Saturday, October 27, 2007

Wish I May (Kristen Hall)

**I copied the poem below, in my own handwriting, into a clothbound notebook I kept during my college years (1972-76)... a journal of favorite poems, quotes, books, song lyrics (sound familiar?... :-) - I retyped it many years later, and realized that, somewhere along the way, the author of the poem had been inadvertently omitted. I did not write Wishes, although I wish (no pun intended) I had, and I cannot recall the original source - hoping to determine the poet, I have spent the last 10 minutes googling specific phrases, to no avail. So... I present it to you as someone else's work that I have attempted, unsuccessfully, to give attribution... typing it yet again (since I couldn't find it online to copy and paste) - what is comforting is that a literary work I loved enough to transcribe onto paper in my rebellious-Catholic-schoolgirl-scrawl over 30 years ago still touches my heart - nice...

POEM: Wishes**

Sudden silence, an angel passing over,
two saying the same word, simultaneously,
a star falling, the first fruit of the year,
the breastbone of the chicken, scraped and dry -
each an occasion to wish on, a wish given.

Easy enough for children, for whom to wish
is only a way of bringing a party closer
or acquiring pennies or cake, and for
whose sake we attend to teeth beneath pillows and believe in magic,
not indulgently but somehow because
each time the silver coin appears where the tooth was,
the party seems quick in coming.

But for ourselves, with fewer teeth and no faith
in miracles or good angels, a falling star
is likely to be uncomfortable. Oh, we can ask for
new lives, more money or a change of face,
but hardly seriously. The heart is lacking.
We know too much, and wishing smacks of daydream
and discontent - not magic. Anyway, we are wary
of strings and snags, or worse, that, once fulfilled,
the thing we wished for might be old and cold.

Yet still the children come, with serious rapt faces, offering us wishes.
Take this wishbone, delicate where the breast was, whitened now by the sun,
Hold one stem of it, lightly, with your little finger. I will hold the other.
Now make your wish, my love; but never tell.

And I? I always wish you well;
but here, in this poise before the fruit can fall,
or the star burn out, or the word dwindle,
before the hovering angel
flies out of mind, before the bone is broken,
I wish we wish the same wish, the unspoken.

QUOTE: "If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of potential -- for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible. Pleasure disappoints; possibility never." ~ Soren Kierkegaard


  1. Susan,

    At Cathy' suggestion I just read your blog for the first time - it won't be the last!
    I really enjoyed it and I thought your layouts were outstanding.

    I am Cathy's Mom


  2. Hey, Georgie ~

    Thanks so much for taking the time to read - I appreciate your sweet comments as well...

    It's been great crossing paths with Cathy due to our shared love of a unique and brilliant songwriter (that would be Todd Snider!) - I'm also enjoying your daughter's amazing creativity and positive spirit... :-)

    Stop in anytime - I'll try to keep things interesting!