Tuesday, June 22, 2010
WHAT THE MOON SAW
—D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove
Always looking through something to see something else.
The night has a lovely coat. Sometimes it holds it open
And one can see the stars. At other times the willowly
Breath of a season may tell us something peculiar about
The way a path through a woods might look just as
The light fades and retreats behind a copse of slender
Birch saplings, glowing gold then silver then a pewter
That has nothing to do with wood and everything to do
With the spirit of wood. What the moon saw is that spirit.
While the moon uses a totally different language than we
Use it has no trouble communicating anything to us. It
Has a Pentecostal gift that is of the first things. It recalls
When the light and the dark were separated and sent to
Their own places. It lives in the breath as the tides.
It holds lovers in its thrall without saying a single word.
We are that spirit. I will touch your lips and your breast.
I will embrace you as the moon does and the moon thrill
Will occupy all of your senses for a moment. I will become
Yesterday was the longest day of the year, which means it was the shortest night. Still, the moon saw things that we need to talk about, like it does every night. Let’s take our Seed of the Week from the title of D.R. Wagner’s poem: What the Moon Saw. Send your moonings to email@example.com or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. No deadline on SOWs.
And thanks to today’s other contributors for finishing up our SOW about dads. The title of Janet Pantoja’s “My Dad’s Desk” reminds me of Sacramento’s new large-print quarterly, DAD’s DESK, edited by Carol Louise Moon. Pick one up at The Book Collector.
AN EARLY MEMORY OF DAD
(Reflections of an eight-year-old)
—Patricia A. Pashby, Sacramento
Night after night he would come,
climb the tenement stairs, tap softly on the door,
and say . . . let me in Babe . . . I want to see my kids . . .
I love you Babe.
My mother would turn off the lights, tell us to be quiet
and pretend we were not at home. She’d tiptoe to the door
and lock it while my sister, brother and I huddled together
in the dark, too afraid to move.
Sometimes he stayed there a long time banging hard
on the door or jiggling the knob to push inside.
I remember him yelling . . . I know you are in there, Babe.
I’ll take those kids away from you if you don’t answer me.
We’d hide behind the curtain after he left and watch him
walk slowly up the alley looking back at the windows,
all bent over like an old old man.
In bed I remember listening for footsteps in the dark.
MY MYSTERIOUS FATHER WANDERING
ALONE IN A DREAMED PLACE
—Joyce Odam, Sacramento
I imagine him playing a flute
in a long wet corridor
walled in stone.
I imagine him mysterious,
facing the east with burning eyes,
and at night the west.
I imagine him father to some burning child
made of melting bone, with soul of cold fire
and mouth holding an old moan.
I imagine a long cold note of sadness
that he cannot hear
floating between us in the closing air.
This is the fatherless year
when all things break and are gone . . .
I imagine my father . . .
broken . . .
gone . . .
THE LEAVES OF FATHER
Oh, to be under the leaves of father—
that vast tree—
leaves fluttering from his branches—
the great strength of his shedding . . .
oh, to be shrunken and hiding under
such wrath—fearing the birds of his eyes,
such violent grieving—his
failure to follow his first beginning . . .
how the winds hone and agree—
how the rains leave him glistening—
the trunk of his body stark and beautiful
and vulnerable to winter . . .
and I—pulled away by my fear—
by my great admiration—
by the metaphor of our difference—
I could never love him like that.
LEANING DOWN INTO GREEN
safe child is leaning down
into green as if she
knew her way
she has found a flower there
a small black blossom
just at the edge of her fingertips
her golden hair is
melting past her knees
her feet are turning into ivy
her father snaps a summer camera
now she is captured
this is a story saved from sadness
MY DAD'S DESK
is a secretary—
standing tall, erect in elegant
mahogany on ball and claw feet
with flame-carved finial top.
Slant writing front drops, exposing
cubby holes, slots, tiny drawers,
secret compartments . . .
mysteries that lie within.
lattice window panes each—
locked with a skeleton key,
reveal upper bookcase
with memorabilia-filled shelves.
Below, four large
conceal countless papers.
A needlepoint chair, Mom's handiwork,
is pushed under the open writing
surface of my Dad's desk—
chair and desk are now vacant . . .
abandoned . . . inherited.
—Janet L. Pantoja, Woodinville, WA
My father is an old rumor.
Where is he now,
his lifelong disappearance
Life goes one way by itself.
What if my life had held him?
Father, I name you ghost.
Ghost-Father. Haunt. Haunt.