Wicking tears from root-spilled cups
Widow, turn: Friends wait.
I was surprised a widow showed up in this Haiku for the last week’s Five of Cups prompt.
But certainly she belongs there. The indigo tears of the heart send us down a river of collective griefs and abandonments beyond our control in order to heal. What might the cloaked griever suffer, looking down at her changed life circumstances or real or perceived losses? A loved one crossing over? A disagreement? A change in fortune or shelter? A parting of ways with a friend? An unalterable shift in the health of a parent?
Only the weeper knows the timeline for her sorrow to run its course.
But when she turns to place her feet on the path again, she’ll discover two cups, unmarred, unspilled, standing upright. They were there all along.
When the widow showed up on my page, so did the memory of Gerald Stern reading aloud to us years ago during graduate Williams Carlos Williams/Stevens seminar, “The Widow’s Lament in Springtime:”
Sorrow is my own yard…
with such exquisite imagery of flowering plumtree and blossoming cherry branches.
Today’s prompt is for the Six of Cups, a card depicted in the Rider Waite Smith deck as two youngsters. The one friend, presumably male, leans down to offer a girl a bouquet of flowers in a tall chalice. I think of this card as representing innocent, heart-linked love between friends, courtship before it knows itself as courtship–the sort of courtship mature forever friends indulge in, free to do so, because of bonds of trust and play in place.
Scan back over your childhood until you find the memory of the very first friend you ever made. Write about a time you bristled with elation and joy to give something to your friend. What did you give? (Gifts can be physical, as in the flower example in the Tarot card, or less tactile, such as a compliment, or the gift of one’s heart.)
Or write about a time when you received something from a friend. Describe the moment, the object given, and the setting. Recount the conversation, the emotions, and the body’s physical experience of giving and accepting a gift.
You may discover near-misses, times when you longed to give or receive something, but something stood in the way of the exchange. Write about what blocked the exchange. Rewrite the scene to transpire as you wish it had gone down.
To extend the exercise, make a list of current friendships or friendships over the arc of your lifetime and star the ones in which you continue to experience this kind of heart-centered innocent exchange of love. Write about the current friendships bringing you the most joy, choosing a specific incident or exchange to focus on for your writing.
Feel free to respond in comments here or to join the conversation at Tarot Tuesday’s Facebook page to share your word or image response.
Photos are by my poetry movie collaborator Robyn Beattie.