Sunday, April 25, 2010

Today's Poem

This is the poem I woke to find in my in box this morning. That is all.

Graves We Filled Before the Fire
by Gabrielle Calvocoressi

Some lose children in lonelier ways:
tetanus, hard falls, stubborn fevers

that soak the bedclothes five nights running.
Our two boys went out to skate, broke

through the ice like battleships, came back
to us in canvas bags: curled

fossils held fast in ancient stone,
four hands reaching. Then two

sad beds wide enough for planting
wheat or summer-squash but filled

with boys, a barren crop. Our lives
stripped clean as oxen bones.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Gathering Storm

I have been laying in provisions. It's an odd assortment, some tangible and some not, and the pile increases as small offerings arrive in the mail from far-away friends who know instinctively what is lacking. Cards and funny signs and Emily Dickenson are added to the pile of potato chips and dark chocolate and red wine. They are necessary. I place them next to the recent memories of good visits that are waiting to be wrapped around me when I cannot get warm. Poems come through the ether, seeking me out and the rose bush is collapsing beneath the weight of its blooms.

Just me and the otters, I held them so close
I felt the bump of ghosts as I held them.
There is no poem that will bring back the dead
There is no poem that I could ever say that will
Arise the dead in their slumber, their faces gone
There is no poem or song I could sing to you
That would make me seem more beautiful
If there were such songs I would sing them
O they would hear me singing from here until dawn

- From Dorothea Lasky's Me and the Otters

Monday, April 5, 2010

Then Again, Maybe Not

Perhaps April isn't the best month to challenge myself to a daily-posting spree? The garden is going in and that takes most of my free time. I'm also trying to throw together a last minute wedding shower (by sheer force of will, it's going to be just lovely, I swear) and get ready for two of my dearest friends to visit. And, you know, it's April and just holding on to my sanity is a lot work some days. I don't have time to read a poem a day, much less the inclination to think about randomly selected verse winging its way through the ether. So we're letting go of the Poem-A-Day-Posting theme.

That said, this poem is lovely. Ms. Lerman's work has already earned a space on my shelves.

Small Talk
by Eleanor Lerman

It is a mild day in the suburbs
Windy, a little gray. If there is
sunlight, it enters through the
kitchen window and spreads
itself, thin as a napkin, beside
the coffee cup, pie on a plate

What am I describing?
I am describing a dream
in which nobody has died

These are our mothers:
your mother and mine
It is an empty day; everyone
else is gone. Our mothers
are sitting in red chairs
that look like metal hearts
and they are smoking
Your mother is wearing
sandals and a skirt. My
mother is thinking about
dinner. The bread, the meat

Later, there will be
no reason to remember
this, so remember it
now: a safe day. Time
passes into dim history.

And we are their babies
sleeping in the folds of
the wind. Whatever our
chances, these are the
women. Such small talk
before life begins

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A New Month

It's April and National Poetry Month is upon us. I haven't always known about National Poetry Month but I do now and I'm glad. I've signed up for a poem-a-day from the American Academy of Poets. (Isn't it marvelous such a thing exists?) I'm looking forward to seeing what each morning brings to my in-box and I plan to share them with you here if I find I have anything at all to say about them. I hope to share every day, mostly because I think it would be sad (and also a touch embarrassing) to read a poem and have nothing to say about it all.

Today's poem is marvelous. It's has history and almost-but-not-quite-forgotten people and the old houses haunted by them and also a touch of melancholy about ticky-tacky houses too close together that have become our norm. This poem reminds me to remember the many women who've made homes in this old house and gardened under the shade of these old trees. Also to be grateful for the view of pastures from my kitchen window. Everyday I walk in well-worn footsteps and it's good to be reminded of that.

Here's Philip Levine's A Story: A Story -

And here's my beautiful old house.