are being thrown to the startled sky,
lowering to catch them . . .
It is the children,
blowing from wands of soapy water
to make more happiness. . . .
the dusty afternoon sunlight turns
the drifting bubbles
into little jeweled mirrors . . .
the children laugh and grab the floating
bubbles from the grabbing sky,
making even more happiness . . . .
THE INNOCENCE OF LIGHT
After Bubble Maker,
Painting by Amanda Dunbar, 1999
in soap bubbles—
the dark that tries
to absorb them—
the light shimmers
and releases energy
the bubbles connect
rising into thinness
before the dark
can break them;
they cling a moment
to the wand,
then break away—
almost with a gladness.
HOW TO MAKE PANCAKES WITH MOTHER
Watch her oil the skillet. Wait for a drop of water
to sizzle in the skillet. See how carefully she pours
three spoons of batter in.
Watch them spread. Sometimes,
if you have an apple, she will put tiny slices
on top of the forming bubbles.
Watch the bubbles form into beautiful
brown patterns. Watch as she shows you when
to turn the pancakes over : admire the patterns.
THE AQUARIUM FOREST
After "Aquarium" by Remedios Varp, 1961
From A Child’s Journal of Fairy Tale Forests
Of all the forests I have worried
the water forest
is the deepest one to fathom.
The children there
live without gravity or sky
and make their way past
floating stems with prickly pods
that give off an eminence
of light when they are touched
—unless it be the
deep-lit eyes of the water-guide
who leads the hidden children
away from evil step-mothers
and other perils of their lot
toward the magic place
of no more fears—
One by one,
the guide conceals them
in a cloak that keeps them
from being seen
and uses a long gold key
for a walking stick
that knows the way
all the dangers and fears
that frighten children who sleep-walk
through their nightmare conjurings.
WATCHING THE FISH BOWL
this jar full of sadness
shimmering between us
hypnotic to our grieving eyes
quivering with the movement
of invisible sad fish
evaporation is slow
a terrible hum
is hanging around us
under it we stay
with our arms resting on
the wet table
watching and saying nothing
waiting for daylight to
fall past the windows
words that were spoken
and the silences they caused
are everywhere like drowning
CIRCULAR DANCE OF WATER
After a drawing by Angela Mark inRed Owl Magazine, XXIII
element of water
element of dream
bubbles of light
bubbles of air
element of spiral
nothing at either end
only the upward
holding your breath
BETWEEN THE PILLARS OF THE NIGHT
The stanzas held the pose, not real, unreal, nor yet
imagined. Time panned by with its swift glimpse
of something barely held—all that was stopped—
would never move, but for repair : two children
who were Me and Me—a black-cloaked boy and
girl—entranced by celestial globes upon a table—
star bubbles that broke across the floor.
The props were set—the speeding days—the
nervous dogs—the dancing shadow ghost. Iconic
fairy-tale-creations stared and simply waited. Night-
Blooming Cereus climbed the posts and grew
toward the lowering clouds—like new life from the
floor and through the nonexistent ceiling.
And now that I look back to now, the sky flows in
with clouds that lower slowly into the private room
of sleep. The ghost still dances. The shy dogs sleep
and the missing bird that was in the hidden cage
where the nightly spell was cast now sings in sweet
Blowing bubbles on a summer night,
iridescent tremble in the air—
fragile circles of transparent light
form and break and are not anywhere.
Lovely to her, how they pour and rise
from her soapy wand, night’s musing child,
filling darkness—and her solemn eyes—
learning how some things cannot be held.
(first pub. in Poets’ Forum Magazine, 2006)
Many thanks to Joyce Odam for “fishing around” in her archives to find us some fine words and photos about our recent Seed of the Week, Bubbles. Her aquarium photos were taken at Hart Sr. Center in downtown Sacramento.
Our new Seed of the Week is After the Rain. Send your poems, photos and artwork about this (or any other) subject to firstname.lastname@example.org. No deadline on SOWs, though, and for a peek at our past ones, click on “Calliope’s Closet”, the link at the top of this column, for plenty to choose from.
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