a hall gathering


storm in our Alabama sky

If the thunder woke us, the antenna waving lightning-invitations,

the tin drumming under wide oaks, and the gate

flapping in little screams, we would pile in the hallway, pillowed,

lacing arms, gown silk slipping uncomfortably on vinyl tile floor.

 

Everything held its breath. The hall of an old home

that could rattle with a sneeze was wide-eyed silence,

a cloud hovering, warm gathering, mass

crescendo of terrific imagination.

 

Yet they never touched down on us, only fear,

only warnings, only the heavy learned love

of abandon, of arms, and of heart-banging dark. 

———

written in response to L.L.Barkat’s prompt – The Hall

Yes, I know it. You never know what you’re going to get here. I don’t either. Every time I post a poem, I tell myself I’ll never do it again. The only reason I can tell that revealing a poem is so excruciating is that it must come from a different place. My heart actually races when I write it. I don’t know why.

So now I’m wondering – If you’ve read down this far into the post, what makes your heart race?

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amberhaines
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21 Comments

kristin
Reply August 12, 2009

Beautiful! Beautiful prose. Exciting news, rather the anticipation of. As a mother, fierce love.

Julia
Reply August 12, 2009

This morning? Two shots of espresso in a Hazelnut Latte...I know...I'm deep ;)

TexasDeb
Reply August 12, 2009

When I've chosen a gift for somebody I love - when I watch them open it and scan their face for signs of joyful recognition of a glimpse of themselves as I see them. I can barely breathe as I wait. Will they see what I saw in the gift and as importantly, will they want to accept it as a beautiful shared truth about themselves?

    Amber
    Reply August 12, 2009

    Oh my goodness. I LOVE these responses. Yes!

brittney
Reply August 12, 2009

My husband (always), the thought of our future children, and more recently: knowing I'm graduating college in December and seeing my husband in uniform.

Fiona
Reply August 12, 2009

Before you have kids no-one ever tells you how much love you have for them......seeing my kids and my husband...that makes my heart race...when you catch them being good,,,and even when not so good!

Stephen
Reply August 12, 2009

my heart races like a caffeinated tornado and i forget age and ache and circumstance when i read or hear the words 'i miss you.'

sometimes i think they're as transcendence-making as those other three words.

deb
Reply August 12, 2009

~your writing
~the moment before I click on Holy Experience
~when my husband dips me in a kiss in front of anyone and everyone
~when all 7 of us arrive anywhere together and someone catches the love that is spilling from me and their smile makes me dizzy with knowing such grace

Aunt Pam
Reply August 12, 2009

You know I can see all of ya'll (kids) sitting in the hall way on Columbus Lane and a tornado is going over that house that breathes with imgainations running wild as to what is actually happening outside.
I love your poems. Keep up the good work!

Stephen
Reply August 12, 2009

oops, i forgot to say how much i loved the poem. not that this is why you write a poem, but a poet still ought to know when the words she writes speak to those who read them. k. that's all. and thanks.

[btw... my lack of capitalization has nothing to do with pretense, nor does it reflect any secretly-harbored hope of someday being lauded as the comment-ary spiritual descendent of e.e. cummings, but rather it is an act of pure laziness. pressing the shift key is just too much work sometimes.]

Malia
Reply August 12, 2009

I always feel very exposed whenever I take the chance to post some poetry. It's so very different from prose. More personal and raw. And yes, I even feel different when I write it.

Kristen
Reply August 12, 2009

I like your poetry and I'm grateful for every post you promised yourself you'd never publish.

And I like your question. Thanks for asking. Without hesitation my answer is going home. I love going to visit our families (I still consider those places homes!). It is a delightful thing seeing a door that I haven't stepped through in a while and anticipating all the warmth and love and hope and light that always awaits me on the other side. And after being gone a while, I love returning to the place I share with my husband. It feels and smells like belonging.

Jane Anne
Reply August 12, 2009

I have been thinking about this off and on all day. Here's what I know makes my heart and gives me a special excitement:
Getting to see our family - we live far away from all of our family and I cannot contain my feelings when I get to see family
Inspired Writing - when I write something that I feel deeply
Answered prayers - recognizing an answer from God is chilling and powerful.

Thanks for making me think about this.

L.L. Barkat
Reply August 12, 2009

I loved this phrase...

"the tin drumming under wide oaks"

and the "heart-banging dark."

Why, you should let your heart race in poetry more often. The sound of it wakes me.

Jo@Mylestones
Reply August 12, 2009

I loved the poem, especially the "heart-banging dark."
My heart races right before a literal race. No matter that I haven't the slightest chance of actually winning--I just get so caught up in the jittery crowd pulse, and run the first mile high on second-hand oxygen.

Jessica
Reply August 13, 2009

we bought an old house this week, with a hall like that. your post made me so happy to be moving my family into a "new" old home that has a soul. cant wait!

Kelly
Reply August 13, 2009

When I was little, in the summer of 1993, we were living in Illinois for that year of storms and tornadoes and floods. Our house was old, a rickety rental on an old farm property. My dad was renovating it, but nothing could make it strong enough to keep out that "heart-banging dark." I've been afraid of thunderstorms ever since.

Amber, I LOVE your poetry. I love the feelings that expand in word and phrase that couldn't be prose, shouldn't be prose. I love the colors, the sounds, the unseen that becomes suddenly visible.

What makes my heart race? Waves rolling restless to the shore like my heart, blue mountains spread out miles before me, new flowers in early spring, the gentle way of a groom with his bride on their wedding day, Christmas and snowfall by lamplight, my daughter's happy smile, the feel of my baby moving within - and conversations. Conversations like this one, when hearts meet and there is something common and tangible, when I know God is moving and working and filling and pouring out of you with that glory that makes my spirit soar with joy as I find Him in you too.

Minnesotamom
Reply August 13, 2009

When my daughter is hanging on my leg and I am lightly touching the back of her soft neck, just under the curls of toddler hair.
Writing something that even I consider good, or taking a photograph of which even I approve...self-judgment is always the harshest.
Seeing my husband after a day apart.
Summer sunshine enveloping my skin.
There's much more, but I don't want to write a book, or re-start my Bad Poetry Mondays right here in your comments...ha!

Monica
Reply August 14, 2009

Recognizing a resonating soul. It races even faster if we connect, and then spend time together.
Also, certain 4 a.m. moments... (but some things we just shouldn't say in public).

sojourner
Reply August 17, 2009

i've been there - only our haven was a bothroom under the stairs or a ditch beside the road - as was yours, only fear touched down

your hallway gathering was a reminder that reached way back into time - the reaching back is what makes my heart race

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