at some edge
of some dreamed sea—
some cove of blue that draws me there
to sit enclosed, to hide in the blue shadow
of the blue air and listen to the white cries of
gulls—watch the patient crawling of the waves
—the solitude of loneliness one learns to love…
or was it real—
only some composite of time spent
beyond the measured memory that thrills and fails.
I’m here—I’m there—walking toward this moment,
—who I am—under the wide imperfect sky that
fills with its vast moodiness, moving so darkly,
laying swift blue shadow everywhere—and
the white gulls that sound so anguished,
though beautiful and low—and I keep
them with me to become at least their
curiosity—never having left—no
matter how many cities later...
I knew this place
—as well as my life—its long
unreachable distance—this shore beside this sea.
A STUDY OF BLACK WEATHER
Two figures under black rain falling all around them,
except where they hurry over the dry ground,
made possible only by the width
of their black umbrellas—their long black gowns
shrouding them from the rain—black
reflecting black—their faces
hidden : two silhouettes in tiny black shoes, one set
urging forward, the other set pulling back
against the weather—
the world dissolved to black silhouettes with a dark
mission. Not that they wouldn’t answer,
if asked, but they are
resolute of symbol and swift as evasion—shadowing
past as we stand, wet and wondering,
in the March wind and rain.
THE LETTER : I TALK ABOUT THE WEATHER
I, writing good news,
make you worry—
you have known me
read beneath words
for what I am saying.
I tell you about
the seasons and the
domestic cuteness of the day,
skim-off the surfaces
like fat from a
simmering pot of chili.
I send you an easy recipe
using wine and recount
all the latest
to make you laugh.
And because it is time to
I close with love
with a newly-sharpened
making insignificant wounds
on my only life.
After "The Summer Breeze" by Childe Hassam
Now she sits on the edge of the sofa and
plays her violin to the darkened room,
the curtain tearing from the arms of
its own shadow. The room deepens—
ever-so-slowly as she leans into her music.
Her face closes and the trembling flower
in the nearby vase wilts a little slower—
the vase returning what little light
there is to the soft light at the window.
The captured breeze of evening floats
through the music. The curtain dances.
Now she has power over everything.
We who have been close and separate
now face the mutual mirror of regard
and look hard at the memory :
What has gone between us is a river,
deep and deeper
with the changes.
What a strange metaphor . . .
one of us always drowning here and there,
in the difficulties, in the confusion.
The river is always behind us
and before us,
hypnotic with motion and energy.
No stillness here, no turning back,
though we do—grasping at all these
beginnings, caught in the currents.
THE MIRROR AFTER MIDNIGHT
It’s easy enough to send praise into an aftermath.
What we receive of light is the other side of dark.
Who shouts in the hollow becomes echo there.
Here is a word I can use, wet with meaning.
Tears are the salt of grief, joy, and humor. Hollow out
the womb for the lost child. Name it Sorrow.
We are at the service of our souls
which are at the mercy of our lives.
In the stone light,
gray thought is manufactured as shadow.
Two who are unnamed
go toward love with fierce anticipation.
The hotels are empty now. They served the lonely
and the lost in their transitions.
It was the gulls, so starkly white in the gray field,
dark skies roiling inward.
Reading it all wrong, that word again, about to break,
like a face left in its mirror before it got old.
MAKING THE BEST OF BAD WEATHER, I WAIT FOR TIME
TO NOTICE ME, CHALLENGE MY EXISTENCE . . .
After Monet: (weeping tree) I
Making the best of bad weather,
I count the raindrops that are beginning to fall
through the dark morning.
In making the best of the bad weather
I go toward the old weeping tree of winter
and offer my tears in sympathy.
Making the best of bad weather, I let the rain
chill me. The tree rustles its sad leaves.
The old wet trunk invites my leaning.
—Medusa, thanking Joyce Odam for today's wonderful breakfast in the Kitchen, and noting that our new Seed of the Week is Name It Sorrow (and thanks to Joyce for the phrase). Send your poems and pix on this (or any other subject!) to email@example.com/. No deadline on SOWs.
P.S. I don't know where I was, but I failed to learn about Louise Gluck reading from her new book, Faithful and Virtuous Night, at UC Davis tonight, Feb. 24, 7:30pm, Nelson Hall. Hope you can make it to hear this former Poet Laureate and winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the 2014 Nat'l Book Award. See calendar.ucdavis.edu/event_detail.lasso?eventID=16596 for details.