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The Visitor

by Zettel 

Posted: 20 January 2013
Word Count: 155

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The Visitor

Did you visit me dark angel
did you whisper
did you call
do you come unbidden
does my will
do my choices
make a difference
to anything at all

I am not my body
I am not my brain
and though these may
become no more
I shall still remain
for I am mind
or thinking soul
as some would say

I am cut
I am sawn
I am stitched and sewn
Man’s finest art
touched my heart
to gather in
gifted precious time
I might not have known

So for another while
I remain
body heart and brain
love of thought
and thoughtful love
held my trembled hand
and loved me back again

Have you gone dark angel
‘til we meet again
for meet again we must
but thoughts of love
and love of thought
are not paced in time
this fragment of eternity
is a gift we take on trust

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Comments by other Members

James Graham at 11:42 on 22 January 2013  Report this post
Like many of your other poems, this one is distinguished by its directness and simplicity. And it’s characteristic of your work too that the simple language goes well beyond commonplaces; there are subtleties to be found.

For example, I notice that the lines on the visit, and departure, of the ‘dark angel’ are framed as questions. I like the hint of uncertainty in this. I think it’s taken a shade further by the absence of question marks: they’re questions that are almost, but not quite, statements. They imply: I’m almost sure the dark angel visited, passed by, was somewhere not far away. The dark angel has an elusive presence, which is very nuanced.

For me the best lines (by a narrow margin) are

love of thought
and thoughtful love
held my trembled hand
and loved me back again

‘Love of thought/ and thoughtful love’ is a very telling turn of phrase. There’s a modern - very broad - definition of ‘paradox’ as any combination of words which runs counter to our expectations. Your wordplay on ‘thought’ does just that, I think. To love thought is to value our existence as thinking creatures; ‘thoughtful love’ is about another kind of thought, commitment to someone else’s welfare. And these two subtle human attributes have combined to do the simplest thing: ‘held my trembled hand/ and loved me back again’. These are very fine lines. I notice too how the idea is picked up - with a slight variation - in the last stanza.

From the sublime to the grammatical - wouldn’t ‘trembling hand’ be more natural?

On the poem as a whole, I like what emerges in the third stanza. Reading the first two stanzas we can guess this is about a life-threatening event, and then the third stanza tells us directly that it’s heart surgery. Some poets would play a game with readers, leaving the exact nature of the event ambiguous - a ‘game’ which often makes a good poem, but is not appropriate here. In this poem I think it’s absolutely right to tell us exactly what it was all about.

This is a little delicate, but I can’t help wanting to know if you are writing about a personal experience. It’s possible it may be based on someone else’s experience. Whichever it is, it’s a very moving - and affirmative - poem.


Zettel at 19:49 on 23 January 2013  Report this post
Thanks James

Uncertainty lies at the heart of this. With no prior symptoms I ended up having a triple by-pass on Boxing Day. So yes pretty personal.

Cathartic I suppose - but makes one value family so much.

Hopefully on the mend.



James Graham at 20:23 on 23 January 2013  Report this post
Yes, writing like this is cathartic; I've found that too. Very glad to hear you're on the mend. Best wishes.


Zettel at 00:38 on 24 January 2013  Report this post
PS - 'trembled'

The present tense speaks of me know - after. I look back on the experience in the past tense. Thus the trembling was stilled, overcome by the love and support of my family. It seemed to work better that way even if a bit unconventional. My son refused to leave and held my hand throughout the night before.

Thanks again.


V`yonne at 15:39 on 04 February 2013  Report this post
Oh it's so GOTHIC in its way. It appeals to the soul the death defying soul and it speaks of fear and uncertainty. It's a wonderful poem about the human condition and you have made it seem simple and personal.

I am sorry to hear of the experience that produced this work but I an=m glad to have read it.

Thank you. I hope you are recovering well.

Dave Morehouse at 14:49 on 05 February 2013  Report this post
Agreed with others regarding your recovery. The matter-of-fact questions in the early stanza are exactly the things that fire through one's head when teetering at the edge of surgery and, possibly, even death. This treatment is straightaway and almost frightening in how it relates to most of us at some point in our lives. Wonderfully done. Dave

Zettel at 12:15 on 15 February 2013  Report this post
Belatedly - thanks Dave and V'yonne



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