February 2, 2016

Three Poems By Isabel Chenot: "Lullabye", "To a Historian", "Noah's Ark"

Isabel has had poetry appear previously in Indiana Voice Journal, The Penwood Review, and Anima Poetry Journal among other places: a poetry collection is forthcoming from Anima Poetry Press.


IVJ Chenot Feb 2016 Lullabye

The gentle creaking of this house
That I have known recurringly
As time retraces sound, and accidence
Of sound retraces memory
Over a cyclical, uncertain fear —
Lisps, like returning waves to a long shore, a reassurance:
That change exists in the slight continuity
Of an inflectedness in common use
With wordless things: day to day utters these
Commonalities. There is no speech where they
Are silent. So we will hear our memories
Hum — our mothers soothing us from infancy
In the slow creaking of a house.

'To a Historian'
I read your poem down beneath the earth —
Having descended to the basement in a rainstorm,
Water trickling through dirt and stone —
I read your poem to the sound of water seeping
Out of the ground
Around a sunken place, and back again
Into the lowest drain.
And I could hear above the trickle, the uneven form
Of meter jutting like a bone —
The love with which you read and write of history,
And the futility of soothing arid pain.
And I could hear the footsteps of a loved one in the room
Above me, through adjacent weeping.

'Noah's Ark'
Let every moment be a promise, like an ark
In which a world is lifted on the waters:
Pitched in and out with pitch, and built of bark;
In the frail hold a future, sons and daughters.
The past may be submerged, but history
Is like a garment folded in a boat:
It will unfold again — a seamless mystery
Of present on the deluged past afloat,
For in the bark hewn hollow like an empty hand
Is kept God’s faith with man —
As though through storms, the Saviour slept.
The rain falls small along the gopher wood
And in the rising roar, time and again
I watch an old world founder in a flood —
And trace the nailmarks in a roughhewn door
That’s lintel-stained with blood.
~Isabel Chenot

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