Sunday, November 13, 2011


by Samantha Ledger

The compass needle fails         not. It spins & settles.
                                                    - Carolyn Srygley-Moore
It reminds me of a silver engraved compass,
something showing a destination
beyond magnetic poles
but to answers of the spirit,
divinity resting in the tip
of its needle.

Gravity has pulled down spirits
heavily not heavenly      for too long,
so bones become weary with the effort of standing
walking even a few steps becomes impossible.

Pavements have become stained
unclear, marked with filthy discarded elements
of life being lived cheaply,
disposable for its lack of value
disregarded in an instantaneous exhalation of a breath

I am still breathing
air clean or not,
                I will not cease in my exclamation of life
it is never a full period despite the commas that
cry for me to pause in reflection,
semi colons are null and void
so ceasing to repeat or reflect
needing to be known.

I have shown myself now
fully exposed to the detriment and detritus of life,
let it have its way
for being in it
                being in it is surely is
less a burden than watching you all live
through (un)rose tinted glasses,
I refuse to envy
but partake despite consequence.

                I may be weak or of failure’s own design
but I can remark with pride

                I lived
despite it all
                I lived
and live eternally in the promise.


Sometimes the compass points in the right direction, telling us that we are indeed going toward our goals. Clear as morning light ushering in a cloudless day, luminous as a full moon's glow, we inhale that destination; buoyant, we know where we where we are going. And then, other times, the spinning needle stops, and either we are vertical, or we are grounded; and such gravity comes to all of us.

Samantha Ledger's elegant piece, Air, explores the humanness of impediment and challenge; indeed, as she says, "so bones become weary with the effort of standing/walking even a few steps becomes impossible." The coarseness of brutal, harsh lives lived all around crowds the soaring spirit, yet here Ledger's language shines, simple and unadorned: "I am still breathing/air clean or not,/I will not cease in my exclamation of life…" Her work is soft and kind, despite its recognition, in full measure, of life's tribulations.

As she moves in spare, grace-filled words through the stages of despair and disappointment, she steps over, and on, eschewing the temptation to pretend that realities are other than hard lessons; as she states, clear-eyed, "I may be weak or of failure's own design/but I can remark with pride/I lived…“

Ultimately, breathing through Ledger's wonderful poem, the close is the quiet, central beauty of the entire piece. Early on, she asserts, in finding her spiritual compass, "divinity (rests) in the tip/ of its needle." Being thus vertical, she affirms the joyful soul, the one who knows that the everlasting gift of bravery and self-awareness is to "live eternally in the promise.“ 

Somoza, Jr.
Man, as we are told by untiring optimists, is made of the same particles that fuel the stars in their endless pulsation and scintillation. Ledger opens herself up with an artistic iteration that is as life-affirming and art-enhancing as the restless celestial wonders themselves. 

The first stanza at once contextualizes the necessity of man’s faith – in the Self, both corporeal and Higher - “…destination/ beyond magnetic poles/ but to answers of the spirit,/ divinity resting in the tip/ of its needle.” - with the tip of the compass needle in its veritable promptings, bearing most of the gravitas of the piece.

Or, pathos, when she laments in the second and third stanza – “of life being lived cheaply,/ disposable for its lack of value/ disregarded in an instantaneous exhalation of a breath”

So much has been said about how deplorable life has become for many of us, yet Ledger’s Dickinsonian language makes it seemingly easy to breathe it all in so we can look at it with a methodical eye as we compartmentalize it somewhere in our layered existence.

Then she springs back with an assurance that she is well and breathing vis-a-vis life’s ugly side and all that which appertains to the wretchedness of realities as unbridled negativism, etc.

                       I may be weak or of failure’s own design
                       but I can remark with pride

This poem for the most part is an existentialist paean for the Self – as being the one last guy standing in the face of trials and tribulations. 

Barbara Moore
This hauntingly beautiful poem by Samantha Ledger, with its ethereal otherworldly and mesmerizing flow, speaks to us in a whisper stronger than magnified echo. Sam sends signals from a place deep within herself, making us privy to her life-affirming message that to survive we must stay in the game, immersing ourselves in the business of living  and trusting steadfastly in its hope and promise. The poem Air. practically begs to be read aloud. 

(Click here to read more poems and commentaries, or to download Spiracle Journal Volume I Issue No. 1.)

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