07 August 2012

Soul Mate

Each part of me has a mind of its own
but the part that can respond is expected
to control all—more—to know their reasons
Each part of me has a wild heart of its own
but the part that can be pledged in public
is expected to be the first heart of all.
I am blessed with polyphrenic desire which
takes me every which way so I am grateful
to have one pair of eyes, hands, feet and hips

I can only be in one place at one time
My soul is here and my soul mate is too
I called her Liberty, my little lady, Lib
reached my shoulder when standing, sitting
she knit with short needles in bent hands,
an elder whose brighter-than-the-sun smile
could hold me still while hearts and minds raced—
funny how I always got lost driving to her home
just a short ride from Williamsburg to Hampton

Her magnetic faith reeled me in to read daily
from quaker writings: ancient and modern
alternating her voice with mine until my minds
still and hearts rest, less movement in all limbs
and we lock eyes and grin, ready to engage
in serious competitive Scrabble at the wooden
dinette facing each other until my butt aches
from sitting and now I move with lumbar and neck
pain, sciatica, fibromyalgia, and  arthritis

None of which could harm me, I know,
but some of my hearts panic at the pain
and minds rush to end it, to drug it while
Lib’s arthritic fingers push letters into place,
her knuckles big as her nose, but nothing
stops her—she makes tea, gives me
the largest cup, listens to me worry
why I could not be more like her, until
I tire and finally listen to her talk

About seeing my plays on stage, hearing my ministry,
and choosing then to clear me into spiritual life,
into moving forward when I needed her most, there
at the college she had attended forty-five years earlier
when marriage was cause for dismissal and her Navy
husband, now dead, had been exiled too, but life
goes on.  You are here for me too—and I am tired.
Speaking of wild hearts, my dear friend, you brought
love and light into my heart.  My soul mate.

Posted for Poets United "Poetry Pantry - #110" and Imaginary Garden's "Open Link Night," though I wrote it days ago and held it in my mind far longer.    Lib died on Christmas Day 2011 at the age of 87, but she is right here with me. The poem is about the wild me that she tamed and left wild, God bless her.  A true friend and Friend.  I hope that everyone has a soul mate and a spiritual guide.  Maybe yours was a relative or a teacher?  Enjoy.

  Copyright © 2012 S.L.Chast


Margaret said...

Such an enriching friendship ... one that nourishes forever. Yes, she will always be with you. You are blessed.

Susan said...

You put more details in your poem quilt, but there is a little similarity in the celebration I think.

Margaret said...

I agree. I like the "I called her Liberty, my little lady, Lib". It speaks volumes as to what she meant to you.

Mary said...

This is beautiful, Helen. I read the poem first and then read your afterword which caused me to read the poem again, as I knew I would understand it more. I envy you having had such a friend; but I can see that you were BOTH fortunate to know one another. This poem is a wonderful tribute to the friendship.

Mary said...

I am so sorry, Susan....I called you by the wrong name, I think. I do know it is YOU. Sigh. Mind Blip!! But as I can't see my comment yet, I am not 100% sure.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

So beautiful. I can see her clearly, see the glint in her eyes. What a wonderful tribute to someone so dear.

Chèvrefeuille said...

Wonderful poem Susan ... very strong emotions. Thank you for sharing. A wonderful tribute to your little Lib.

Mimi Foxmorton said...

A most excellent tribute. Brought me back to The Old Ways......
the beautiful ways........

Have a beautiful and creative week!


Janine Bollée said...

You were fortunate, and you knew it. Great celebration of a person with a generous soul and a wise heart.

Daydreamertoo said...

She sounds as if she was one of life's true gems. She didn't try to change you but, she taught you well.
Yes, I believe she is still with you.

Brian Miller said...

that she tamed and left wild...a bit of both...love these special friends and mentors...i have a few in my past that have shaped who i am and who i am becoming....lib sounds like a wonderful lady...smiles.

Kerry O'Connor said...

It makes me happy to see poetry written to honour an individual who has meant so much to someone's whole life-story. Marvellous work.

Unknown said...

Even wild hearts have soulmates.

Laurie Kolp said...

So special... thanks for sharing, Susan.

Scarlet said...

Lovely share Susan ~ You are blessed indeed to have known her ~

A great tribute to your dear friend ~

Marian said...

this is simply wonderful, apt, descriptive, a bit pining, respectful, admiring, all wonderful things. i love it and feel special for having you offered it for me to read :) thank you.

Anonymous said...

i only recently found a soulmate... who has tamed me yet left me wild. such a relationship is truly wonderful and wondrous, isn't it? thank you for sharing yours so beautifully!


Susan said...

Don't worry about it.

Susan said...

What a wonderful thing to say!

Unknown said...

Kerry took the words from my comment, so ditto... enjoyed

Sreeja said...

Enjoyed it....so good....so lucky to have such soul mate....

Susan said...

Thank you, everyone, for entering this poem with me! Lib and I both have the same middle name: Susan Lisbeth and Mary Lisbeth, a name which was so unusual at the time that I put in some effort to get to know her. Isn't that silly? There was much more there, obviously. And today, there are Lisbeths everywhere, so I might not have even tried!

I would love to hear how others found the soul mate or guide or however you name the one who steadied you and let you in to steady and cherish them.

Mary B. Mansfield said...

What an amazing tribute to such a cherished friend, it brought tears to my eyes. As for finding my own soul mate, that seems to be a never-ending work in progress...Very nice, Susan!

Barbara said...

Lovely tribute. I could see Lib playing Scrabble, beautiful details brought her to life for me.

Kay L. Davies said...

Like Barbara, I could imagine the Scrabble game perfectly. A privilege to read your poem here, Susan.

ScottlB said...

Wonderful words, descriptive felt as if I was seeing and feeling as you spoke. A wonderful friend indeed..

gabrielle said...

Such a beautiful tribute to your beloved and soul mate who touched the wildness in you, "bringing stillness in all limbs" needing rest.
thank you for sharing from your heart