watching a poem – the writing of Phibby Venable

One red bird morning too bright for melancholy
all hard things fell away

For several years, it has been my honor and privilege to observe, and enjoy, the daily postings of Phibby Venable from afar. Within her writing, I find a congenial hospitality, and a gentle invitation to explore one’s interior castle through the vehicle of the senses.

I was a child that spoke very little, so when I entered school, I had difficulty with verbal communication. The teacher discovered, however, that I was a quick study with spelling and words. The first time she read the class poetry, I was captivated. I loved the way the rhymes ended each line, as though they were partners. The sound in my mind was like music, and beats came naturally to me in a singsong that excited my senses. By twelve, I was writing poetry daily to hear the magic of the sounds. –Phibby Venable

The brief mention of a piece of stone anchors her next poem (a recent favorite of mine) with a curious poignancy:

November in the Blue Ridge Mountains (Joe Mancuso)

November in the Blue Ridge Mountains (Joe Mancuso)

Walking Dark

The mountain in a pink sweater
of long sleeves drape dusk,
and then it is night
I wear a gray jacket, and smooth a sharp flint
between my fingers
The sky is dark and free from stars
The stars have gathered across the world
and I am invisible on a hard path
I remain in my homeland with heavy feet
I choose the little luxury of my own fate
The wind blows passing remarks through the trees
I am colorless now except for my eyes
They are busy watching a poem by the trail
Against my will I lean wearily
to lift it piece by piece
shove it into my jacket
where the sharp flint
makes it real.

I must admit, I’ve been holding an invisible rock, like a thorn in my pocket, since I read that poem.

Below is another recent release from Phibby’s page:

Ask Me Anything in the Dark

Ask me anything in the dark
when I have slanted toward drowsiness
my lips still joyful, my words loosening
into the murmur of gentle birds
I have a kind escape hiddenphibby
in the softness of this pillow
I am drifting in a warm way toward dreams
ask me anything in the dark,
but if it rains, ask nothing
I will be lost in the steady beat
of its lone island sound
my promises too weak with sleep

Several of Phibby’s books are available on Amazon, including her latest chapbook, Uncertain Ships. Phibby Venable’s work has been published in 2River, Poetrybay, Southern Ocean Review, Sow’s Ear, Voices, the Appalachian Journal and various other national and international magazines.

–posted by Jillian Parker

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4 thoughts on “watching a poem – the writing of Phibby Venable

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