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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Oblivion's Throes

About this poem:

"Oblivion's Throes" is a poem that I wrote in December, 2015.  In this 4-part elegy, I  attempt to describe how I experience visions of angels who are preparing me for death, through my delirium of fever.   ~Denise Goodwin



Outside, the sky was alight, lazuline and gold,
Which begins to describe a summer's day, of old;
When I entertained unexpected company,
Under a slumbering canopy of trees,
Where we hoped to capture even the faintest breeze.
It was all a vain attempt to escape such humidity.
But, the trees gave scant reprieve, on that sultry day;
Their leaden leaves drooped in liquid, languid repose;
Heavy and listless, against the changed sky,
Now of indigo, amethyst and rose.
Heady blossoms released intoxicating essence,
and sweetly perfumed the air and our presence.
How distinctly I recall the scents, from that day of summer;
I mused they knew not time, the month or hour.
And yet, their fragrance haunted and hovered,
much like a concerned and doting young mother.
In that moment, on that afternoon, beneath the trees,
It seemed to me, the world was in deep contemplation.
(This was my passing observation)


The soggy trees and the incessant heat,
are still fresh and alive, in my memory.
When, alas! a sudden trill disturbed my lethargy.
I bowed forward, toward a curious face, known not unto me.
She sat, like royalty, in an ornate chair of bleached vintage rattan.
Donning a gossamer gown of beaded lace and white chiffon.
She whisked air over her face, with a delicate, ivory fan.
I observed scant droplets trickle down her sculptured throat;
And, over the thin brow, where golden tendrils met skin,
I moved closer, so that I may hear the words she spoke,
as her voice was paper thin.
I leaned in, with a sense urgency;
As if it were a necessity, for I must see,
this vapid apparition.
As I beheld, the eyes of whom the sun hath set,
over a rippling river, 'twas then I realized,
I heard not words, only a mournful whimper.
Yet, the eyes were vacant, and gave no reaction.
When suddenly, my own gaze was distracted,
I watched her pull fine filament, and wove a tapestry,
with no design, or plan or map.
Her pale and nimble fingers pulled white threads;
from needlepoint she held upon her lap.
And, all the while, a companion stood behind her,
like a royal Chamberlain, or a brooding chauffeur.
He appeared to await her orders,
or, to intercept or accept her callers;
Or more cynically, me thinks,
He was a swine, she had brought to slaughter.
In his hand, belled melting ice against a crystal globe,
which contained a pearlescent ooze; What, I did not know.
He, too, suffocated from the humidity and the heat;
As I noticed, he had loosed his tie,
and wore nothing on his feet.
I took a chair, opposite, consort and the fairy maiden,
and watched her fingers work, in utter fascination.
Not a word was spoken, as I slowly nodded, entranced;
I had not heard the vesper bells,
nor had I known, that sunset had advanced.


I awoke quite rested,
In the chair that I had nested;
Yet, I did not recognize this location,
As it lacked the former illumination,
And the summer's day had grown cold.
Shipwrecked, from a storm and tossed to sea,
These were the frenzied words that came to me;
As I struggled in the shadows of oblivion's throes.
I had not a candle, nor a lantern to carry me hence,
my heart was heavy in a despairing lament.
Hoary frost has settled across the patio,
and all was veiled and wrought with snow.
Alone in this cold hollow,
I called out to the unknown,
Bellowing frantically to either friend or foe.
Yet, returned to me, was merely an echo;
An echo from above, or below;
I do not know.


Here, in my delirium, I awaited exultation;
I anticipated that the clouds would burst, in joyful elation.
But, the sky did not open, ablaze in hopeful glory,
Nor had I been given a chance, to repeat this story.
Lo, no voices were heard; and, all remained undisturbed.
I questioned and considered the uncertainty,
And, discovered that my body was no longer fatigued;
Hot tears fell, as I could not control nor pacify reality.
I had been aflame in fever, accompanied by the divine;
She had stitched a shroud, into which I had climbed.
And, it was her familiar, who had carried me;
Where bitter wind, my only friend, is my eternity.
No crashing sea, nor blooming flowers keep me company;
Forever eclipsed in a ivory swaddle, sewn just for me. 
Paradise, for me, it seems, is this cold and lonely hollow, 
Where each day repeats, and in that I must sleep. 

© Denise Goodwin, All Rights Reserved
Written and published on moonspyre.blogspot.com on December 13, 2015

Image credits:

1. rinostefanotagliafierro.com
De la roche Kunst le rs Toten bett (animated)

2. dailymail.co.uk
Gabriel von Max --The Ecstatic Virgin Anna Katharina Emmerich (animated)