Sing to me of apples,
swaying, red in summer’s leaves—
sing of late September peaches,
sweetly melting on the tongue.
Sing to me of purple-ripe figs,
dangling low on heavy branches.
Sing to me of plots of corn,
tall and golden, rattling in the wind.
Sing of peppers and tomatoes.
Sing of potatoes and carrots
and the whole rainbow of flavors
ripening in the ground.
Sing of fields and backyard rows
and patio window-boxes—
sing of harvest:
wilting in the sun of a last equinox.
My dad listened to the sky—
the whirl of animals in slow procession
through the seasons—
the moon and phases of it.
He loved the vagueness of the Milky Way
and he shared tales of the constellations;
he explained the geometry of eclipse.
Raised on a farm, he understood the seasons
and the paradox of a single spring
granted to all lifespans.
He spoke to me in starlight—
every word a wonder.
Through the viewfinder of my camera,
I understand the vocabulary of light:
colors, my adverbs—
shadows, my nouns.
Every object erupts with radiance,
combusts with intensity,
composes itself moment-by-moment
in poetry of pure symbol.
This is the structure I prefer:
not words that re-define awareness
but a wraith of shadow,
an exaltation of brilliance.
Words confuse the mind—
require selection and ordering;
they must march to grammar’s rules,
Poets deal in twice-translated reality:
they rummage for the right words,
steering the reader to uncover meaning.
Poetry is too hard.
I prefer the relative silence of a camera,
the quick detention of an instant—
that sudden arc that ignites
one awareness with another.
I yearn to speak in wavelengths of color,
compose angles and planes and curves,
fall into vortices of darkness:
I want to brandish light.