Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Tuesday poem #499 : Sarah Feldman : The Way Up Down


The way up down: one and the same.
              - Heraclitus B60

Turn back now, look: how far
you’ve come, how lightly
passed the trackless

distances which are and are not
the same you must travel now

back. Again you give yourself
to the current – not, this time, to be borne

along, the whole river’s length slipping
by in one flash like a dream-

less sleep. Now the current takes you
piecemeal, exacting, moment to moment,

compensation for the erring ease
of your birth – what’s left to you now

the upstream way and work
of self-unmaking.  So take it – not what you

have dreamed, sung, the sliding clean
from sheathes of skin and muscle

and nerve, the double-knotted chains
and helices of hope and fear and grief

and grief. Go now, harrowed without
by juts of root and rock, within

by a howling up from darkest innards
that chatters bone against bone

and parches the heart’s blood
to a scritch of dead leaves.

Let sea dwindle to river, and river
to stream, to – at last –

the shallows where you began,
the murky rim where water

runs to ground.



Sarah Feldman’s first poetry collection, The Half-Life of Oracles, was published by Fitzhenry and Whiteside in Fall 2018, and received reviews from Jean Van Loon in Arc and from Ian People in The Manchester Review. Her poems have appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies, including Literary Review of CanadaFiddlehead and Undercurrents: New Voices in Canadian Poetry.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan


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