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This is Not My Body

This is Not My Body

For Mary H. Lynch (12.1.47-1.27.2011) And you were always my sister…

This is not my body, this frozen ground;
no, my body is a field of flowers waking.
This is not my body, this drifting wood;
my body is a splitting sea, all brine magic and wingspan.
Not mine, not mine, this haunted ruin
that still retains the imprint of love’s busy hand,
as if given and taken to yielding lately.
This is not my body that parries the thrust,
but an easy pluck of wet like a silk ribbon trailing.
My body is a fine animal thing,
is a splash of water like children swimming,
is a roar like triumph, is a crashing of waves.
Not this brackish pool, this dull refraining of tainted drizzle,
but hard rain and thunder and the blessings of the deep.
This fallow acre, this withered bloom,
this braid of bonsai, this tortured root,
this static husk, this rusted anchor,
this castaway, this twisted wing,
this hollow sanctum, this keloid canvas,
this empty cradle, this shallow grave,
this tired soldier, this changeling vessel,
this poisoned well, this craven gesture.
This is not my body, this is not my sorrow, nor yours to bear,
these last labored gasps, this rattling choke of memories so bright.
This is only my body, this road kill, but not my precious path of light;
it’s only Love, that multiplies in its sharing, that’s truly ours for keeping.
Mine is a sun ripened grove, is a vineyard grown yet growing,
is lush evermore, is eternal, and may it keep you from grieving.
There is something we have known from the very beginning:
my soul is the only thing that was ever really built to last!

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11 comments

  • torontokate says:

    This is powerful,eloquent, deeply moving. Wallis Stern has done it again – drawn me into the deep with her words, her images. The soul is not the only thing built to last, her poetry will as well. Long live Wallis Stern!

  • Lil says:

    I love this so much… I soar , plummet and soar again..

  • Histoire d'O says:

    “This is Not My Body” by Wallis Stern, is a beautiful love letter to anyone coping with the loss or illness of a loved one. It speaks to the fact that our bodies are merely the vessel. Although “the body” can no longer physically withstand, endure … the soul remains everlasting.

  • Amazing poem, definatly can relate!!!!

  • I can definately relate to this poetry….Thank you

    There is something we have known from the very beginning:
    my soul is the only thing that was ever really built to last!

  • […] Mary Helen Lynch (12.1.47-1.27.2011) “Real art has the capacity to make us nervous.”–Susan […]

  • Clea Poetnoise King says:

    Wallis Stern’s brushstroke upon the canvas of Mary Lynch’s life leaves the reader forever changed. It is the pain of loss and the celebration of her life that touches my heart. “This is Not My Body” makes me smile through the tears. The love and tenderness of sister love soars through this poem, which is so brilliantly crafted. Stern reminds the reader; that death may take away the body, but it can never diminish the spirit and light of your loved one.Their soul will live forever. Hello Mary Lynch and thank you Wallis Stern.

  • Kimberly Satterfield says:

    Thank you for this timeless reminder of who we really are beyond bones and skin

  • Elizabeth Capwell says:

    I had the privilege of reading an earlier draft of this poem. I couldn’t have imagined how it could have been made better, but it has. A paradox enfolded in a mystery: How can an avowed atheist say that the soul is the only thing that was ever really built to last? Where does the soul go? No one has ever come back to tell us…one thing I know: This is the most beautiful elegy I have ever read. Thank you.

  • Brilliant again Wallis. Thank you for sharing.

  • Kai says:

    This is not my Body/translates in flowing words of love the interior experience we all share, in the presence of someone in our life we have spent so much sincere time with, that it moves with the musical interlude of, a well scored film. The true art expressed by Wallis Stern, is the emotional invocation of the shared often silent world, of human beings, as we win and lose love’s understanding among those closest to us throughout our own lives. That is not to say we do not communicate well, the event of discord, or the event of overflowing joy shared with those we count closest to us, is not always so easily articulated in what we truly feel and wish to convey. This piece, is like a treasure map of the soul, and how it moves across the landscape of life, picking up diamonds in the rough,hard won stones,finally smoothing the surfaces of ourselves, and each other, to reveal that rare gem, under the surface. A glimmer of what lay behind the ancient facade of a well worn love.