Saturday, April 6, 2013

April's Showers Are Just Poems

The snow showers that April has gifted to this part of the country are a certain kind of poem, I think: each flake unique, each one an intention brought forth from the clouds, each weather advisory maybe a calling for continued introspection before the celebration of True Spring.

It's true: April is National Poetry Month (and look here, too), and there is a poet in each of us.
Teen angst love ramblings, unintentional poetry from words spoken by children, commentary from so-called "professional" writers- just about anything can be called a poem. Although sometimes I think that all it really takes is the skillful use of a thesaurus and some clever spacing in Microsoft Word, I'm prone to insomnia-fueled haikus, posted as staus updates on Facebook myself, so I should probably refrain from being overly critical. Often poems are the only way certain things can ever be communicated; to use the words of a poem in actual conversation would seem, maybe to today's overly-saturated social media & technology-driven masses, too quaint. But then again, if the Hipsters have gotten a hold of it...

...and with that side swipe and an unapologetic smirk, I digress.

Back to poetry.

My regular writing has been feeling like more of a burden than an outlet lately, but I swear I'm working on a new post that is more in the vein of what I normally do. Upcoming topic?
Softness. Reader widens eyes, nods head to the side, thinks (maybe) aloud "Hmm. Softness. Interesting."

While taking breaks from that post topic, I've been painting. And knitting. And sulking. And writing poems (those last two go hand-in-hand, don't they?). I tend to be a storyteller when I write, so just allow me this one indulgence, okay? Like I said, I'm always good for a haiku (that form is the best-creating within structure-see what I did here?); but today I will give you this non-haiku, written recently, and only after many revisions do I feel comfortable posting it here (which is to say, I'm not comfortabe at all posting it anywhere at all).

Elegy, In Anticipation

I think about you some days,
and how heavy it felt to be near you
with you
even on days with good news,
even sitting in the light of a sunbeam.

The photographs of your childhood show sunshine,
but your face
is never really smiling, only
squinting from the glare,
or red from frustration,
or swollen-eyed from not getting your way;
the farm garden lush
the pine trees go deep
the pigs and cows and rooster
the front steps and the three-legged dog-

I think about your best artwork
pieces created years apart-
accidentally, reluctantly-
a study in contrasts, and
bright spots on your timeline, no doubt;
and you let them go
and you let me go,
animals in our own rights.

Those dreams of you driving?
Sweaty-handed and jittery at the wheel?
I know there is no sun, but
here comes the curve, and with it
the headlights catch you off guard
every time,
their brightness too much for you to bear
and you throw your hands up
and you let go.

And when you finally combust
by either your own doing or not,
or from the realization of all the brightness
you could have kept but wasted-
or maybe just couldn't bear to hold onto?-
and when those billion tiny particles move around the air
like dust sparkling in a sunbeam,
I will think of you as the cloud that makes them disappear.

I will leave you with this, a poem from a favorite author:


The rising sun not beet.
or blood,
but sea-rose red.

I amplified my heartbeat
one thousand times,
the animals at first confused
then decided I was another
thunder being.

While talking directly to god
my attention waxed and waned.
I have a lot on my mind.

I worked out
to make myself as strong
as water.

After all these years
of holding the world together
I let it roll down the hill
into the river.

One tree leads
to another,
walking on
this undescribed earth.

I have dreamed
myself back
to where
I already am.

On a cold day
bear, coyote, cranes.
On a rainy night
a wolf with yellow eyes.
On a windy day
eleven kestrels looking
down at me.
On a hot afternoon
the ravens floated over
where I sunk
myself in the river.

Way out there
in unknown country
I walked at night
to scare myself.

Who is this other,
the secret sharer,
who directs the hand
that twists the heart,
the voice calling out ot me
between feather and stone
the hour before dawn?

I have turned into
an old brown man
in a green coat.

Having fulfilled
my obligations
my heart moves lightly
to this downward dance.

- Jim Harrison

And now it's your turn. Write a poem. Read a poem. Go listen to someone else read a poem out loud. Memorize a favorite verse, or explicate a piece that really makes you think. And then write a poem about that poem. Until next time, friends.

1 comment:

Steph Pf said...

Oh. So much. There is so much. All I can say is...I'm proud. Of you. XX