Six Knots Tied on Pulpit Rock – Matt Kiell


(A Painter Observes…Then Paints)

1) What is this isolation
That he feels? Alone
He sits upon this rock
And conducts communion
With song birds perched
On thorny branches
Singing plaintive songs
That carry past the trees.

2) What is this isolation
That he alone feels?
Are these clouds a portent
Predicting life’s harsh storms?

 3) What is this? Isolation,
Yes. He feels alone, abandoned
Lost on a breeze
That yet may lift him away
To a safer place.

 4) Does he question every breath,
Every motion, every thought?
Is this really isolation?
Though he feels alone, abandoned
Tossed by a breeze
That may cast him down
Onto a rocky shore,
He yet has song birds perched
On rich green branches
Singing hopeful songs
That soar beyond the trees.

 5) Are these clouds a comfort
Protection from life’s harsh rays,
From what is, from this isolation
That he feels…this abandonment?
Can song birds perched 
On deep green branches
Sing soothing songs
That might carry him away?

6) And what might I do for this isolation
That he feels? Alone
I sit upon this rock and
Create a cloud, a branch, a somber figure,
A rocky shore, and songbirds
That may lift him to a sweeter place.

 M. Kiell

2 thoughts on “Six Knots Tied on Pulpit Rock – Matt Kiell

  1. Thank you, Brenda.

    I meant to note a few weeks back, when Marjorie re-posted the poem, how it came about. I wrote it as a poetic exercise to jumpstart the creative batteries while writing the novel; the work is written in the voice of the character Saskia, the artist, observing the grieving protagonist, Jonah.

    I intended it as an independent piece – just a spark. However, once I wrote it, I realized the poem fit into the novel and solved an important problem I was having with the story – how Saskia and Jonah would formally meet. It became the poetical centerpiece of the chapter “The Reading,” which was my homage to the annual poetry readings Marjorie organized and hosted 4 or 5 times, in particular those held after dinner in the Monhegan House diningroom.

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