This poem had its genesis in writings I did during a Dancemeditation weekend with Dunya in Austin in November 2019. Shortly after that workshop – which I experienced as a ‘watershed moment’ in my life – I began writing poetry again. Both practices, poetry and Dancemeditation, feel like alchemy to me, ways to evoke and live the embodied sacred. – W.D.
Untitled Poem About Breaking
by Wren Donovan
Once I believed I was finding my toughness learning to trust
my own strength, to believe I wouldn’t break. Now I see
I’m learning to accept that I am breaking always
breaking again and again broken
never ending never healed always healing
always breaking bleeding on a cycle with the moon
which is a rock that cracks ribs and opens sternum until
my heart stands out alone anatomically correct like
Frida’s heartbreak (she knew she was broken always
breaking). Spinal column is a tower stacked and
penciled-in to topple. I wear a vest of ribs and crown of
jagged skull, eyes barnacled and black. Delicate bone
arches, ischium eye-socket symphysis clavicles
ossicles like turtle bones rattling premonitions.
Eyes tender fingers splayed my belly without armor,
my bones splinter flesh peels and I break again
and again. My shell is calcified and brittle but
it cannot long resist the grinding waves against the
diamond sand. And why Why break
so I can hold more, so I can hold no more
always filling never full, a vessel one with water.
To open and be opened to give way to receive and then again
eternal oyster mining pearls from pain and offering my soft
self on the half shell to feed lovers. I will leave
the house walk out across the dry sand go down
to the wet edge of the waves the lacy rim of rhythm go
into the water the impersonal breakers. I am the broken the breaking
the dissolution the dance. I am the dance, then, and the dancer
a shell rolled in the sand until I am the sand itself
an emptiness emptying and filling. I am
scattered scales of moonlight lost to daybreak.
Trust is beauty/terror brittle sweet.
– First published in Emerge Literary Journal
Wren Donovan’s poetry appears or is upcoming in Emerge Literary Journal, The Dillydoun Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, Harpy Hybrid Review, Green Ink Poetry, Hecate Anthology, and elsewhere. Her poems often explore memory, the healing potential of stories and imagination, and the “dove in the stone” — the sacred within the physical world, waiting to wake up when we give attention. She studied folklore, mythology, Classics, psychology, and creative writing. Wren also reads Tarot, practices Dancemeditation, and talks to cats. She lives in Tennessee and lurks on twitter @WrenDonovan. Links to published work: wrendonovan.weebly.com.
Hi! I’m Dunya and I’m delighted that poet, Wren Donovan, is a guest on this blog. Such a beautiful poem! Please share it with your friends. Thank you ~
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