Sunday, August 07, 2005
At Saratoga, 1956
On an island in the creek I discover frost. In June.
I gaze from the bank. Crystals sparkle on every leaf and blade of grass,
on every twig and pebble. Shimmer in the summer sun. Magical but forbidden,
locked behind a cast iron fence. The mainland world seems green
and ordinary. I’m ten years old, desperately yearning to explore.
The teachers? Busy with other kids. I look both ways, plunge
in and wade the creek. Scramble over the fence.
Crush jewels underfoot. Touch
warm frost. Amazed, I touch again. It crumbles instead of melting.
In my eagerness, I break the delicate jewels.
Slowing, slowing, surrounded by radiance, I finally
lift one crystal leaf intact and hold in my own hands
a piece of all this light.
For Peggy Bell, Stuart Brewer, Mr. Sharp and Mr. Armstrong
050122a; 11/13/2004 10:12 AM
sent to Avocet 10-22-05
Closing poem note: What I did was wrong, and I am wrong not to regret it. I know that if everyone did it, the place would be ruined, but I would not want to erase that memory!
Saturday, August 06, 2005
A Hibiscus Wind
Mom rolls her wheelchair to the red hibiscus
in the nursing home lounge,
watches closely. Dusty petals tremble,
and so do her thin shoulders, rounded
under sweaters and afghans. She leans closer, bowing
her head toward the fabric blossoms. Her pale
face reflects scarlet and gold. She glows
with excitement, leans ever closer.
The air conditioner snorts, rattles, and wheezes.
"Oh," she says, backing suddenly away,
voice falling, like her hands. "It's only
the wind. I thought small birds
were gathering to burst out
and I wanted to be ready
to catch one."
For Margaret (Mom)
050804c , 050805a
Loretto, with Mom, “true story”
Closing Remarks: I personally would like to be near the bush when the birds of wisdom and love burst forth and I’d want to gather them all into my arms for a moment. Perhaps they’ll arrive in a rainbow of color, sprinkle me with joy dust.
While my mother suffered only disappointment, I experienced something akin to a small epiphany, hearing her words and seeing images of these birds, seeing another would superimposed over the everyday one.
Lurch of fear: the heart tumbles,
plummets into freefall. Terror,
terror. Clutching. Quick,
if only I can remember what I know. Remember
before I smash
have I wanted to be an enemy
of birds. Love, only love,
drove me to collect their wings,
feathers and hollow bones.
Only from the dead.
from the living. The miraculous
living. From the dead,
I took shriveled, scaly feet, bony
beaks and skulls. I pinned the wings, hung
them on the walls to dry. Admired
the simple aerodynamics of bone,
flesh and feather.
At night, I stretched and flexed
the wings and waxed them to my body, flapped
around the dark house practicing. Tossed
myself from the table, the shed roof,
the second story.
Then from a cliff,
I launched myself into their private sky.
flesh grew light
as I stepped into
All that space
Like the vulture,
aloft for hours.
Relax, as the earth hurtles upward. Shift
and stretch the plunging heart. Empty. Lift. Soar.
Circle and glide. Ride thermals. Trees shrink away,
ribbon rivers flutter. The earth tilts below.
O feral heart, only the air matters.
only the wind.
050806, 050615, 050509(4)bb, 050322(3)d, 021003(2)a, 020507(1)b
Closing Remarks: I used to often dream of flying. It is disappointing to me that I rarely do any more. I wonder if it’s because I am so heavy. Or more frail and awkward. I hope one never gets to old to fly!!!!
[NOTE: Revisit and consider Brigit Pageen Kelly's remarks on this poem, if possible, time allowing and if it can be located.]
Opening Poem Remarks: I’m not sure whether being heavy and old stops me from flying, but I am fairly certain it stops me from climbing mountains. I haven’t got the strength and energy I used to have, not all that long ago.
Through fog, dripping trees and mists,
we climb, all day. Up
and up, higher and higher.
Step by step.
Finally, trees shrink and twist, become
Krumholtz, the shrunken fairy forest.
Then disappear. The granite peak, veiled
in shifting vapors, unfolds dimly before us.
At the precipitous edge of rock,
in your yellow raincoat, you raise your arms.
Sudden sorcerer, you banish the clouds. Orchestrate
the realms of heaven, the songs of cloud, wind
The sky opens
in sudden, luminescent sun.
A mountainous world
creates itself out of swirling mists,
new, perfect, radiant,
for Charles Schirmer
050806; 050129b; 3A, 9/27/2003; 2C, 9/26/03; Draft 1D,1st draft, 2-8-98, For Charles Schirmer, because he asked for it, and he deserves it: a small ©Valentine’s Day gift from a friend. (for Chuck primarily, and for everyone I love, of course) P981-A: dix.doc 98-2-8; obscuring
Closing Poem Remarks: It is always a relief to get to the top of the mountain, and beautiful to see the view, but even more so when fog and suddenly clears. I miss the small ecstasy that comes after the long struggle.
At the edge of the gorge, I squelch my lamp
and stare into an absence, or what appears
to be absence. Darkness, uniformly black,
featureless. Slowly, imperceptibly, individual
trees begin to appear. Beside, behind,
a forest takes shape and deepens, one tree