And There We Wept ( 1)

And There We Wept

And the river carried us away
de aptivity
required from old
oh can we sing King Alfa’s song
in a straight land–

And so we sang it–King Alfa’s song–
for a solid six months
in the strait of bottom bunk tented
by purple poncho
postulating on such points
as the sweetness of each’s feet
and the sweet feat of being together
first real love–

until finally putting the album
in its jacket at the end of the term
we read that the weepers were carried
from captivity (it being the river
of Babylon) and the next
year laughed about it in the dining hall till
a rather sober-faced girl
said that she had grown to despise that record
because someone in her dorm had played it
so non-stop,
and we lowered our eyes to the feet
we still held sweet,
with lines on our faces that we believed only the other
could interpret

though, honestly, it was kind of terrible to learn the new words
to that song, meaning the words,
as I never could figure out
whether I should sing those or the ones that truly
resonated, feeling a bit like a batter who
suddenly becoming ambidextrous
can no longer find
a good swing,

and feeling a little too
like the later
when you wrote
that we would always
be friends–

how to feel still me
when all the vowels
garbled, and what was consonant
turned lone,
and my feet which actually had
seemed beautiful
in the purple light of your palms and
that big poncho, seemed to become
almost transparent
though they were strong, tensile feet,
already exhibiting those knobs, callouses, cracks,
that are part, you know, of carrying someone–

Draft poem for Day 1 of April National Poetry Month, inspired both by Izy Gruye’s prompt on Real Toads about misunderstood song lyrics–in this case, Jimmy Cliff’s By the River of Babylon, and also Marian’s Fool prompt. 

Sorry for the length.  I’m not feeling terribly well at the moment, so hoping to use this National Poetry Month to just refocus and recharge!  (Meaning I’m just going to do what I can and hope for the best!) 

I have edited since first posting. 


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14 Comments on “And There We Wept ( 1)”

  1. Sanaa Rizvi Says:

    how to feel still me
    when all the vowels
    garbled, and what was consonant
    turned lone

    Beautiful lines..!!
    Lots of love,

  2. Kerry O'Connor Says:

    This is a bitter sweet view of girlish friendships, of how mistakes can seem more real than their corrections, and how we are all carried away from the captivity of childhood and set free to a far greater bondage. this made me think of my own best friend so far lost to time. How we laughed from the safety of our unbreakable bond.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks, Kerry–these are supposed to be lovers, so interesting that you read as friends, and I can understand that actually given the way the end reads – about always be friends–

      But maybe I should adjust. k.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks for your comment, Kerry–it’s a weird poem, but I’ve adjusted to make it clearer–still probably not very clear! k.

  3. Sherry Marr Says:

    WOW! I love this. Love how the feet play a part in each stanza. Love “how to feel still me…when….what was consonant turned lone”……the the ravages of the feet from carrying someone. Sigh. Beautifully done.

  4. “how to feel still me when all the vowels garbled, and what was consonant turned one” Wow! That hits hard.Love can certainly slam on the brakes. Fantastic beginning to a month of poetry!

  5. Jim Says:

    Nice, K. It happens often, meaning “and please, carry me.” Words he wants to hear. But remember the setting, the carrying is when it is ‘your’ turn to be carried.

  6. elleceef Says:

    I like this poem,,,so much told and heart-felt, I remember the days,,

  7. CC Champagne Says:

    I started out smiling, and ended up feeling the pain and the emptiness of those transparent feet. Brilliant work, and I’m so sorry you’re not feeling well! *big hugs from a stranger*

  8. I have sung that song in so many places, and always a capella, that I followed the thread with great interest. The girl’s frustration is so well portrayed here. Harks back to my days in California, so the ponchos and all were right in place! You are off to a great start. Cyber hugs for a quick recovery. Amy

  9. Snakypoet (Rosemary Nissen-Wade) Says:

    Wonderful! You almost create a new language, the way you put the words together. So striking and new at the same time as seeming like the only way to say it.

  10. Brendan Says:

    The Rider Deck of the Tarot shows the Fool as a smilin’ youth staring at the sun as he’s about to step off a cliff – buoyancy and earnestness seem to be part and parcel of foolishness, the simple abandonment to loving and believing the music even after we learned we had it wrong … that’s the mature fool, the one who never gives up the play, which you carry in spades in your deck. It’s not that the Fool’s feat stay perfect, its that they’re always steppin’ no matter how cracked they get. Amen.

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