Thursday, January 17, 2019

The fortitude of eyelashes

I have an extra set of eyelashes because you never know. I could cry or laugh, or it could be windy, and I'll need a standby pair.
~Niecy Nash

Long Eyelashes by Luca Sbardella

Hi folks! I wrote this poem in kind of a funny way (for me) in that I started with the title, and then wrote it gradually over the course of a week. I am posting it here partly to stop myself from continuing to fiddle with it.

The fortitude of eyelashes
by Tabatha Yeatts

the atmosphere of the soft planet of our eyes
extends as far as our vision: the low-lying cloud smudges

on spectacles giving way to the clear skies of the stratosphere:
the table, the chairs, the bird hiding in her nest, the squirrel

sitting on the fence, the tree branch leaning to almost scratch
the window, the pine needles arrayed around the branch

like so many resolute eyelashes-- you won't catch them
lying down on the job. No matter what the world

of your eyes has seen, if its orbit has swirled past
burning winds and eruptions that turn its moons

to rubble, asteroids that your eyelashes
must buffer against -- even if they are sentries

for a bloodshot, brokenhearted planet,
the eyelashes are still on duty.

their only weapons--
their willingness to shield,

their constancy in pointing the way,
always scanning ahead,

the way they never leave
until their watch is over

and they fall, alone,
blown, floating --

their last gift:
a wish.


The Miss Rumphius Effect has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Tricia!

Like everyone, I am touched by Mary Oliver's passing. Although I don't usually share poems on Wednesdays, I shared one of hers this Wednesday.


KatApel - said...

Oooh. This is lovely, Tabatha. 'low-lying cloud smudges on spectacles' may be my favourite line, I think.

Linda B said...

That 'willingness to shield' takes me to a different look at the lashes, perhaps a lesson in taking too much for granted? Wonderful the way it winds through your thoughts, Tabatha.

Jone said...

Perfect. I love the structure and a different look at eyelashes.

jama said...

Wow, LOVE the poem, Tabatha. Never thought of eyelashes in quite this way before. You had me at the first line ("soft planet of our eyes").

Kortney Garrison said...

Wowzers! Now I want to know where that title came from! And if you're surprised at where the poem took you?

tanita✿davis said...

This made me laugh and tear up. First, I think Niecy Nash is kind of hilarious, obviously. She is #lashgoals. Two, one of the nasty little bits of my autoimmune is that I lose hair - and, lashes too! Ugh. But, I love to think of them as wishes - this is a poem to which I'll return. ☺

Margaret Simon said...

Amazing poem. I love the craft of it and how it makes me look at eyelashes in a different way. And the extended metaphor of space: cloud smudges, its orbit, bloodshot, brokenhearted planet.

Tara said...

Love this, Tabatha - especially the last few lines. Eyelashes are so generous!

Michelle Kogan said...

What a perfect poem Tabatha, our eyelashes go through so much for us. I have long dark eyelashes and my son inherited his from me they are shielding him from some conquering heartache presently, so these lines sang out to me,
"No matter what the world …

…of your eyes has seen, brokenhearted planet,
the eyelashes are still on duty."
Long live eye lashes, in whatever form they take!

Thanks for Mary Oliver's prodding too.

Sally Murphy said...

Beautiful, Tabatha. I love the thought that 'eyelashes are still on duty' no matter what - and that they are also for wishes.

Molly Hogan said...

And isn't that title a doozy!? It pulled me right in to your wonderful universe and sent me spinning back out with a new appreciation for eyelashes. Wonderful!

Catherine Flynn said...

No more fiddling needed, Tabatha! This poem is perfect as is. I love the metaphor extending from "the soft planet of our eyes..." And thank you for pointing us to the Mary Oliver poem you shared earlier in the week. It is exactly the prod I need!

Linda Mitchell said...

You may have started out with humor....but your poem is such a lovely commentary. I started reading with a smile and ended with a smile but of being touched. I agree that the title is wonderful. It really makes me want to know more. and the idea of eyelashes still on! I don't think you need to fiddle with this one any more. But, if you do....I'd love to see the result!

Heidi Mordhorst said...

Gosh. Lash. Lashes never lying down on the job. And I am so intrigued by this line:
"No matter what the world
of your eyes has seen"
as though there is a world inside the soft planet of our eyes that determines how we see everything else...grand poem with a light touch and a beautiful shape.

Many thanks for your early comment for the Diamond Miners--you gave them an audience!

Mary Lee said...

Brilliant. I've never really given my constantly on-duty eyelashes much of a thought. (Mine don't get special growth serums or even mascara). Your poem helped me to see in a new way! I'll never consider my eyes anything except planets from now on. And I'll make SURE I remember the wish when one of my lashes leaps out after its watch is over.

Whispers from the Ridge said...

I really love that last stanza, Tabatha! I also really admire the way you have structured the poem. Well done!

Kay said...

I love this - especially the low-lying cloud smudges on spectacles. Your poem helped me see my eyelashes (usually neglected and forgotten) in a new way. Thank you.

author amok said...

"The soft planet of our eyes" is such a beautiful phrase, Tabatha. The moment that those pine needles transform into lashes is magical.

Ruth said...

Tabatha, I just love this. I can't even pick out my favorite line; it's all so good.

Carol Varsalona said...

Tabatha, I had a lot of trouble getting my comments to stick so here I am again. Your poem is striking, presenting a different look at eyelashes. These lines stood out to me: like so many resolute eyelashes-- you won't catch them
lying down on the job.