He wrote a simple poem, the kind best read alone;
no pretences, or awkward dictionary interruptions.

But, one line went around in an intriguing way.
It was broader, deeper than what I had first seen.

I inserted myself into the crevice, pushed
against walls of understanding, until

the whole thing fell apart in my head,
and what I found inside those words
was magic

Shirley Alexander


Filed under poetry

15 responses to “Geode

  1. belfastdavid

    Magic exists Shirley,

    It’s in what magic does

    Much Love


  2. We are human, and even we poets are human, I know hard to believe, huh? And being human we tend to rush things, read others poetry as we are thinking about something else which need to be done, or with a sad heart because of a slight of some sort. In other words we miss things. But sometimes there is a nagging thought which will not allow you to put the poem to rest in you mind and you keep going back to it, looking for who knows what. And there it is. Plain as a white-washed picket fence. You slap your forehead, smile, and carry on with your day.

    • This is true, Jerry. We are all human, and like the geode in my metaphor, we all have marvelous secrets and magic waiting inside us for a chance to be released. If we pay attention, we can see that magic in others, in their words, and in their actions. Of course, we don’t always pay attention, or the vision is beyond our grasp. Still, it is good to know we keep trying, and writing, and reading, and believing


  3. Doris Emmett

    Poetry is indeed–words that are so much more than words…to fully understand or grasp what the poet intended ~ is not always apparent but becomes so after much “pushing of those walls of understanding”…and as you say here–once it falls apart and is understood…oh my!

  4. Hi Shirley,

    This was lovely. I like your title. Very apt. I instantly looked at the two geodes I have after I read your poem. *smile* Yes poetry can be like that indeed.
    Your poem reminded me of all those poets (yourself included) who have left me knowningly smiling or who have somehow opened my mind further after reading their work.
    The magic of knowledge, awareness, or a greater understanding is everywhere. We don’t always get it but when do WOW! *smile*
    Thankyou for sharing this piece. This was such a lovely start to my day and pointed reminder to slow down and stay aware.

    All my best to you and the family

    • Thank you, Tikarma. This poem isn’t really about any one poet or poem. When I came online yesterday, I found a barnyard bevy of new posts. It was one of those days when everything I read seemed superficial–like a woman wearing too much makeup.

      This next bit is a rewrite on a comment I made to someone on Facebook, but it suits nicely for what I want to say here. This poem is about poets like you, Tikarma, who use emotion rather than impressive words to make a poem work. I know you like to play with words some, but you do it within a poem that has meaning, and you don’t overdo it.

      I read some poets, and I can see them sitting there with dictionary and thesaurus, trying to find new words to impress the blowhards. (there is no snoot greater than a literary snoot) Sometimes, I’ll read a comment where someone says., “I had to get my dictionary on this one”–like it’s a compliment. The ‘poet’ will do a cyber strut and preen and never realize the reader is going away with a new word definition in his head instead of a new poem in his heart.

      Honestly, anyone can string big words together. If they substitute the most simple definition for each impressive word, and it is no longer a poem, then it never was a poem. What we all really need to do is take a lesson from the classic poets–the ones we can all quote. They didn’t make us stop in the middle of reading to reach for a dictionary. They made us reach inside ourselves. That is what your poetry does for me. Sorry for the rant. This is something that really has gotten worse on here, and it bugs me to no end!

      And…thank you for your wonderful comment. I knew you would understand this one. *smile*


      • Hi Shirley,

        You are too kind! ((hug)) I truely am moved that you think so highly of what I write.

        I do hear what you’re saying loud and clear. I remember my blog not so long ago about “intellectual wank” For a lot of of these people though it isn’t even intellectual it is just flexing muscles of the ego. Which is saddening.
        Poetry has always been about dialouge between the poet and the audience. Right from the days in courts when ballads and sonnets were sang to entertain the masses.
        It had to be simple. Dictionaries hadn’t been invented yet. *lol*
        Those of us that do sing from the heart, just have to learn to sing a little louder. ((HUG))
        I completely agree with you that if at it’s simplest what you’ve written is not a poem then it never was at its most complex.
        Poetry in my mind has always been an art form. You are creating a picture , a scene with language. You are commanding lauguage to your will. That requires not only skill but talent and yes most certainly heart.
        If it means nothing to you, if it doesn’t touch your heart then you can’t hope to have it mean anything to anyone, let alone move them.
        “Big words” should be used to add magic, atmosphere, express a more complex or profound emotion. They shouldn’t be used to confuse and confound, so a person can feel they are better than everyone else. That to my mind is a true abuse of language.
        Most times I know, people are walking away from these blogs none the wiser or richer because they didn’t understand a word.
        Literature whatever it’s form should make you richer in heart not poorer.

        Sorry for the rant myself. *sheepish grin* This is an issue which gets to me too.


  5. Hi Shirley,

    Just wonderful and true to the art. There is always magic in words, that is why one must always be careful what one says 🙂

    But it is true. All art is a form of magic. It is creating beauty from nothing.

    Such a lovely piece. Thank you for sharing.


    • Jamie,

      I am so pleased you read this and liked it. You made my day!

      Yes, all art is treasure. And, the artists themselves are the greatest treasure. I like your words “art is a form of magic. It is creating beauty from nothing.” That’s a poem in itself.


  6. I love your work here..
    brilliant piece..keep inspiring…

    I invite you to attend poets rally week 35, where you share your poetry and make new poetic friends…poetry awards are assigned upon completion.

    let me know when you are ready.
    Merry Christmas…
    Stay Blessed….

    click on my name to visit …

    • Thank you. I am much grateful for your encouragement. I’ve been very busy lately, on the home front. It seems like everything keeps getting in the way of my writing. I’m going to have to find some downtime after the holidays so I can get my muse to stop shouting in my head all the time. *grin*
      As for the invitation, I do thank you. I will consider it as soon as I have time to be around here more.
      I hope you have a wonderful Christmas, and that 2011 is filled with promise for you and yours.

  7. I’ve read this one several times now over the past 2 days.
    That question of how far a poem should be difficult seems to pop up all over the place. I confess to liking some obscure poems without knowing what the poet intended (great chunks of the Waste Land for a start!) but my instinctive preference is the same as yours: for poems that are intelligible at some level immediately but then give a bit more, make room for further exploration, by offering the reader a crevice into which to wriggle and shove.
    So your poem here is doubling satisfying both because I can go along with the message and because I just love that image: it’s a neat example of what you’re talking about!

  8. Thank you, John. This poem is one of my personal favorites, and you read between the lines perfectly.