13 June 2018

The mornings, a poem by Phil Rice

A cold pillow holds my head
as I listen for your words;

there is no crucifix here,
only your voice between the sheets.

Turning toward your side of the bed,
I bat my eyes at the empty space;

“You need to get up,” I hear you say,
the sound hanging sweetly in the air.

My legs, unsteadily familiar,
can’t contemplate the walk today,

so I wait until your voice is gone,
and only your breath remains

to guide my feet to the floor.

Phil Rice is a native of Tennessee who currently lives and writes in the shadows of Chicago. He serves as editor-in-chief for Canopic Publishing, and is also co-editor of Canopic Jar, a literary arts journal he founded in 1986. Everything Canopic can be found at this link. The venture is also on Facebook.

"The mornings" is reprinted here with the poet's permission.

Phil Rice


Mary McCallum said...

A simple sad poem of grief. It reminds me of one by former Faber poetry editor Christopher Reid in a collection written about his late wife. Thank you for this, Rethabile.

Rethabile said...

Thank you, Mary, for this poem that I dig, if I may say so. I like both the writer and the poet, and that doesn't prevent me from enjoying his work.

Kathleen Jones said...

Welcome to the TP's, Rethabile! Interesting poem by a poet I hadn't heard of. Look forward to more of your posts.

Rethabile said...

Glad you liked the poem, Kathleen. Thanks

Helen McKinlay said...

This poem is written with such clarity and so present in the moment.
I like it that it is free from self pity but just is. Quite beautiful.
Also I really enjoy listening to your music as I visit your blog.
Thanks for sharing Rethabile.

Rethabile said...

Thanks, Helen. I've known Phil for 20 years or more and his writing has always been clear, succint and probing.

Anonymous said...

Always interesting to discover the work of a new poet. Well, new to me, anyway.

Welcome to Tuesday Poem, Rethabile.

Rethabile said...

Must thank you, too, on behalf of the poet. It is true that it's always a thrill to discover a new writer, a new voice. And I'm discovering plenty right now through TP.

Anonymous said...

I'm struck by "I bat my eyes at the empty space," which works so well, conjuring both the physical act of waking -- batting away at darkness, say -- and a sort of intimacy, even flirtation (the batting of eyelids) that one imagines exists in the narrator's dreams, when the two souls are peacefully united.
-- Zireaux

Rethabile said...

I also read into it, on top of your feelings about it, the metaphor of the humble bat flapping its wings in the dark in search of... nourishment?

Andrene Bonner said...

The sensory images makes this poem so profound in its simplicity.

Rethabile said...

Andrene, Phil is a ripened poet who knows how to say very much with as few words as possible.

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