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