OF THE BRITISH MUSEUM
(at the Sutton Hoo Exhibit)
I know what’s caught inside—too much
To hold in a single day, or three, or four.
I never go in right away.
I even have time for a nap in the sun.
I will not read every catalog card.
I will not stop in the cafe and gift shops.
I will only see the ship burial:
The beds, golden dishes and chairs,
Party artifacts—the table set,
Goblets and hair combs placed just so.
It’s most like a gravesite where one
Would go to see if family headstones
Have been disturbed, if plastic flowers
And metal cans lay strewn about.
But everything is the same, yet unearthed:
Reverent, humble, asking for a blessing.
—Jeanine Stevens, Sacramento
(This poem first appeared in Alehouse.)
Thanks, Jeanine. For more information about the ancient, ancient Sutton Hoo, google up http://www.homestead.com/englishheathenism/shipburial.html/, or just type "in Sutton Hoo". As you can see, we're still talking about cemeteries.
Many poets would say there's no such thing as too many books, but if you do have one or two that you need to part with, Richard Hansen has printed up a handy little card that lists two "homeless shelters" for used books you might need to give away:
•••Friends of the Sacramento Public Library runs The Book Den at 8250 Belvedere Av., Suite E (off Power Inn Road in Sacramento). They're open Weds. from 9-12 and Sat. from 9-2; call ahead (916-731-8493). No magazines, encyclopedias or texbooks.
•••The Sacramento SPCA, 6210 Florin-Perkins Rd., Sac. accepts books year-round during shelter hours, or call their Special Events office (916-383-7387, ext. 9102).
REPORT FROM A FAR PLACE
Making these word things to
step on across the world, I
could call them snowshoes.
They creak, sag, bend, but
hold, over the great deep cold,
and they turn up at the toes.
In war or city or camp
they could save your life;
you can muse them by the fire.
Be careful, though: they
burn, or don't burn, in their own
strange way, when you say them.
THE STICK IN THE FOREST
A stick in the forest that pointed
where the center of the universe is
broke in the wind that started
its exact note of mourning
when Buddha's mother died.
Around us then a new crystal
began to form itself, and men—
awakened by what happened—
held precious whatever breathed:
we are all gestures that the world makes.
"Be, be," Buddha said.
You will never be alone, you hear so deep
a sound when autumn comes. Yellow
pulls across the hills and thrums,
or the silence after lightning before it says
its names—and then the cloud's wide-mouthed
apologies. You were aimed from birth:
you will never be alone. Rain
will come, a gutter filled, an Amazon,
long aisles—you never heard so deep a sound,
moss on rock, and years. You turn your head—
that's what the silence meant: you're not alone.
The whole wide world pours down.
Medusa encourages poets of all ilk and ages to send their POETRY, PHOTOS and ART, as well as announcements of Northern California poetry events to firstname.lastname@example.org (or snail ‘em to P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726) for posting on this daily Snake blog. Rights remain with the poets. Previously-published poems are okay for Medusa’s Kitchen, as long as you own the rights. (Please cite publication.)
SnakeWatch: Up-to-the-minute Snake news:
Journals (free publications): Rattlesnake Review14 is now available at The Book Collector; contributors and subscribers should have received theirs by now. If you're none of those, and can't get down to The Book Collector, send two bux (for postage) to P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726 and I'll mail you a copy. If you want more than one, please send $2 for the first one and $1 for copies after that. Next deadline, for RR15, is August 15. VYPER6 (for youth 13-19) is in The Book Collector; next deadline is Nov. 1. Snakelets10 (for kids 0-12) is also at The Book Collector; next deadline is Oct. 1.
Books/free broadsides: June's releases include Tom Miner's chapbook, North of Everything; David Humphreys' littlesnake broadside, Cominciare Adagio; and #3 in B.L. Kennedy's Rattlesnake Interview Series, this one featuring Jane Blue.
ZZZZZZZ: Shh! The Snake is sleeping! There will be no Snake readings/releases in July or August. Then we return with a bang on September 12, presenting Susan Kelly-DeWitt's new chapbook, Cassiopeia Above the Banyan Tree. See the online journal, Mudlark, for a hefty sample of poems from her book; that’s http://www.unf.edu/mudlark/. Also coming in the Fall: new issues of the Review, Snakelets and VYPER [see the above deadlines], plus more littlesnake broadsides from NorCal poets near and far, and a continuation of B.L. Kennedy's Rattlesnake Interview Series—including an anthology of interviews to be released for Sacramento Poetry Month (October).