Words Can’t Describe (12) By Jan Cordele


Before we moved in together, Edna Merle and I spent many a longing night talking on the telephone and exchanging e-mails. There were many miles separating us physically. We were never alone, however, as we had already become tied together emotionally and spiritually. The connection was as real as if we were holding hands. I told her to be careful because she was holding my heart.

She emerged from her years behind bars with a spirit that, to me, was unbelievable. She took every restriction heaped upon her and turned it into a positive. For example, her time in prison had given her the opportunity to read 1,000 books, most of them classics, and this had expanded her mind. She told me this like she was describing a visit to the library.

Yet I still could not understand how she had survived the confinement. So I wrote her this poem:

Phoenix Rising

Shake the ashes from your eyes
Blow its remnants from your nostrils
and breathe the first breath of your new life
Feel the fresh blood in your lungs, in your heart,
in your limbs, in your mind
Unfold your wings
to let the dead embers fall away.
Stretch towards the light for its plentiful strength
There is a new dawn ahead
Kick the old memories and pain aside
Stomp the cold ashes into the earth
and look towards the sky
Let the wind fill your wings and cleanse your soul
Rise up
Up from the cold ashes
Rise

Her new-found freedom inspired me. Any bitterness was lacking in her being. It was if she had simply gone into another room to get a book or a snack and emerged 14 years later without a trace of sorrow. She is always looking forward. Her incredible outlook on life inspired me to write another poem:

Edna Unbound

Edna unbound

is something to see

Flexing her muscles

her smiley muscles

Opening her eyes

her eyes to the soul

Tearing into life

like it was a Varsity chili dog

with onions

Edna unbound

is a miracle unfolding

Moving tenderly

at the speed of light

Soaring into the stars

on her wings of love

Reaching out for another soul

like it was a Varsity FO

with everything

In one late-night e-mail she told me how much she loved these poems. And then she wrote, “Beyond any words, love is larger and more exquisitely attuned to some intangible place inside of me. … How then are words at all appropriate?  There are none on this side of Heaven.”

Edna Merle was right. Words can’t begin to describe the human emotion of love. How can we define it? Why would we want to define it? It is outside of our pathetic understanding of who and what we really are. Love is not something you can turn on or off at the flick of a switch. It just is. So I had no choice but to accept the fact that Edna Merle and I were somehow destined to be together. Since we had first met all those years ago, when she was a kid of 11 and I a mature, or so I thought at the time, 17, we had been hurtling towards each other at the speed of starlight. Was it God’s plan or simply the fate of two human beings?

These questions once again had me writing a poem:

You Are Who You Are Supposed To Be

You are who you are supposed to be

a singer

a dreamer

a dancer

You have always been who you have become

a storyteller

a sunshine seeker

a believer

You will become who you are meant to be

a visionary

a partner

a lover

You are who you are supposed to be

We are writers undertaking a fruitless task: to somehow portray ourselves and others in words, words that cannot identify what is truly profound about our existence on this planet. But we are so dumb that we simply have to keep on trying. Edna Merle taught me that this is the only way to live.

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Posted on October 13, 2010, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I am so amazed at your stories. I’m tranfixed as I read them. I’ll be disappointed if you don’t put this into book form. Beautiful story that needs to be shared.

    your always friend, Patty Dorsey Murphy

  2. Every time I read some of your story, I’m reminded of the change in one’s heart when love comes to stay! Please get your story into book form for those who have “lived” this life with you both!
    xox Patty

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