Christine Austin Cole

Cleansed - Poem by Christine Austin Cole

I only half heard the continuous splash
Of the water falling wearily into the tub
From the far away, invisible, silver faucet.
(some distant part of me, half thought that
it sounded exactly as things do in dreams)
And I barely felt the water warming then
As it closed in around me, cradling me…
I was too busy contemplating how heavy
The book had suddenly become in my hands.
Heavy it was with voices, countless voices,
Begging, each of them, to be heard -
The New American Poets of the 90’s
Were crying out.

Wet handed, I flipped from page to page
To hear little girl Molly whisper from the chair
Followed by the sound of Li-Young’s cleaver
Contemptuously splitting her poem in two.
Voice for voice, page by page
I fell to them – listening to the echoes
Of long ago and yesterday and never-will-be.
It was Richard, I think, who first sounded like me.
(“not at all by design had I lingered”
there, half expecting the tub to overflow)
And when Richard told me that he may disappear
If he simply closed his eyes, I closed mine
To see if I would.

But it wasn’t until glorious page one fifty one
That I found Jonathan and fell madly in love
As he first rambled simple to profound
Before turning profound to something obvious.
I wondered if others had been able to hear him
Amongst the eighty nine other insistent voices
Like Norman, Linda and especially Beckian
(who used lovely half speak to smash clouds
Open like fruit, bringing finally then the rain)
Deciding it didn’t matter – I drew myself up
And stepped out of the tub, renewed.
I smiled at my reflection, knowing exactly
What I must do.

Comments about Cleansed by Christine Austin Cole

  • (5/20/2009 12:59:00 AM)

    'As he first rambled simple to profound
    Before turning profound to something obvious.'

    Something the poem itself seems to mirror in a very creative and intimate way.

    Your use of 'Plain style' (in your poems) is expert and always entertaining. My guess would be you have studied under current-day poets-of-renown.
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  • (9/7/2008 12:37:00 AM)

    “I closed mine
    To see if I would”

    Poem has actually peaked here—your ability to wed to disparate streams of thought in a monolithic whole is just awesome. Poem remained aridly drenched all the way through
    (Report) Reply

  • Anthony Edmond John (7/25/2008 6:32:00 AM)

    I love this one keep it up...
    Anthony Edmond John
    (Report) Reply

  • (7/6/2008 7:21:00 AM)

    An excellent choice of title! (Report) Reply

  • (4/26/2008 2:18:00 PM)

    I have bathed my soul awhile in your words and leave rewarded and refreshed.... (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: poem, water, girl, silver, rain, smile, dream

Poem Submitted: Sunday, May 29, 2005

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