The Gift of Mortal Sorrow
by Carolin Messier
I’ve come to Nepenthe to drink the pharaohs’ wine
and fall into the sweet sleep
of forgetfulness, free from all sorrow
and earthly misery.
A hawk circles, wings extended
to receive the breath
of land kissing sky at the ocean’s edge
a ménage a trios as old as the world.
The tree line, Chantilly lace of garter
on a woman’s thigh, painted toes of stony cliffs
test the water of the bath
fanned by air that won’t be stilled.
The enormity of the ocean
charmed by cliffs and hills
embraces them, Poseidon as Gaia’s lover
and Zeus shows no jealousy today.
Deer roam the hall of ancients, older than the gods.
Uprooted by storms and erosion
a giant falls, we weep
to learn again that nothing is immortal.
Not the monoliths who’ve stood
since before we knew the sun was still
that our blue world was not
the center of the universe.
Not the mountains
who crumble or disintegrate en masse
into the blowing atmosphere
from frozen land to blazing desert.
Nothing is immortal,
but stories grow and change
evolve as they are told,
forgotten and rediscovered.
The stories’ lovers are not the gods
but the tellers and the scribes,
singers, dancers and actors on the stage
who bind us, one generation to the next.
Not wanting to live forever
but craving the love of mother and babe,
I choose the life of solitude
writing words upon a page.