A Visit to the Attic


She sweeps the dust
    from the lid of the steamer trunk
    with the hem of her apron,
    murmuring a fervent prayer
    to the One who called her here.

A single turn of the key in the lock,
    and from the sacred vessel she lifts a cloak
    wrapped in skins of animals she has
    never seen and cannot name;
    she fingers a rusty stain.

“What does it matter,” she wonders,
    “if the truth is never known?
    I bear its residue in my blood and bone,
    and no infernal breeze can drive it away.”

Satisfied, she wraps the cloak
    within the redolent skins again,
    sings an old but comforting hymn—
    There is a balm in Gilead
    to make the wounded whole
    and dances down the stairs.

© 2011 by Magical Mystical Teacher

More The Sunday Whirl #19 here
More Monday Poetry Train Revisited #136 here
More The Poetry Pantry #64 here

Posted on August 28, 2011, in Monday Poetry Train Revisited, my poetry, The Poetry Pantry, The Sunday Whirl. Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. You are living up to the ‘Mystical’ name in your blog’s title. This is very, very good. It sounds like the first chapter of a book.

  2. I agree with Mike. You could continue this. I want to know what happens.

  3. This is wonderful…I love your use of redolent. Your narrator has depth and strength, she evokes admiration in me. Well wordled!

  4. That is pretty mystical. The great, specific imagery makes it even more mystical.

  5. This is wonderful and had me entranced. Full of rich imagery I loved it, especially….
    “What does it matter,” she wonders,
    “if the truth is never known?
    I bear its residue in my blood and bone,
    and no infernal breeze can drive it away.”

  6. You have carved this poem pictorially with lifelike images coming to mind!! It seems a part of a larger picture; waiting for more!!

  7. “What does it matter,” she wonders,
    “if the truth is never known?
    It sounds as if this elderly lady lost her virginity whilst wearing that cloak, or somehow she got blood on it for some reason. Blood appears like rust with age. hmmm
    Yes, deep plot, I’d like to know more about her story too. a lovely write and very enjoyable read.

  8. Fantastic poem and so atmospheric, you’re not quite sure what’s going on and it’s all described so vividly. Great ending too, I also want to learn more about this character.

  9. I clicked “Like” but it’s much more than that! Thank you for your poem.

  10. Intriguing. The suspense draws the reader in. More please! 🙂

  11. A magical write. I would love to know more of her.


  12. More, please! You can’t just write a setup like that and toss it into a virtual room full of writers; we’ll all be spinning our own stories from it. 😉

    Wonderful poem that deserves to be expanded into a story or even a novel.

    • magicalmysticalteacher

      Please DO spin your own story! I’m finding it quit baffling that there are so many people clamoring for more, when it seems to me that the poem is resolved by the protagonist’s dancing down the stairs. But what do I know?

  13. It’s that second stanza – the cloak with the rusty stain, the nameless animal skins, the truth that’s never articulated. All of those elements are what set us abuzz with comments.

    The poem is resolved, but the story behind the poem is begging to be told. 🙂

  14. Your title pulled me in immediately. I have always loved attics since I was a child. They are places of mystery and amazing discoveries. And there is plenty of mystery in this poem.

    And I love that she sang the hymn “There is a balm in Gilead.” Nice detail.

  15. A lovely read. I like how just holding the cloak seems to give the speaker what she needs, just a reminder of what she has within her. And “dances down the stairs” is such a good ending.


  16. …i love this place… so much richness in the dust….

Please 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.