Read Poem: Reflections on Ties That Bind by Jan Little

If marriage offered a narrow tether like Denmark’s attachment to Europe,
I could have conformed that much to a husband’s wants
And gladly given all that connected me to him along that shared side,
Yet still have space to feel whole within myself
With time alone to welcome sunrises.

But in an era of coupledom,
Children, churches, friends appear as too tight enclosures
Like that of landlocked Poland vulnerable in its total connection to others.
The need for time to self-define would have pulled at those seams
I chose to sew myself into

—So, torn between need to soar with dragonflies
Or serve those who had depended on me, would leave me
Only ever be a halfling to them and to me.
And I would self-bind myself to a tree of love and know that
That to break even one branch to see the sunset
Directly and with no filter would break a dear heart.

Always my need to meander and to become
A nomadic jig-sawed raft, like Ireland, separated just enough
Would cause wars over custodial privileges—But after a while,
Loneliness would lead me to dock ports of serial monogamies
Until the yen to roam again arrived to leave
Those voices waking me from seaside talks with mermaids.

Yet love’s allure—to matter most to another—
To have another matter most to me–
Still calls to me as Penelope’s steadfastness
Did to Odysseus—
Like him, I could happily winter in love’s arms
With freedom to sail in spring’s seas.

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This entry was posted in 2018 Poetry, poem, poet, poetry, Poetry Festival and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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