Sunday, October 11, 2020

Poem: Cathedral Caverns

It’s been a little over two weeks since my poetry collection released! *throws confetti* *cat tries to eat confetti* *chaos ensues* Now, I’m actually having a hard time figuring out which poems I want to share on the blog. I’m not sure why. It just happens sometimes, I guess.

As I was thinking about the poems I’ve written this year, I realized I hadn’t written much about what it’s like to live in the American south. I thought about some of the places my dad and I have visited lately, and the Cathedral Caverns came to mind.

Before we went, I was really skeptical. I mean, I’d seen Carlsbad Caverns before, a massive expanse of caves in New Mexico. I’d seen some rather disappointing lava tubes on the Big Island of Hawaii, and the sandstone caves carved out of the rock beneath Nottingham Castle. When we were kids, my dad used to take my brother and I exploring in the amazing lava tubes by Mount St. Helens. What could Alabama possibly have to offer?

The answer: a lot, at least when it comes to caves, hiking trails, and the history of space exploration. Cathedral Caverns actually did remind me of some of the European cathedrals, and it was a pleasure to visit. I had almost forgotten how much I enjoy caves.


Photo credit: Michael T. Klein


Cathedral Caverns

The way I remember the difference
between this word and that
is by word play—
stalactites cling tight to the ceiling,
and stalagmites act like little mines on the floor,
Though I recently heard they might one day reach higher up.

I don’t recall the drip, drip
of water here so much as the murmur
of the creek below.
take lighter footsteps
and don’t speak louder
than a whisper
can you hear it?

After we turn around the column
aptly named Goliath and larger than my house,
past the heard of stone elephants
tromping through the water,
we reach the Stalactite Forest,
and I am stunned
by the way this one
looks like the jellyfish
carved into ice in Sweden,
or how that one resembles
a turtle, a Viking, an eagle,
all stone that would make
the dwarves of Erebor gape.

How I wish I could swim
to the top, but I am stuck to the floor,
pinned by gravity and soon—
total darkness.

Breathe in—
can you see it?
Breathe out—
blink and behold
the starlight
that illuminates
the walls like a three-D model.

Breathe in—
the dark.
I can’t see my hand
in front of my face.
But it’s not the dark I fear,
nor the winter shelter for the bats,
nor even the thought
of being alone.

I am not afraid today,
though I know this tour
is nothing like the great escapades
of Verne or Tolkien,
but I relish the moment
and breath out as the lights come back on.



Don’t forget to check out Dandelion Symphony, my poetry collection. If you’ve already read it, if you could post a review on your favorite site (Goodreads, Amazon, and/or Barnes & Noble), I would appreciate it a lot!

Let’s chat! What’s your take on caves? Do you have a favorite?


Similar poems: Down South (Audio), Ode to Winter (Video), Cathedral

No comments:

Post a Comment