Ilania Abileah

Sharon H. Nelson - Poem

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From the collection entitled: This Flesh These Words.  2002.  Publisher: Ekstasis Editions, Victoria, B.C. Canada

Book Cover: This Flesh These Words
By: Sharon H. Nelson

How To Read A Poem

by Sharon H. Nelson

copyright Sharon H. Nelson



like a cello

is an instrument


from hand to hand,

from body to body,

marked with use;

fingers leave

their marks on wood,

a particular gloss,

an elegant sheen,

a wearing thin

where bodies rub

against each other

over years,

through centuries.

The mind,

flexible as catgut,

applies energy

to the tension in a string

as both are stretched

towards resonance,

bodies combined

by each stroke of a bow,

each finger's touch;

cello and cellist paired

to voice

a text.


We stretch ourselves

to the body of language,

with the body of language;

each separate text

a particular notation

in search of voice,

in search of resonance,

each sound a choice

between warmth and conflagration.


When your eyes touch

the body of a text,

touch gently,

move your mouth

with gentleness,

your tongue lightly

on this body,

another incarnation

of the same old and battered body

poets struggle

to restring,



Without respect

and cherishing

no instrument

is kept


Colours and dimensions of the artwork may be slightly different from the original.