hearts, she said.
She looked through the windows, she looked in their heads.
We suspect them of breathing, we suspect them of crime,
The crime of not sleeping, of eating dry bread
of drawing breath, of drawing
a bridge, of drawing a card to carry the dead.

This book is harmless, written and sad.
These people have gone where nothing is said.
This loss is a pillow, grieved and wet. 
This loss is a pillow, beaten, set,
Thrown on the floor, wrinkled and sad.

This loss is a pillow, grieved and wet, buried
In walls, breathing out, breathing in,
in a marble hall, as white as milk,
Lined with a skin, as soft as silk.






(found poem, writing group, 15 minutes, untouched)

4 Responses to “Found pillow”

  1. 1 Tek October 23, 2008 at 8:43 pm

    I don’t even know how to describe the feeling reading that poem…except to say that I’m enamored of poems that evoke such feeling.

  2. 2 Teresa October 24, 2008 at 8:04 am

    Tek – thanks, it gives me a strange feeling too. It is free-written using a collection of randomly chosen phrases taken from books off my shelves at home – that’s why I’m calling it a found poem. I use this activity often with new writers, it allows them to turn their own voice upside down, provides a relatively non-threatening early challenge. Books from which these were taken: Adrienne Rich, On Lies, Secrets, and Silence; Shirley Hazzard, The Transit of Venus; Kate Millett, Sexual Politics; Margaret Atwood, Good Bones and Simple Murders; Marguerite de Angeli, Book of Nusery and Mother Goose Rhymes. I had to laugh when our newest writer, a young man in the military, chose his books from of our shelf of feminist literary history – I believe he surprised himself!

  3. 3 Beth November 12, 2008 at 8:43 pm

    Hi Teresa, Love the poem.Pulling all that powerful reflection into the imagery of the pillow…cool. I like the feel of the poem’s rhythm, it is a pleasure reading it, too.It is amazing you created it from different lines in various works it’s so cohesive! Thank you!

  4. 4 Teresa November 14, 2008 at 3:12 am

    Thank you, Beth, for this and your comment on “Wind”, as well. I was quite pleased with this pillow poem, also; it seemed to write itself.

    I look forward to seeing you in writing group again – thanks!

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