There was a cartoon I remember when I was a kid, one where this guy opened up his closet to look for something inconsequential, a shoe for instance, and then kept pulling out stuff — a lamp, a sofa, two tires, a roast turkey with all the trimmings, a circus elephant, a hockey goal, way more than could possibly fit in that tiny closet. Some spaces are too small to contain what they hold. Like the other day, from high above in the ash tree, a meadowlark ripped a song so full of vigor and delight that there’s no way a single breath in that small body could have held such joyous enthusiasm. Too small that breath, for sure, but there he was anyway just letting it fly, like Jack had finally leaped all the way out of his box and now he had to tell the world of his escape.
All things are
connected, they say
even the flutter
of a butterfly’s wing can
raise a typhoon
half-way across the world.
They say the dust that
rises in the warm,
March sun was born in
the core of a distant star.
Toward the end, it burst
and scattered itself
across the galaxy and
into the house where
it collects quietly under the bed.
They say there is a
moment when the old
becomes new, when the new
becomes old again, the disconnected
reconnects. To everything
there is a season. They say ashes
to ashes, dust to dust.
Here is a poem that I wrote in December in the comments section of Mary Lee Hahn’s website, Poetrepository. I didn’t want to lose it so, here it is.
The graveyard is full of them,
the forgotten ones who plowed the earth
milked the cows and fed the chickens,
washed the clothes and hung them on the line
then baked lemon bars for
church basement funerals.
Dreams cleared the land. Hope built fences.
Now ash trees sprout in the pasture. And
fences fall under the weight of my neglect.
A washing machine rusts quietly in the tall grass,
returning bits of itself to the earth,
called home to its simplest beauty.
At dawn on the first day
of the new year the sun also rises
to burst over the hill
with sudden brilliance.
So, together we walk,
this old dog and me, in
the last year of her life.
Our shadows dance.
Such beauty in the new snow that
gleams under a crystal sky, in
the clouds of our mingled breath.
It peers from our shadows
that leap over the snow. For
even under a limitless sky,
we are most whole the moment
we touch the earth, when the darkness
brushes against the light.
Some time it was, it was a time of muggy summer nights, a yellow-moon that shone through the corn-haze, past the pulsing cicadas. Alice Cooper yowled from the window of a Mustang that crept under the arching elms. The red glow of a cigarette. A tobacco threat exhaled through the window into the thickening air. These bad boys of summer are old and gray. Their swagger sags. From the porch couch, they watch the world pass by, wondering if the kids will finally call, or if they should just pop another beer and be done with it for the rest of the evening.
I’m hoping to use this blog as a place to explore poetry writing over the long haul. I’m no expert, that’s for sure, and probably not even a poet, but writing gives me pleasure and helps me to notice stuff that I’d otherwise forget to see. Like the photo above, I seek an occasional window into worlds unknown. Sharing my work gives it a life it would not otherwise have. As for the quality of the poems I will write in this blog space? Maybe, for me, quantity is more important than quality right now. We’ll see how it goes!