I can survive anything even the burnt of failure, the pain that lingers long after circumstances have altered, this and so much more only if I feel loved.
I stumbled upon an incredibly evocative poem by Peter Cole and was deeply touched by the wisdom in his writing. Born in Paterson, New Jersey in 1957 he has been called "one of the handful of authentic poets of his own American generation" by the critic Harold Bloom. His work both as a poet and a translator reflects a sustained engagement with the cultures of Judaism and especially of the Middle East.
His collections of poetry include Rift (1989), Things on Which I’ve Stumbled (2008), The Invention of Influence (2014), and Hymns & Qualms: New and Selected Poems and Translations (2017). With Adina Hoffman, he wrote the nonfiction volume Sacred Trash: The Lost and Found World of the Cairo Geniza (2011).
The Ghazal of What Hurt
by Peter Cole
Pain froze you, for years—and fear—leaving scars. But now, as though miraculously, it seems, here you are walking easily across the ground, and into town as though you were floating on air, which in part you are, or riding a wave of what feels like the world’s good will— though helped along by something foreign and older than you are and yet much younger too, inside you, and so palpable an X-ray, you’re sure, would show it, within the body you are, not all that far beneath the skin, and even in some bones. Making you wonder: Are you what you are— with all that isn’t actually you having flowed through and settled in you, and made you what you are? The pain was never replaced, nor was it quite erased. It’s memory now—so you know just how lucky you are. You didn’t always. Were you then? And where’s the fear? Inside your words, like an engine? The car you are?! Face it, friend, you most exist when you’re driven away, or on—by forms and forces greater than you are.
I also found an exquisite song by Three Days Grace which goes beautifully with the poem by Cole.
Welcome to the Tuesday Platform, the weekly open stage for sharing poems in the Imaginary Garden. Please link up a poem, old or new, and spend some time this week visiting the offerings of our fellow writers.