“Complete as Apples” The Sunday Whirl #182

There are all kinds of stories to be told;
some are born of substance in special languages,
hypnotizing and teasing
where words are just a quirk of the mind,
an image or other intangible reminiscence.

They come complete as apples,
repeated without risking
an alter in meaning and reality.

Others remain hidden in the shadows of memory
like living organisms rooting themselves out into the flesh,
their tentacles are filled with adhesions and pain,
becoming the stuff of nightmares
to exorcise the demons of memory
it is necessary tell them as they are:

We hadn’t learnt to deal with the reflection of our fear.
In blue misty shadows, I remember your smile playing in my eyes
and the time you cried when I said I was leaving; but you always
knew I’d never go …

This month I’ll layout marigolds and flowers of the souls
leaving thirteen layers of heavens between us
while placing una copa de tequila, pan de muerto,
y fotos de ti upon the altar.
I’ll burn the incense and light the candles
as I say a prayer for you,
Dancing Man.

Nahautl poet,
“Let us consider things as only lent to us, oh, friends;
Only in passing are we here on earth;
Tomorrow or the day after,
As your heart desires, oh, Giver of Life,
We shall go, my friends, to His home.”


21 responses to ““Complete as Apples” The Sunday Whirl #182

  1. Aaaah, bless, and big hugs. xx

  2. Mystical and beautifully written from the heart.

  3. Layers Stanley Kunitz

    I have walked through many lives, some of them my own, and I am not who I was, though some principle of being abides, from which I struggle not to stray. When I look behind, as I am compelled to look before I can gather strength to proceed on my journey, I see the milestones dwindling toward the horizon and the slow fires trailing from the abandoned camp-sites, over which scavenger angels wheel on heavy wings. Oh, I have made myself a tribe out of my true affections, and my tribe is scattered! How shall the heart be reconciled to its feast of losses? In a rising wind the manic dust of my friends, those who fell along the way, bitterly stings my face. Yet I turn, I turn, exulting somewhat, with my will intact to go wherever I need to go, and every stone on the road precious to me. In my darkest night, when the moon was covered and I roamed through wreckage, a nimbus-clouded voice directed me: “Live in the layers, not on the litter.” Though I lack the art to decipher it, no doubt the next chapter in my book of transformations is already written. I am not done with my changes. Stanley Kunitz, “The Layers” from The Collected Poems of Stanley Kunitz. Copyright © 1978 by Stanley Kunitz. Reprinted by permission of W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

    • Beautiful writing, Annell. I am not familiar with Stanley Kunitz’s work, but thank you for the heads up. Sometimes you get lucky here and find out of the ordinary books. ox

  4. Thirteen layers of heaven…how very beautiful..made me think of the harmony and comfort of apples baking in a pie but how it cools quickly and is best enjoyed whilst fresh and warm

    • Thanks, Jae Rose. It was the belief of the Nahua people, they believed that above the earth there were thirteen layers of the heavens and below the earth there were nine levels of the underworld.

  5. Beautiful.
    All of it, but “complete as apples”–I want to steal that.

    • Thanks, Barb. That bit came to me, because of something I read the other day. I paraphrase here: The apple is the whole of its nutrient, (something like that). I simply made it sound more–ahem–poetic. So, steal away.

  6. Wonderful, beautifully done and sad too. Because you are going put that alter together for Michael .And yes, there all these stories to be told, but what is use when no ears wants to hear them?

  7. Thanks, Cathy. I am fortunate that most of our mutual friends here don’t mind talking about Michael. There are a few who wish me to move on with my life, which I am doing at my own pace.

  8. We hope that someone will grieve for us as we grieve for others, as a sort of confirmation we were here.

    • I find it to be more of a respect to their life here. When we are gone I am sure we won’t know the difference. I used to have many different beliefs, but now I think it is “lights out”, so to speak.

  9. You have given such beauty and grace to a process many see as raggedly painful. I envy that and love the idea of the thirteen layers of heaven.


    • Thank you, Elizabeth. I still find it painful, but being honest about it is helping me cope better. The Nahua people believed that there were thirteen layers to heaven and nine layers to the underworld. Very interesting were their beliefs.

  10. “Complete as apples” sounds so right. There’re rich layers in your beautiful poem, Pamela.

  11. Many interesting lines. “We hadn’t learnt to deal with the reflection of our fear.” ~ one of them make me appreciate the state of positivity….~ Love the title and all about apple, layer after layer …Blessings! :)xx

  12. Like the new look of your site, Pamela. LIfe has been a bit hectic for some time now but hope to get back to visiting you once more.l really like this piece and how you tie memories and traditions together to tell a story that could be anyone’s but is uniquely yours.

  13. Very timely for this time of year in Mexico. You’ve made my day impossible. Planning on catching up on bloggers I follow after a long hiatus, now pleasantly spending an afternoon reading your work.

I appreciate all comments.

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