It’s strange to read this poem again, now that my sons are grown up. I wrote this eight years ago! More of my weather sonnets are in my chapbook Cloud Studies.
From here the tree looks like it’s hardly there,
half-formed and blurry in the shifting mist.
Like sleep, precipitation clouds the air
with fuzzy dreams and silence. I resist
the melancholy, choosing to believe
that clarity is understood, not seen.
Inside my son is playing games, one sleeve
pushed up, the other drooping in between
his fingers as I watch him laugh and frown.
The tv sprinkles light against his skin,
as indistinct as any fog while down
the hall his brother tunes his violin,
its notes as insubstantial as this day
when growing up still feels so far away.
Every two years my younger son must go to the hospital for tests. Today, we drove down to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and I am tired and happy, because he is fine. His echocardiogram, EKG, and stress test show that his repaired congenital heart defect is completely stable. All that’s left from the terror of his first few months is a minor heart murmur. Every other year I worry (so far, needlessly). And this year, when we came home, we discovered that one of the colleges to which he’d applied accepted him for autumn of 2015.
Everything feels strange.
Today’s high temperature was 70F—at the end of November. Spring has sprung at the tail end of autumn, but we know that there is snow coming for Wednesday. What does that mean? Probably nothing, but my brain keeps trying to create patterns from random events, like a broken clock still chiming the noon hour, long since past.
Several years ago I wrote a poem that feels exactly like today: Iridescence. It was published in my sonnet collection: Cloud Studies (you can read the entire collection for free, or listen to the delightful Nic Sebastian read them to you, right here).
You are not to blame. We separate.
We jump in the river, flailing, sink along
the slippery shore. Angels come too late.
Iridescence decorates the wrong
sky. I close my eyes against the sting
of antiseptic. Plastic tubing smells
forever. We pretend that everything
will be all right. His brother gathers shells
as though the sound of water matters. I
cry when no one knows. My darling son,
can you see the rainbows in the sky?
Perhaps. I know the morphine has not run
its course. The river beckons. I will keep
your dreams safe, my little boy. Just sleep.
Today you said, sometimes it snows in April,
and I remembered listening to that song,
the sadness I could not forget, the spill
of grief I didn’t understand so long
ago. Twenty-three years later snow
has decorated every bloom outside.
Beneath the nimbostratus, flowers show
their strength: they bend but do not break. Inside
I contemplate the view and think, the best
clichés survive because they’re true. But still,
I know that sorrow lingers, often dressed
in subterfuge, fooling all until
one day the snowflakes bury everything
in anguish like a funeral in spring.
I’m posting this today in honor of the crazy nor’easter that’s socking Pennsylvania today. Hang in there everyone.
This is one of my cloud sonnets, originally published in Cloud Studies — a sonnet sequence, by Whale Sound Audio Chapbooks. If you want to hear something that will knock your socks off, go to the original link and listen to Nic Sebastian read the poem.
If you’d like a paper copy, click here to buy one. It’s free to download as a .pdf, audio MP3, and various e-reader formats.
The awesome photo is thanks to Harald Edens. He graciously allowed me to use the photo in my chapbook.
Kelli Russell Agodon started this nifty project where a bunch of poetry bloggers get together and give away poetry books for National Poetry Month! The idea was so cool I decided to participate.
How this works:
1. I’m giving away two books. If you want to win these books, please leave a comment on this post with a link back to your blog/website OR leave your email address (if you don’t have a blog/website). The giveaway runs from now until April 30. On May 1, 2, or 3, I will be randomly drawing one name from the list of people who commented and that person will be the winner! I will mail two poetry books to you for free!
Here are the two books I’m giving away:
Cloud Studies – a sonnet sequence by Christine Klocek-Lim (yeah, that’s me), published by Whale Sound Audio Chapbooks. Why this book? Because Kelli says to give away one favorite book of poems, and then give away one of your own. This book is available free on the internet, but Whale Sound also published a print version and I’d like to give someone the opportunity to hold that in their hands. It’s a book of sonnets. If you’d like to read Nic’s process notes about my chapbook (she’s the editor/publisher), click here.
2. A little note about myself: I’m a poet. I’m really terrible when it comes to writing about myself, so no clever bio here. I’d love to say that I’ve worked in the circus, been a professional surfer, or lived on the Appalachian trail for a year with no shelter, but alas, I’ve done none of those things because I’m afraid of heights, hate to swim, and there is no way I’m going to live in the woods with no access to a porcelain tub for longer than one night. However, I have been a technical writer, an editor, a proofreader, and a novelist. I’ve won a few awards and had some stuff published a few places. If you’re really curious, click here for my bio and here for my list of publications.
“The goal is to share our favorite poets with others as well as to visit different blogs and see who others are reading. There is also a benefit for those who participate as it will bring people to your blog and share your work and/or the work of a favorite poet with them.”
Nic Sebastian recently did a guest-blogger stint at the Best American Poetry blog. All of her posts are fantastic, but of particular interest to me is the one she wrote about audio chapbooks. Obviously, this idea is near and dear to my heart since Nic, editor of Whale Sound, recently published my sonnet sequence (Cloud Studies) as an audio chapbook, but in this blog post, she also discusses why it’s a good idea to try something new with poetry chaps. How do you like your poetry served? is the question she has been asking herself and many others. The answers are varied, but one of them, audio, keeps popping up again and again at the top of the list. To read more, go check out her essay:
poetry out loud: audio chapbooks and other methods of poetry delivery [by Nic Sebastian] at Best American Poetry.
Lest you think all that Nic does is publish other people’s poetry at Whale Sound, please to be clicking through to see her brand new poetry collection: Forever Will End On Thursday. Fantastic work Nic!
I’m thrilled to announce that Whale Sound has published my collection of sonnets, Cloud Studies, as its third audio chapbook.
Working with Nic Sebastian was incredibly rewarding. She is an excellent editor and a sublime reader.
read Nic’s Process Notes here
read Christine’s Process Notes here
You can enjoy Cloud Studies in a number of different ways, thanks to Nic’s dedication to providing poetry in as many forms as there are readers. Here’s what she had to say about it:
Audio Chapbooks Evolution
And there’s so much new with the audio chapbook format!
Whale Sound Audio Chapbooks is offering some new options to the poetry consumer with the publication of Cloud Studies. The central question for the poetry consumer we have been asking as a publisher remains unchanged: How do you like your poetry served?
With this edition we’ve expanded the menu of options. As with previous audio chapbooks, you can:
1. Read each poem online as an individual post
2. Listen to each poem online as an individual unit
3. Download a free PDF of the whole chapbook
4. Download a free MP3 audio file of the whole chapbook
What’s new this time around? You can also: