Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Rachel Hadas: Fingernails

Vanessa Redgrave thought whatever
separates life and death
is tiny as the sliver of a fingernail.
She said this not in mourning nor acceptance
but matter-of-factly.  The occasion
was the tenth anniversary of her daughter’s death.
The topic was mortality.
 
Fingernail.  I remembered Hopkins’s “Moonrise”:
I awoke in the midsummer not-to-call night, 
    in the white and the walk of the morning,
The moon, dwindled and thinned to the fringe 
    of a fingernail held to the candle
Of paring of paradisiacal fruit…
 
A mother’s thoughts about the loss of her daughter
rendezvoused with a poetic fragment
in a kind of moonlit tryst, a meeting halfway
between nowhere and everywhere,
as the mind is everywhere and nowhere.
Grief slides into an ache that spreads and loops
into the rhythm of our mortal days:
fears, regrets, joys, hopes;
precarious contingencies;
that tiny sliver praise.
 
     -
 
      

Copyright 2020 Rachel Hadas. First published in Hopkins Review Spring/Summer 2020. Included in Vox Populi by permission of the author.

Rachel Hadas’s many books include Questions in the Vestibule and Poems for Camilla. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and the O. B. Hardison Poetry Prize, among other honors. Hadas is Board of Governors Professor of English at Rutgers University–Newark. 

2 comments on “Rachel Hadas: Fingernails

  1. Barbara Huntington
    May 19, 2021

    And there is grief again.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Daniel Becker
    May 19, 2021

    at the very least, the very least, this poem will lead me back to Hopkins. thank you

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Information

This entry was posted on May 19, 2021 by in Opinion Leaders, Poetry, spirituality and tagged , , , , .

Enter your email address to follow Vox Populi and receive new posts by email.

Join 12,087 other followers

Blog Stats

  • 4,295,574 hits

Archives

%d bloggers like this: