A response poem to Holly

Dear Holly,

Mystic

Stand still long enough in the present
moment, and Border Town springs
to life, a mirage of mirrored souls
strolling down Main Street amid a sea
of glass-front shops. Twenty-four hours
a day, they say, it may appear,

sometimes as near to you as a pear
in a bowl, a still life given as a present
we open by breathing, forgetting the hour-
hand, the minutes, the seconds that spring
to life in a primordial sea,
a briny home, birthplace of our souls.

Border Town, Edge City, we don’t know it by a sole
name; a phantom place appearing
as Atlantis, tendrils of sea
anemone fingers waving the present
tense in our faces, until the spring
that winds us loosens, a slack Slinky in our

chest that slows the hour-
glass sands. We plant the soles
of our feet, grow roots, soak up spring
water until openings appear,
inner floodgates that present
a view to the hidden city of Eternal Spring.

It’s a Shangri-La we thought we’d never see –
conjured countless times at happy hours,
downing gin and tonics to wash away the presence
of black marks on our mortal souls.
It’s like wind in the trees, or peering

into a well, fed with a spring
meandering from underground seas.
A cavern in the ribcage, it once appeared
to us as the cauldron of a witching hour,
but now has become our sole
mio, a sunny bow on a wrapped present.

Time is an unfurling spring, a malleable hour
in which we see the yards of our souls
uncurling, appearing to us as our own present.

***

Holly (Lost Kite) and I have been responding to each other’s poems in what has become a series. Here is her poem.

The prompt this week at RWP was to collaborate on a prompt, and then mix up the prompts to write a poem. I’ve got to admit that although I contributed to the prompt, I chose to collaborate by responding to Holly’s poem.

9 thoughts on “A response poem to Holly

  1. Holly D says:

    Christine, Fabulous, poem. Absolutely ripe…it has its own roots and blooms, so I can’t wait to write my response! (a nice break will be needed from grading thousands of papers…hehe)

    Like

  2. Michelle says:

    Beautiful, Christine.

    “a still life given as a present
    we open by breathing”

    “tendrils of sea
    anemone fingers waving the present
    tense in our faces”

    “It’s like wind in the trees, or peering

    into a well, fed with a spring
    meandering from underground seas.
    A cavern in the ribcage, it once appeared
    to us as the cauldron of a witching hour,”

    Stunning images that delight my mind and senses.

    Like

  3. Dave says:

    I’m glad the response-poem practice is going so well for y’all. I like to think of it as a compromise between true collaboration and typical solitary composition. And it seems tailor-made for this medium.

    Like

  4. christine says:

    Thanks for stopping by, Dave. I’ve written a few of these now, a few with Holly, one as a response to Jo’s poem. I think it’s a great was to let a blogging poet know you’ve read her poem and it meant something to you, and I agree, it’s a very good format for the medium of blogging. Of course poets do it all the time, using an epigraph.

    Like

  5. Julie says:

    You two have done it again. This is excellent! I have to read Holly’s now and compare them again. I love those second and third stanzas. Michelle has a great point about the title. I love it, and it’s a perfect fit with the tone.

    Like

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