Friday, November 30, 2007

POEM: Harvest

The season is showing off its clenched jaw again.
Even the light looks sullen
and the gulls, who normally just laugh
all summer long in the heat, are grimmacing.

We are nothing if not the collection of scars
we harvest over a lifetime;
the ones we pick up like nettles
as we lope through each day
toward that great party that awaits us.

If lucky, we get to show off the accretion of things
we've collected throughout the visit to this place,
all the while, hiding the knowledge
that the inevitable destination is the landfill
or the compost pile,
Like the hardy mums that smile
while shivering in the new born cold air,
pretending that winter will never come.

POEM: The Summit House, The Lighthouse, The Sailor and The Temptation of Christ

In the mornings
I see the valley filled like a cereal bowl with milk
when I come over the highest points of Holyoke.
From its perch, the Summit House glares down
lighthouse white, it shines and calls out to every
lost soul who looks up at it, seeking direction.

The sailor takes his best girl to the lighthouse
where she asks him: "How ever did you find this place?"
To which the sailor responds:
"I'm a sailor. It found me!"

I imagine what sort of prayer the natives offered up
centuries before me, to give thanks for this sight
of the valley, the sun and the carpeting fog.

Did they believe in grace the way I do?
Did it feel the same way to them as it does to me?
Unaware of what was to unfold for their people,
did they, too, make the mistake of believing
that their old ways would last forever?

Then I pretend that I am with Jesus in the desert
as he is tempted by Satan who offered up the whole world
if Jesus would only drop to his knees and worship him.
I imagine the scene looking just like this one,
looking out over the valley as the world,
the thick dewy fog, the bright Summit House
white as a lighthouse and the sailor with his girl.

This must be what heaven looks like.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

POEM - RiverThanks

The river has folded its hands and bowed its head -
it squats among golden hills, in reverence.
Beneath the promiscuous slope of mountain,
covered by pale blue that is like wanting,
from somewhere, out of nowhere -
From the daring swoop of hawk, or the bubble of river water,
I cannot be sure which -
I heard the words "thank you".

Thursday, November 08, 2007

POEM - When Her Sister Goes Off to College

She thinks about the time in the near future
When her sister goes off to college.
She wonders what she will do
When her sister gives her heart away to others.
I was grateful for the love
as possessiveness that bubbled up from the question.

She will be bored at first.
She will be a bit lonely
when her sister's heart is not her sole province,
when the geography of their love
must be explored by others,
mapped for others' use,
when their private language becomes public.

I think these things, but I do not say them aloud.
Instead, I tell her that the answer to her question
is as stark as the daylight:
that when her sister lends her heart
out to the world, like a library book
then you will let your grip on hers go
so that your heart expands just so.
This, I tell her, is how our own hearts grow.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

POEM - Because I Cannot Sing

Because I cannot sing from dead places,
Each song I sing is alive –
An endangered species
Released into the wild to multiply
Living brazenly among humans.

Because when I sing I use only the green notes,
The Spruce, the Juniper and the Sycamore
Make plush harmonies with me
Out of what the wind delivers.

Because I sing with a torrential voice
I carve out canyons in every ear.

Because I cannot sing from dead places,
Summer passes over the flat noodles
Of my vocal chords
So that even in drought stricken places things grow:

My voice is rain and air and sun
And sweet fecund soil.

POEM - The Yin and Yang of Things

Something in me wants so much to give up -

I can't explain it.
But just as strong is that other part that

Just won't let me.