Back in September of 2016, my poem, “Cleaving,” was published in the online literary magazine, Yellow Chair Review. I almost forgot that five years ago, my two youngest sons and I did a little recording of it for YouTube. But after the editing of the poem and the video, we decided that it was good enough to submit for publication somewhere and kept it “under wraps.”
At that time I had started sporadically submitting things to be published and most places considered anything Google-able to be “previously published.” Almost nobody wants to print previously published poems. And though the words were not “printed,” they did appear onscreen in the minute and forty-five-second clip, so we thought it best to just “temporarily” shelve the wonderful piece of production, as of that time seen only by a few friends.
Well, I’ve been submitting more regularly and frequently the last two years, and thankfully Yellow Chair Review saw fit to include “Cleaving” in its 8th issue. Six months have passed and while you can read it there on their pages, along with two other poems they were gracious enough to publish, I decided it was time to dust off the video.
Certainly, I could have re-recorded it but why? The audio quality could be better and our video prowess has probably improved but it was so much fun recording the thing with my boys. And after all, that is part of what The Dad Poet blog is about. The boys were teenagers when we did this, now ages 20 and 22. It’s not like they are getting younger. Besides, the adorable pair of bird mugs, the bluebird and the owl, have long since been cracked and lost as coffee casualties. The poem, though, has barely been changed, other than perhaps a word or a comma.
So belatedly, here is the video of the poem called “Cleaving,” which I wrote originally, not to mourn a lost relationship so much as to explore the fascinating fact that the verb “to cleave” is actually an antonym of itself. Some call words like this contronyms. That is to say, words that have two opposite meanings. To cleave can mean to break apart as well as to hold together.