Begins With S


Begins with S

Then there is the slithering
of snakes inside–
those stretches when Esses
eat you, slit
your “it,” style a switchblade
as salvation.

You mishear their hiss
as ‘yes,’ sliced
permission.  It’s also the hiss
of histrionic, suffering’s
seductive backwash; still,
it speaks to you–

until, at last–before
at last if you’re lucky–
you see, as if unhooded,
how unoriginal are
your sins.

Re-surfacing, you stitch.
Sew tight the lips
of the wound.
Smear the stains into some swath of something,
scarf the scar with some swath of something,
something busy, patterned,
something that won’t
show dirt.



Poem of sorts influenced by the brilliant but very dark poet, Paul Antschel, who wrote under the name Paul Celan in response to Grace’s prompt on With Real Toads.   Grace gives a brief biography of Celan, a Romanian Jew who survived World War II to become a poet, professor and translator, dying of  suicide in 1970.

The pic (of a turkey vulture) as well as the poem is mine.  All rights reserved.

PS – process note–Ess is a spelling of “S” and “esses” –S plural.  Esse is also the German word for eat (I think?)  and Latin for to be? (I think.)  (Not completely sure how that relates to the poem, but why I spelled it out.) 

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21 Comments on “Begins With S”

  1. The hissing of the snake tying to unoriginal sins.. Maybe that’s exactly how boring it really is. The temptation is just follow with the stream. Love how you have played with words here.

  2. X Says:

    When S’s slit your it, you get -ists, right? Which makes it a group with like belief, which means there is an opposition – which is wrong in their opinion, or belief structure. Salvation of hte switchblade, made me think of that book/story whatever it is called The cross and the switchblade. Seductive backwash made me chuckle as well.

  3. Wow, cool response to the prompt. Especially the sewing the lips of the wound. A great visual. If only sewing the lips of it healed the wound.

  4. Polly Says:

    ssssensational… 😉

  5. Helen Says:

    How unoriginal our sins, yes. Immense meaning in this poem.

  6. Sumana Roy Says:

    “Re-surfacing, you stitch.”…a wise path taken…

  7. Grace Says:

    I admire the s words slithering all over the place ~ If only we can stitch those unoriginal sins and smear the stains into some swath of something, scarf the scar (love this) ~

    Thanks for the lovely post K and wishing you happy week ~

  8. claudia Says:

    Essen is the german word for eat.. very cool how all the s sound in the poem and drive it forward as well… and ha – the unoriginality of sin.. i have always suspected that but never saw them unhooded

  9. Sanaa Rizvi Says:

    An excellent write 🙂

  10. This:

    “You mishear their hiss
    as ‘yes,’ sliced

    Caught my attention…intriguing point of view.

  11. hedgewitch Says:

    A very out from under the hood use of alliteration, and all the more effective for being there in plain sight. So much of what makes a poem communicate is actual individual word choice–sound/allusion/meanings that can be shifted, all the things that let the mind circle deeper into the whirlpool of the subject matter–that is all going on here, and it continually seems to get stronger as phrase follows phrase–till we get to those smeared stained swaths of something that pass for argument, excuse, or perhaps merely cover, the pattern over the hidden pattern, to distract. I especially like the last two stanzas.

  12. Mama Zen Says:

    “how unoriginal are
    your sins.”

    Excellent, K!

  13. lynn__ Says:

    Sins may not be but…your poem is quite original, k! Best to play with words instead of temptation, i think 😉

  14. Kerry O'Connor Says:

    This is an amazing piece, Karin. Your skill at wordplay, coupled with the wit and wisdom you convey makes for an extraordinary reading experience. thank you.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks so much, Kerry. The poem was supposed to be about suicidal thoughts, but I cut a lot of it–the whole subject is rather uncomfortable–and I don’t think it was very clear. I so appreciate your kind reading. K.

      On Mon, Jul 13, 2015 at 5:32 AM, ManicDDaily wrote:


  15. Wonderful work and brilliant ending………
    “scarf the scar with some swath of something,
    something busy, patterned,
    something that won’t
    show dirt.”

  16. Vinay Leo R. Says:

    That’s a lot of S in the poem. My favorite lines were “Sew tight, the lips of the wound.” Hmm. Lots of wounds are so…

  17. Before you mentioned your inspiration I was going to mention that the poem sounded “dark”. I loved it, maybe because of that particular reason. I like a mix of light and darkness once in a while. Thanks.

    Greetings from London.

  18. M Says:

    sinuous, strong, superb ~

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