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To Skin

24 Nov

Happy Thanksgiving to our American neighbors!

In my search for a poem of gratitude today, I came across “To Skin” (which I wrote some years ago but don’t believe I ever made public—at least not here). It reminds us of one thing we have to be grateful for which, though all around us, is easy to take for granted.

michelangelo-71282_640

Graphic from Pixabay.com

To Skin

Here’s to you
millimeter-thin layer cake
dermis, epidermis, hypodermis
dyed in the color of my race.

So tidily you enfold
crimson river of blood
yellow fat, pink muscle
grey bone, palette of reds—
burgundy liver to scarlet lung.

Body-sized organ of translucent turf
you possess an intelligence
that knows the difference
between lips and soles
lids and ears,
multi-tasks the switchboard
of smooth and rough, blazing and frigid
thrill and ouch, burn and itch.

Impervious to water
soft armor against malevolent
microbe and virus
yet vulnerable,
you blush
under sun and wind
bleed when cut
shrivel and distort when burned
swell, sweat, weep, toughen
discolor and scar.
Plump and smooth when new
you age into crepe, wrinkles, folds
jowls, doubles, triples and aprons
but still you blanket and protect.

So here’s to you
my lifetime-guaranteed
layer of cling-wrap,
boundary
and, till I reach eternity,
outline of my dust-to-dust
identity.

© 2016 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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PF-2This post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Carol at Carols Corner.

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27 Comments

Posted by on November 24, 2016 in Nature, Objects, People, Poetry Friday

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

27 responses to “To Skin

  1. carwilc

    November 25, 2016 at 7:06 am

    So much to love in this poem!!!! Your use of color in the first stanza, the dichotomies in the second, the verbs in the third, and the cling wrap metaphor in the final stanza. Definitely one of those where I walk away wishing I could write like this!

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Violet Nesdoly

      November 25, 2016 at 8:57 pm

      Aw, thanks, Carol! You picked up so much. I love readers like you!

      Like

       
  2. lindabaie

    November 25, 2016 at 7:18 am

    Those tiny details in this ode made me realize how much it does, Violet. Your tribute will cause my gratitude as I put the needed lotion on “my lifetime-guaranteed/layer of cling-wrap”.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Violet Nesdoly

      November 25, 2016 at 9:59 am

      Thanks, Linda! And yes, we must coddle this marvellous organ mustn’t we? (I wonder how many gallons of lotion I’ve slathered on my skin over the years!)

      >

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  3. maryleehahn

    November 25, 2016 at 9:07 am

    I love the line Linda quoted, and also this: “Body-sized organ of translucent turf.” Thanks for making me thankful for something I take so for granted!!

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Violet Nesdoly

      November 25, 2016 at 10:01 am

      Thanks, Mary-Lee! Speaking of taking things for granted, every organ is in the running! When I took a course on human physiology, years ago before I started my medical transcription business, I was awed by the design of our bodies.

      >

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  4. Michelle Heidenrich Barnes

    November 25, 2016 at 9:20 am

    You’ve given me new appreciation for my cling-wrap, Violet. Long overdue, in fact. Thanks for the Thanksgiving wishes, too. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Violet Nesdoly

      November 25, 2016 at 10:04 am

      Thanks so much, Michelle! Re Thanksgiving feasts – It’s nice to know that skin stretches so beautifully across full tummies, isn’t it? And then, after a few days of eating sobriety, it snugs up again (until its elasticity passes its best-before date, of course).

      >

      Liked by 1 person

       
  5. Jane the Raincity Librarian

    November 25, 2016 at 10:08 am

    I grew up with terrible acne, so my skin and I have had a pretty rocky relationship over the years, but I think we’ve finally come to an uneasy truce now that I’ve reached my thirties, and my skin is looking towards wrinkles! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Violet Nesdoly

      November 25, 2016 at 11:23 am

      Thanks, Jane! Acne is tough, especially because it comes at such a formative time in life. Psoriasis is another tough one (I’m gaining sympathy for that condition from some TV ads that have been playing lately). It makes one appreciate comfortable (though imperfect) skin all the more.

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  6. Tabatha

    November 25, 2016 at 4:59 pm

    Thanks for the good wishes and the wonderful poem, Violet! We really can’t say enough about our skin, can we? So useful, so complex!

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Violet Nesdoly

      November 25, 2016 at 8:58 pm

      Thanks, Tabatha! Yes, skin is indeed a marvel. When writing this, I tried to imagine life without it. Hard to do!

      Like

       
  7. haitiruth

    November 26, 2016 at 4:42 am

    So good! Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Violet Nesdoly

      November 26, 2016 at 8:04 am

      Thanks, Ruth! Hope your skin enjoys the 31 C that google tells me is Haiti’s temp today.

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  8. Linda Mitchell

    November 26, 2016 at 6:27 am

    Oh, my goodness. This is brilliant! Wonderful ode….already shared with my tweeps. Makes me feel like writing an ode….but you’ve taken the best subject! Bravo.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Violet Nesdoly

      November 26, 2016 at 8:16 am

      Thank you, Linda! Much appreciate you sharing with your tweeps too. As for an ode, just pick any subject. You’ll be surprised what will occur to you with a little digging. They’re fun to write. I like Neruda’s odes (don’t we all!). Here’s a page with links to several: http://motherbird.com/pablo.htm

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  9. mbhmaine

    November 26, 2016 at 9:35 am

    Wow, Violet! This is simply wonderful. There is so much to love from start to finish. I’m thankful for poems that help me see things in new ways–this is certainly one of them! Thank you for sharing!

    Like

     
    • Violet Nesdoly

      November 26, 2016 at 10:00 am

      Thanks so much, Holly! I think odes push one to look hard and long… and there are always surprises in what one finds.

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  10. Heidi Mordhorst

    November 27, 2016 at 5:07 am

    Surely one of your best, one of our best, one of the THE best parts of our miracle bodies. I’ll tell you, though–I thought it was going to be about race with all its challenges.

    Oh wait–it IS about race, and how there isn’t really any fundamental difference. Skin is skin.

    Like

     
    • Violet Nesdoly

      November 27, 2016 at 6:00 am

      Thanks, Heidi! You’e an astute reader as always. As we all know, colour is only skin-deep (although reactions to skin colour have dyed many a spirit—sadly!)

      >

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  11. Brenda Davis Harsham

    November 27, 2016 at 5:25 am

    Great ode to a most important organ. I love your use of color throughout. And your focus on function as mattering more.

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    • Violet Nesdoly

      November 27, 2016 at 5:48 am

      Thank you, Brenda. Use of interior colour was an interesting aspect. Of course I have never seen inside my own body and viewed the organs. So when writing this I remember hearkening back to the old encyclopedia pictures of the human body with all their colourful organs that I studied as a kid.

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      Liked by 1 person

       
      • Brenda Davis Harsham

        November 27, 2016 at 5:55 am

        It brought those same images back to me when I read it — so you communicated that most effectively. You made the body a vibrant and multi-colorful place — a reminder that we have more colors in common than just the color of our skin or hair.

        Like

         
  12. Myra GB

    November 29, 2016 at 2:06 am

    Thank you for this poem, Violet – the imagery is stunning.

    Like

     
  13. sarahtuttle

    November 29, 2016 at 11:18 am

    Beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

     

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