Listening to Leonard Cohen. Can you tell?


There are two endings to the story of myself;
none other is possible, no other seeming
is ending at all, but resting place on the path
of ascent or plummet, of pinnacle or fall,
these implacable twins.

Either gravity is training for its own slow breaking,
either it shall relinquish its hold
and this force of weight I feel,
ever downward dragging,
the slow growth of hunger in my lungs for air,

prequels eventual fulfillment.
If the taste of something sweeter
than the air I know will follow
the acquisition of new-earned strength, my eyes
will reveal the world that always waited,

beautiful and new, above the earth’s fell scrim,
needing only the slow death of my body
to purchase revelation.
Or else the struggle is prequel
for inevitable plummet,

that long, slow fall to the only place where safety is,
that level ground where there can be no glory
in the ruins of my bones, but then no further pain.
Gravity is a law, and we do not understand it,
but I know what it is to fall.

A moment’s satisfaction
-well this is the worst-
followed by a swift cessation, and no half-loved
half-dreaded Face to greet me in sorrow
or joy when I finally breach the stony crest.

Knowing this, always, my hands still seek out flaws,
the narrowest of crevices, to splinter my nails
and draw me ever up. Though I am exhausted,
my muscles starved and twitching
in insatiable twin hungers

for oxygen and the brief splendor of the fall, forgetting
for a moment that I have already fallen once,
my shoulders bear my body, struggling, bloodied,
as though weighted with cross-beams,
forcing my flesh continually skyward.

Is it any wonder that
I am so tired, though other hands
have sought these bloodied fissures
and used this force to bear
their fragment bodies up?


About Bethany W Pope

Bethany W Pope is an award winning author of the LBA, and a finalist for the Faulkner-Wisdom Awards. Her work was listed for the Cinnamon Press Novel Competition. She received her PhD from Aberystwyth University’s Creative Writing program. Her first poetry collection, A Radiance was published by Cultured Llama Press in June. Her second collection, Persephone in the Underworld has been accepted by Rufus Books and shall be released in 2016. Her work has appeared in: Anon, Art Times, Ampersand, Blue Tattoo, Sentinel Quarterly, The Delinquent, De/Tached (an anthology released by Parthian), The Writer’s Hub, New Welsh Review, Every Day Poems, And Other Poems, Sentinel Literary Quarterly, Magma, Words & Music, The Quarterly Conversation, Tears in the Fence, Ink, Sweat and Tears and Planet. Her work is due to appear in the next issues of Poetry Review Salzburg, Acumen, Pacific Poetry , Music& Literature, Anon, and The Screech Owl.

Posted on February 4, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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