Cast

Desirous of returning, perhaps,
furtive glances at the young couple, hands
never far from one another, stroking gently
and they know, these manatee women,
how it changes, that touch,
first a small betrayal, feelings far out
of proportion to events peculiar
to youth they would gladly recapture,
if only wisdom would imbue it;

Then follow the children contemplated
even now, his building a sand belly
and photographing, sending to envious friends
because they say so, faking is funny, oh,
the irony, biological urges blurring senses,
morning passion play marking faces,
masks one sees through, if attentive;

Elder gestures now revealing,
impressing far more than the telling,
(youth’s perception terms it envy,
oversimplifying complexities developing,
years left in the making);

Still, the mind casts to and fro,
fly fisher’s line not quite settling on the waters
of imagination, back and forth encores,
brains sharp as once they were,
bodies standing stock still,
melting candle legs supporting
burgeoned bellies, gravity drawing them inexorably
back to point of origin;
bargain made, body borrowed,
innocence hearkening to a time
they, too, were blissfully unafraid.

17 comments on “Cast”

  1. Growing old isn’t for the faint of heart, is it? Your poem hits close to home!

    • Thanks, Elisa ❀ And I think I've got a few years on you, as well! πŸ˜‰

      It was interesting observing this group of women in the water with this young couple – so strange, really. All the women were bleached blonde or platinum, bright pink lipstick, nails 'done.' Slight Southern accents. I thought 'family.' It was like stepping into a alternate universe. Their chitchat was collective, but their stolen glances were individual. There was not any talk amongst them about it that I could see, either from the beach or once I was in the water. Perhaps later on in the day …

      No doubt their machinations gave me pause, but would I, myself want to return to that time of 'excitement?' Youth was such a period of angst and turmoil. I am not envious, only incredulous at times that the distance between mind and body can seem so vast. And while I will take peace of mind over my younger days anytime, we live in a youth-obsessed culture. Older women especially are marginalized. We don't feel it so much on the islands, where there is far more respect and inclusion of elders. But I've also had a lifetime of conditioning, as have these women, to sort out.

      Aloha!

  2. Loved your descriptive poem Bela, and so enjoyed your comment to Elisa too.. Like stepping into an alternative Universe. πŸ™‚ Made me smile.. but our smile is wider as we know they will catch up with us some day πŸ˜€

    • Haha, yes, Sue – the ‘old woman’ I would have called myself at eighteen comes home to roost! πŸ˜€ Though of course I wouldn’t think of myself that way. ‘Old’ has taken on a new meaning – and I wonder if I’m lucky enough to attain 80, 90 and beyond, if I’ll consider myself ‘old’ then. I try not to compare, though sometimes it’s tempting. I’ve always been an observer, and enjoy watching all sorts of things: people, animals, insects, weather … and remaining open to the small snatches of divine inspiration that hit me when I least suspect it. And of all I observe, humans continue to confound me most. Blessings, dear, and enjoy the rest of your week! Thanks for including your voice in this thread ❀

      • It was so nice to catch up again Bela, and I doubt we ever feel ‘Old’ inside, I still feel that 18 yr old, Even if the mirror reflects a 43 yr age gap πŸ˜€

  3. What I find intriguing about your work Bela, is that it always challenges me to discover the underlying vision – that scalpel-crafted vision – whilst passing only ever a route across your deliciously distracting sculpting of phrases. These are the very best of challenges therefore, and I readily admit I seldom rise to them upon first reading – maybe the third, of fourth. This time, I was doubly challenged, hopping between three perspectives (the couple, the manatee women, the sagacious observer). I wonder, do we sometimes reveal more of ourselves when seen in a group? This would appear counter-intuitive, yet the feeling I had here was that the sea cows (how awful!) revealed more of themselves in their collective presence – somehow the personal agenda was thereby contrasted, and as a consequence more clearly seen. A question if you will Bela: that ‘small betrayal’ – you mean a first distancing from our youthful role in courtship, the first conscious stirrings of ‘biological urges’, or what? H ❀

    • Hariod, each time I read one of your comments, I want to capture it, set it in a special place and treasure it always. Like an old letter from a dear friend. I am so deeply honored that you take the time to read and attempt to (!) understand my work. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

      As for the ‘small betrayal,’ this can be anything, really – we women, at least – sensate creatures that we are – sometimes make inferences with regards to men in our lives where none are really intended. It has only been in the last ten years, after a virtual lifetime of studying and counseling many men, that I truly have come to understand and appreciate just how very differently men’s brains are wired. Mostly there IS no hidden agenda; motives are usually pretty much what they seem – yet as young women and girls, we are emotionally more complex and tend to derive meaning or intent where none necessarily exists on the other end of the discourse or interaction. (Thoughtlessness, perhaps, as a product of immaturity in either gender.) What a man might think to be innocuous – looking at a beautiful woman, ignoring what we are feeling because he doesn’t think it relevant, heck, any number of things – a woman may construe as betrayal. Now I’m not saying ‘real’ betrayals don’t happen, for men tend to mature later in life than women, though this again is a generalization. ‘Stupid’ mistakes are part of growing up. Yet the vulnerabilities of (most) women, coupled with their ability (?) desire (?) to throw themselves wholly into the fires of love puts much at risk. I wrote a poem years ago that might reveal further:

      love canal

      I know the terrors you face,
      believe me.
      Don’t think you are the
      Only One.

      I fear the most when I
      Trust, give away. Men don’t
      Know
      what we
      Know it requires –
      stripping down
      Naked souls
      to
      Unveil,
      full
      of
      Holes.

      I hope this elucidates a bit more, but in any case, thanks again for being such a loyal and contemplative reader. You are much, much appreciated. ❀ ❀ ❀

      • Thank you Bela, for such a fulsome clarification. Allow me to ask another, perhaps impertinent, question: would you rather readers did not probe in this manner about the motivations for, and hidden layers of, your work, and instead simply were left to their own reasoning or response? I know that many artists feel this way, and think it a perfectly valid and understandable view. Please feel free to affirm this if indeed it is the case; it is best that I know. Your response here suggests that you are more than happy to reveal more, yet I should hate to think you felt some obligation in the matter. H ❀

      • Hariod, you are too kind. I would never reveal anything I consider too private to share. I am, however, happy to have your consideration and that of other interested readers, and if my life experience is valuable or helpful or in any way worth pondering, I am only too happy to reveal my perspectives. I am very much a One World kind of gal, as we all share the human experience in one way or another. So sweet to share thoughts with readers such as yourself. I am delighted. xoxo

  4. Bela,

    I found this one even deeper than your normal verses.

    I am left wondering what is that common thread that binds the couple you initially write about and the manatee women you bring in subsequently. Somehow the images clash rather than coalesce in my mind. Or could it be that for the reader
    (like me), your verse really signifies disparate thought trains that always course through the mind?

    Shakti

    • Aloha, Shakti: At first I thought not to publish this one; seemed a bit ‘dark,’ with respect to the relationship/s you mention. Yet I witnessed it just days before my post, so thought, hmmm … maybe. And you bring up a salient point: what binds them, save their human nature? The young typify the young. The women embody a certain element of the American populace who, by virtue of buying into pop culture a bit more than some, are feeling uncomfortable, envious, even smug in their own way. Perhaps there resides no common element in that illusory world. (Remember America is a juvenile country with a fixation on youth with a divisive element that at once spouts superiority and military might while torturing and killing those they perceive as ‘different’ – schoolyard bullies, to some of us attempting to revitalize our nation’s founding principles, seemingly lost in a corporate-bought government. Of course there are very different emerging strands which contradict this Shadow element, but they are not on FOX TV or in the bulk of popular mainstream publications.) The makeup, the hair, the chitchat I overheard while out in the water quite near to them reminds me of the masses who live with heads stuck in their televisions and glossy magazines, many which denigrate elder women by encouraging them to live up to impossible standards. (I don’t know if anyone from older cultures and countries can understand just how insidious these messages are, from gluts of weight loss advertising to dubious plastic surgeries.) These gals seemed very superficial, image-based, buying in, it seemed, to a cultural stereotype that works for them in their own familiar milieu. But on the beach, in Hawaii, in the ocean, in bathing suits in which more is revealed than they perhaps are used to, these dissonant chords seemed to underlie the frivolous chatter. On one hand, they were having a grand time. But the furtive glances are what I was tuning into. As is my wont πŸ˜‰ Blessings, Shakti – hope this clarfies a bit for you. Thanks as ever for reading and commenting. ❀

  5. I like how deep you go, I have mentioned this before. There are times I see society showing an improvement on respecting elders at least in movies, with Judi Dench, Helen Mirren and Morgan Freeman. “Five Flights Up” with Diane Keaton and Morgan Freeman and “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” with some Indian cast members were both entertaining and held kind messages.

    I love the poem you shared within your comments, too. It would be comforting for men to know they could remove the “facade” of acting tough that covers tender hearts. This doesn’t mean that either sex doesn’t have their share of cruel character traits. The song, “Maneater” men wrote reminds me of “Heartbreaker” that women sing. The last hope for Earth would probably be impossible on all levels of humanity which would be it’s only saving Grace:be rral, show caring and love one another. Could politicians do this?, could tribes stop warring? Could there be no spaces between people and still not step on each others toes? Still full of youthful optimism as I approach 60. . . Hugs and happy trails to you, Bela.

  6. Robin, I believe I have a bit of insight for you in a book I just obtained from a local thrift store. It’s a collection of Rumi’s teachings, not his poetry, edited by Andrew Harvey, my favorite interpreter. The essay is “On Good and Evil,” from the book LIGHT UPON LIGHT:

    If anyone could be Pure Love and Pure Knowledge, without any stain of ignorance anywhere – that person would immediately be burned up in the Fire and cease to exist at all. So ignorance is in some ways ‘desirable,’ because without it we would stop existing; and knowledge and love too are ‘desirable,’ because they lead to proximity and intimacy. Ignorance and knowledge seem to be opposites; they are in fact secret allies.

    The same is true of night and day. Night is not the enemy or opposite of day, but its ally. If night lasted forever, no work would ever get accomplished; if day went on and on, wtithout any rest or interruption, everyone would go insane and be able to do nothing. So people rest at night, refresh and reinvigorate themselves so that they can spend their renewed powers by day.

    To the one Love has instructed, things that seem opposite reveal their secret affinity and relation. Show me the evil in this universe in which no good at all is contained, or the good in which there is not the slightest touch of evil!

    I heard once about a man who was consumed with the desire to murder someone, but went to a prostitute and worked off his anger in lust. Lust is an evil; insofar as indulging it prevented the man from murder, it is a kind of good. So evil and good cannot be separated. Show me good without evil, so I can agree that there is a God of Good and a God of Evil. You cannot – because good does not exist apart from evil. Knowing this does not bring any acceptance of evil – evil remains evil, to be fought and defeated. But knowing this lessens fear.

    (end)

    I know this is long, but hoping you enjoy it, nonetheless. Peace, Robin! ❀

  7. You really explained a lot in this description of how life is not sways black and white, with good and evil creating balance in this world. I appreciate that you have counseled men and women helping them, Bela. Also, so happy you have a happy relationship with a husband and fulfilled life. πŸ™‚

    • Ahhh, Robin, lots of turmoil before this marriage of over 20 years – so happy to have found my ‘soul mate’ – someone willing to work on the rough edges with me (his too!). Aloha.

  8. This comment is a little late for this post, but the artwork is amazing! I can’t stop staring at it: thighs like islands.


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