The fragrant smoke of the peat rises from the hearth
wraps around us all,
cossetting us in a warm otherland
As the poet stands before us, tossing a lock of black hair artfully askew,
seeking and securing our attention before reciting
a poem of elegy and possibility
Repeating a line, a phrase, a stanza
insisting that we swallow it and let it sink into the belly
until it is a bolus of meaning, on its way to
a digested emotion.
Repeating it until it is an image burned into our viscera.
And then it is completed, this recitation.
The poet shuts the book, looks at us all
as if discerning whether we have absorbed it sufficiently
heaven forbid we do not receive the gift of it most fully!
A breath, a half breath.
The group sighs a sigh of appreciation, of understanding.
We do not realize we have held our breath for much of this recitation until that
outflow of breath...and then the "hmmmm" of pleasure
akin to the sound we make after a square of dark chocolate, or a caress with precisely
the right pressure of the fingers on our skin.
And the moment is broken, with a question, and a conversation.
And the poet once again tosses that poetic black tress, and withdraws within himself
as we toss around the remnants of the thought of the heart of the poem, of the story, of the place.