scales (this time, with saudade)

if I set this globe to scale
as an orange
then we are two dust motes on it–
no, even less than dust
perhaps atoms
on opposing halves and sides
of that orange

and how could that orange
allow awareness
between two very small things
to occur, those odds
expressed in angstroms
as all things atomic are

even the constellations
you might wish to meet me by
differ from the ones
I dream under

impossibility set to scale–
we are less than nothing
stretching that feeling thin
across a bloody ocean
to touch–

you are closer
if I pass through that orange
but matter has laws
I must observe in concrete
if not metaphor–
the orange is still completely orange
and we are still less than dust

drawn by a pull
stronger than gravity
and what drives magnets
I will not give a name to
but still somehow
we are spun fine
across oceans of water and salt
or orange juice
or blood

This is a response to Mike the Panda’s challenge to (this is right from the bear’s mouth and some of it triggered by a typo from me in his comments):

Our new challenge is this. Write a poem using apostrophe, the theme is saudade, and it must include the line “love across a bloody ocean” somewhere.

Yep, complicated, but it was Susan and myself who cooked it and she has promised to take half the blame

Apostrophe: a figure of speech in which someone absent or dead or something nonhuman is addressed as if it were alive and present and was able to reply.

Saudade: accommodates in one word the haunting desire for a lost love, or for an imaginary, impossible, never-to-be-experienced love.

Saudade rather lends itself to apostrophic writing so hopefully it’s not too much of a stretch. (and it gave me the chance to say apostrophic like I know what I’m talking about!)

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About Susan L Daniels

I am a firm believer that politics are personal, that faith is expressed through action, and that life is something that must be loved and lived authentically--or why bother with any of it?
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84 Responses to scales (this time, with saudade)

  1. ruleofstupid says:

    Clever – the blood orange – smart to never name it explicitly – sweet, the yearning and distance portrayed – splendid to have met across the oceans 🙂

    The idea of a ‘poetry’ blog for us all (let’s see, yourself, me, crabcake, unfettered, face, kellogg, miriam, mimsy – so far (have I missed anyone?)) has been mooted. What think you? Re-inventing the wheel, or owning the means of production?

  2. claudia says:

    oh wow..this is just wonderful…love the whole idea of it…and the feelings…stretching that feeling thin
    across a bloody ocean
    to touch–… awesome write susan

  3. brian miller says:

    intriguing verse…it is interesting how connections happen in this world…the net has def opened that up a bit…i think of the rich friendships i would miss without…even if we are mites of dust on opposite ends of the orange…we are drawn together somehow…and that is a bit of magic to me…smiles.

  4. Now that’s a way to open a poem, “if I set this globe to scale
    as an orange
    then we are two dust motes on it” – you set the scene for this apostrophe straight from the outset. I love the tone and feel of the speaker throughout, and references back to that orange and the dust, “the orange is still completely orange
    and we are still less than dust”. This had such a curious “completeness” to it too. Great stuff!

  5. kelly says:

    this is wonderful, perfect response to the prompt!

  6. merbear74 says:

    Wonderful poem. 🙂

  7. This is wonderful. So clever. The bloody ocean: what a metaphor,,, And now I see, that as usual, mine is all wrong…I didn’t follow the rules…back to the drawing board…:-)

  8. stuartmcphersonpoet says:

    ooohhhh interesting!…i LOVED getting into this, ad the concepts. The use of the Orange (a blood orange) to symbolise the earth? and our smallness as dust, but the power of connection as overwhelming despite this….juice as blood…this is COMPLEX, but i love poetry like this…there re depths to be discovered…ive probably missed a load here…so…gong back for another read!

  9. janehewey says:

    you’ve taken a deep dive here, Susan. your language usage is beautiful and expansive. Happy New Year, to you!!

  10. Miriam E. says:

    susan, i absolutely adored this!

    “you are closer
    if I pass through that orange
    but matter has laws
    I must observe in concrete
    if not metaphor–
    the orange is still completely orange
    and we are still less than dust”
    i wish i could peek into your brain and see how it is you come up with such great work. you have some magicians working up there, don’t you… 😉 great poem!

  11. Susan this is lovely! I often do feel like a dust speck.

  12. jasmine calyx says:

    Excellent, Susan. I like this very much. This is my favorite part:
    “and how could that orange
    allow awareness
    between two very small things”

  13. To me it feels like our poetry community has made the world about the size of a golf ball…maybe a pea. I love the connection!

  14. naramalone says:

    Beautiful, deep, and creative. Great take on a prompt that would have stumped me.

    • Oh, Nara, thank you It was a tough prompt–but one generated through my own fault by a typo, and them I had to complicate it further by suggesting we use apostrophe.

  15. What a fabulous response to the prompt and the prompt was complicated–so much pull in this piece for me–that is a great bit of writing!

  16. Simply entrancing I like others want to peek into your brain) or can I just borrow it for the Apostrophe Challenge? I promise I won’t need long!

  17. nelle says:

    Less than nothing…I prefer to believe size matters not. 😉

  18. Katie! says:

    Nice!! Very well done!! Liked it, very much so!! 🙂

  19. “you are closer
    if I pass through that orange
    but matter has laws
    I must observe in concrete
    if not metaphor–
    the orange is still completely orange
    and we are still less than dust”

    This is effing brilliant. Pardon my swearing, but….wow. I mean, the whole poem is brilliant, but this passage…there are no words since we are speaking in terms of scales. Love it! 🙂

  20. Tony says:

    Isn’t it amazing how these two motes of dust – two atoms on the surface of an orange – are able to connect with each other through the power of the information superhighway? I for one and glad that we can, because without the Web I’d probably never have the pleasure of reading your words.

  21. lucychili says:

    so much feeling is held in digital suspension

  22. Susan says:

    “even the constellations
    you might wish to meet me by
    differ from the ones
    I dream under”

    And yet, the meeting happens, beautifully problemitized in this poem so we can get goose-bumps from it!

  23. mobius faith says:

    Really wonderful capture of the idea. Nicely done.

  24. nico says:

    Wow, this is some poem! Every line is wonderfully done, and the images you used are just right.

  25. I doff my headgear to you (yes, my scarf, as an African) This whole business of apostrophe and saudade is a difficult one, Susan. Yet, you manage it with so much finesse. You are that good, and I am proud to know you. 🙂

    • Celestine–oh my! I am matching my tomato breakfast this morning 😉

      You are so very kind to say so! It was fun, playing with those words/ideas, and saudade is something I have experienced. Beautiful yearning.

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