The Inner Grammars of Solitude

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Long listened I to water flow
deep down, ever
revealing patience to stone
my heart in darkness.
Love left me while I
listened. Love lay alone, heavy, alone.

Flow again it must to stay alive
but the bones of my being
are soft with grieving
all native fire, all golden inner glow
brought to ash. Dry.

I am ash. Ash caught by morning wind
freed from memory, flying, floating
I brush clean this stain from my satin gown
this muteness of tears.

Remembered laughter
eats my heart, raving
blind is my inner eye
I search in the well of sorrow.

Child, now a stranger, cold
stole my hope and crept away. . .
no window opens my inner eye.

Ash I am, burned by love molded in my own mother-heart
tried, dried, drained, strained seed crushed, put away. . .
My love has put me away.
My heart longs for quiet. An end to tears. Ash I am, burned

I fade against her bright spring sky,
she looks away, sees not my outrageous
pink hair signaling grace seeded
Her eyes remember me no longer.
In the lines of my cheeks
what stirs in her?

No greening leaf vines slowly toward me,
she writes not a song in her heart
folds me never into her book
un-paints me from the fine wall of her soul
erases every faint and wavering crack.

Stone is the driest form of life.
Before it wakes it must sleep. Long.
Holds gravid the whispering core of
Mother Earth, listens. Sleeps. Sleeps.

How shall I awaken?
Water, I need. Water wakens stone.
Water, only water hears my silence.

Darlene Witte
Darlene Witte

Professor of Education, (retired) at Johnson State College in Vermont leads the Green Mountain Writers' Poetry & Performance workshop that meets on Zoom each month on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays at 7 PM ET. Find out more at

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