The Sight of Blood

The Visceral Poetry of Cindy St. Onge

Welcome to my Blood Blog--variously, The Ponderosa. Things Pondered: Life, Death, God, Life.


Death As Specimen

Cindy, why do you think so often of Death?

Because it circles
like a pack of wolves,
and paces me like
a famished tiger.

I must know how it thinks
if I’m to reason with it.
I will know it by its
wooden footfall.
I will recognize its
granite skin and wicked

I will learn all of its names
and the names of its children.
I’ll become familiar with its
scent in mere traces.

One day, if I’ve studied well,
I will have that thing’s belly—
bleeding from my victorious jaws—
foe or friend, vanquished all the same.

--Cindy St. Onge
March 12, 2006

Sanctuary in the Known World

If you must talk,
speak only of God here.
Save your idle, neurotic chatter
for the city and its pavement.

Here is where the heart resides;
it doesn’t need a declaration,
and has no urge to prove itself.

So, let the stream babble for once.
Let the Jays tell you something.
Let this vast quietude pound
against the stony gates of
your being.

Then, let those creatures
in—wild and present and
ever gracious with stories and
lessons, with sylvan blessings.

No need for you to shout or gesture;
they know you’re here.
They know you’re here.

--Cindy St. Onge
March 12, 2006


Poems from The Grotto

(At Taize)

Maybe this time is just for me--
to sing my pain--a purging prayer.
I am transformed here,
and stripped bare.
My ego dies to my purpose here,
and I participate in poetry.

And when I think
of all the red inside me,
I understand, at last, that
I don’t bleed; I burn.

(In the Peace Garden)

Found: A lush, green and
sun-dappled world.
Her trees exude a perfume of
spice and loam; it’s in my hair
and I am among the growing
things here, rooted in basalt
and stretching to heaven--
dancing with the stream
and becoming water.

(In the Meditation Chapel)

Here is the bud
closed upon itself
believing that it is darkness.
In time, each petal leans toward
a white sun, peeling away the lie
exposing a buttery stamen at the
very moment of discovery.

"I am a wheel and a sun
and I am a universe!" says the bloom,
splayed and spinning in exquisite realization.

Until another season comes to take
both the closing and the opening,
stripping every rooted creature of both
its dream and its awakening
leaving behind just a green
stem to shiver in the dirt, still
growing out of God.

Published at Wordlust : Paperfetish, December 11, 2005



Two starlings at my window sill,
Tapping at the glass—
To announce today that Death had come.
I looked away at once.

They tapped again, louder still
As if I didn’t hear
Their awful news, delivered prompt
When they first appeared.

I heeded them
And thought I must
Promptly call on those
Dear to me, to see, alas,
Who, from me had gone.

Their message borne,
Their task complete—
The birds were free to go.
One flew away;
One stayed behind—
Oh, My God! What now?

I let him in,
He perched awhile;
I waited for a sign.
When he felt
The time was right,
He asked me for my soul.

I told him I
Was still alive,
My soul was mine to keep.
He asked again,
I told him no—
This went on and on.

I went about
My daily tasks
As if he wasn’t there.
I offered every now and then,
The door for him to leave.

He refused, then nighttime fell,
I asked if he’d be missed.
He said “By whom?”
--The other bird…
the one I saw you with.

He waited there quite patiently.
I, more restless grew.
The dreaded fate
Of which he spoke
Encroached upon me now.

My vision became cloudy,
I tired so at once.
My body became burdensome—
A thousand moments passed.

A transformation came about—
Then I stirred anew.
I felt so much lighter now,
As if I were a bird.

Be it bird or angel,
This guardian of mine:
That stubborn thing
Who waited ‘til
Deliverance had come.

And now that task
At last fulfilled,
We prepared to fly.
He went on, ahead of me
And opened up the door.

Published at Wordlust : Paperfetish December 2, 2005



A sea of Grief
from prolific tears,
I cannot lay you to rest—
It has become
too dark and deep
you’re now too far
beyond my reach.
Memory strains
to keep your face
in its desperate grasp
until that sea
covers my head
and I’m drowned with you
at last.


I do not mean
to frighten the crow.
And am I not
as black as he?
Cloaked in grounded, woolen night
not unlike his obsidian wing,
I stand very still—
not to breathe
nor to make any sound
that would stir him into flight.


How can I fear you, Death, if
you're just a thing that hungers?

Some threat indeed, you
wretched force of poverty!
How can I fault you for being desirous
when I want things too?

Poor Death; I can only pity a creature
who scavenges for discarded scraps of light,
and dread becomes compassion for one
who must anguish for every single breath.

I can never know your awful craving--
your hands of ash cupped to receive,

but for you, sweet Death,
I'd pluck out my heart--
still beating in its crimson bloom
in exchange for all your riches.

Published at Wordlust : Paperfetish November 18, 2005



Sleep eludes me
two, three nights now.
Across my bed—
I stretch diagonal.
Not a solid line
but a series of dashes—
itching, aching, but
never connecting.

Not in repose but posed,
I’m sketched by some
over-caffeinated Bohemian.
His pencil scratches—
flick, flick, flick—drawing
spokes in my irises.
Around and around,
he rings my eyes,
engraving, rasping—his
strokes are furious—darker, he says,
they must be darker!
He stops—short of shredding paper,
getting them just right.

These damned eyes—
sore, darting, afflicted beyond
seeing and anguished for their
dreams—glisten from livid
sockets like the hint of water
in a well.

I can’t remember
how tired feels, that
gift of weariness.
I can’t fabricate the drowse
and the want of eye-closing.
I can’t recall the way
wakefulness sinks
like sediment into the pillow.

Parched for the cool liquor
of mind-quenching laze, starved
for the nourishment of dreams.
I beg—two, three nights now,
for the heaviness of blessed slumber—
the sinking and drifting,
the careful folding and
putting away of the mind.

Published at Wordlust : Paperfetish, September 2, 2005



The morning found me
still as stone,
and cold as river clay.
I lay there long, motionless,
for near eternity.

The night had stiffened
up my bones
so thorough that it seemed
movement was not agony,
but impossibility.

I wondered long,
and tried so hard
to get up from my bed.
It’s just a simple thing, I said.
I did this yesterday!

My eyes, still shut,
could not behold
the brand new light of day.
No hope or force immutable
could pry them from their dreams.

To beg was useless:
Whom to entreat?
I agonized alone.
Rage and rancor, impotent
to let my soul back in.

Laid down my head
the night before,
when the mystery of sleep
came to take my supple life
and left this empty shell,
that dawn would find
still as stone-
to ponder mornings breached.

Published at Wordlust : Paperfetish, August 5, 2005



At any given moment,
her whereabouts are
up for grabs.
She’s grown into
a community
of citizens inside her.

All for one,
and one for all.
they’ve each a name—
and each facet, whole.

Their host, once broken,
now fixed and fastened
by many concerned Threads.
each sane enough,
with its charge
of pain’s sore wisdom.

Town meetings seldom
see them,
but exists each one,
inside some
tentative eternity.

Published at Wordlust : Paperfetish, July 15, 2005