Time is but the/stream I go a-fishing in./Robust art.
—Henry David Thoreau (1817-1852)
Shall we remember what was, or what we almost
recall, out of nostalgia,
or the old comfort of boredom.
We had no edge.
We had not lived beyond the now—
the cinema of our minds
made of movie-lore and imagination.
We should have noticed
Everything was smaller then.
We were never dramatic.
Everything was enough.
Even the yearning.
Practice proved nothing.
There was always enough day
to go around:
the calm horizon—the rippleless blue water
—the small, floating boats we trusted,
the yellow, gathering sky—
the easy silences that stayed unbroken all this time.
(After "Calm Morning, 1904" by Frank Weston Benson)
(first pub. in Ekphrasis, 2008)
WOMEN COMING TOWARD ME IN A DREAM
The women are coming toward me in a dream.
They have been arriving all afternoon.
A tone of twilight begins
as the hour gathers us together.
We are the arrival,
anointed by a softness.
and look at each other.
The tone of twilight never changes
in the dream,
but there is no hurry.
We are the reason and we are here.
(first pub. in Tight, 1996)
you stood under tall corn
laughing in your pride
a golden man in golden corn
and the soft mysteries
of the corn talking . . .
talking . . . as we walked under
almost cool there
you grew sunflowers
rivaling Jack’s beanstalk height
so towering . . .
their huge faces
heavy with light
your arm reaching upward, but
even taller than that . . .
you smiling at me . . .
oh camera summers
(first pub. in One Trick Pony)
THE LINGERING WOMEN
These women, of such secrets, lounge in luminous white
chairs in the twilight and speak softly among themselves
and gesture with quickened lyrical motions of their hands.
Their features grow dim and their voices continue under
the slanting and changing of the hours. Their houses are
waiting but their houses are only the shells of their lives.
The women shine softer as random flickerings find them
laughing and talking in the shivery dusk. How long they
will stay depends on how much more they have to say.
LATE SUMMER WALTZ
This is a waltz. How faintly
the music plays for the dancers
whirling on the veranda,
how the late summer curtains
blow in and out the open windows.
How timeless the night is.
How far away the morning.
From where does the music come,
so flawless and perfectly timed?
The night has been silent too long.
Tears have been shed for the memories.
Words have failed.
What dancers are these
who seem so involved
with the intricacies of the dance?
They have no faces and do not belong here.
There is no one but us,
and even you are conjured.
FROM A LOST SUMMER DAY
Quick Impressions (After Frank O’Hara)
I sink back into tall green grasses.
A soft breeze bends the grasses over me.
and reform. Voices call my name—
my name that I do not want to hear.
I will not remember my name.
I am in my dreaming.
Awake. Floating in the sea of grasses,
I, and the motioning green shadows,
borne upon the width of forever.
I will never come out.
I am green grass and green shadow.
Even the sky makes room for me—
all energy—one wide presence
everything alive in my thinking.
A child wants to be alone with child-self.
No voice. No calling.
POEM FOR EVENING
is the soul
of the long day.
It is lost
in half dark
and half light.
It moves through a time
of forget and remember.
The sound that it makes
The place where it goes
(first pub. in The Human Voice Quarterly, 1968)
—Medusa, with thanks to Joyce Odam for today's poems and pix around our Seed of the Week, Shadows on a Summer's Eve. Our new SOW is Opening the Window. Send your poems and other musings on that theme (or any other!) to email@example.com, but there are no deadlines on SOWs. To see all the themes we've worked with over the years—and maybe one will trigger the World's Greatest Poem in you—go to the top of the Kitchen and click on Calliope's Closet.
And stay cool!