Thursday, February 28, 2013

Glimpse







Just as distance changes the perspective of things in the physical world, so does it change the perspective we have on events of long ago.

It's been a long time since I "lived in the country." By today's standards, it was a rather restricted life. We had no running water, no indoor plumbing, no central heat, no telephone, no car.

Ah, but there are other things I remember about life back then, and I still savor them. Actually, their flavor seems to improve ... like warmed over soup ... each time I bring up those memories.

Perhaps I've overdone it a bit with my talk about "that bit of heaven so far beyond the grasp of cities, and all their suburbs ... " but perhaps not.

The poem:

GLIMPSE

Those who have never been
lulled by a country breeze,
savored the scent of hay
lying in the sun, caught
the sweet, wafting hint
of honeysuckle, who have
never heard the raucous call
of a crow gentled, distanced
by the summer air, well,
they've never glimpsed that
bit of heaven so far beyond
the grasp of cities, and all
their suburbs still to come.
© 2000

(originally published in PKA's Advocate)
Today's word: grasp

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Fireflies









Fireflies seemed such magic creatures in the place where I spent my early years.

They still do.

Especially in that period of transition from day to night, when darkness is beginning to settle in, they do seem to be wavering up some kind of invisible ladder.

They do seem to be signalling to us "that dreams still take wing."

Today's poem:

FIREFLIES

Slowly, randomly they rise
from daytime resting places
into the cool, embracing night.

Tiny wings whirring against
the sodden, clinging atmosphere,
they labor to lug their lights


blinking up wavering ladders,
beacons signaling that dreams
still take wing on such a night.
© 1997

(originally published in Sisters Today)


Today's word: randomly

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Evensong






"Evensong" is a word picture painted from memory ... the memory of those times when the storms had passed and we emerged to assess the damage to the garden, our trees ... the neighbors' trees ... our house, their houses.


That was always the aftermath, that slow evaluation of what had happened to our world, what steps needed to be taken next.


It was almost as though the birds were doing the same thing, echoing our concerns, beginning to express their feelings after having survived another onslaught.


"Evensong" was not the result of a single experience, but a distilling of several, a boiling down to the essence of that feeling of kinship with the natural world, the world around us, a world, thank goodness, that had birdsong ... and still does, if we but listen.


The poem:


EVENSONG

Dark clouds scud off
toward the east, while
twilight descends
onto hail-torn foliage,
then from somewhere
overhead, tentative notes
slowly gain strength,
blossoming finally
into full-throated
birdsong near a lone
figure who pauses
on the slope of the hill,
eyes searching vainly
for just a glimpse
of this small creature,
then turns toward home,
less burdened now
for having been given
this healing moment.
 © 1999
(originally published in PKA's Advocate)
Today's word: healing

Monday, February 25, 2013

Departure






Today's poem is not literally true. If it were, it would be about the heat of summer ... like Southern Illinois was when I left home to go into military service.


I've looked back many times on that departure.


I had won a scholarship to study at a Big Ten university. Trouble was, it didn't include bus fare ... and I didn't have any way to get there.


Oh, I had been assured, in a form letter, that there would be part-time employment opportunities ... when I got to campus ... but I never got there ... not to that particular campus, at least.


Instead, I let the scholarship go to someone else ... and entered the only door open to me at the time ... military service.


It was certainly a turning point in my life, a new beginning. It was the biggest move I'd made in my young life. There were to be others. Many others. But none quite as wrenching as this decision ... which had been forced on me.


What I've tried to capture in this metaphor for growing up ... for that entry into what passes for independence ... is the feeling of loneliness that creeps in, the sudden sensation of isolation, the cold, of looking back, being torn between what was ... what is going to be.


The poem:


DEPARTURE

I looked back once,
seeing lights
grown small now,
and dim, silently
giving up their warmth
to the bare-limbed trees.


I kept walking
through the weeping snow,
my collar upturned
against any call
that might somehow
overtake me.
© 1995
(originally published in Midwest Poetry Review)
Today's word: loneliness

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Clear Blue Morning





(I know, the photo doesn't represent a "clear blue morning," but I liked the way the light was hitting the clouds, the way the wind was dancing with the trees, the young leaves overhead, watching it all.)

Most of my life, I have not been a morning person.

Oh, there were times when I grudgingly enjoyed a sunrise, savored the cool morning air during the summer, enjoyed a hearty breakfast.

But most of the time ... my growing up years and my working years ... I found it a real struggle to get my feet on the floor again, to get my eyes open and in focus, simply to get moving. 

I had reasons ... or excuses ... but basically I simply was not a morning person.

Then I retired.

Admittedly, there was a period of transition ... weeks afterward in which I had a deep-seated feeling that I should be dragging my body off to a job someplace. 

But gradually I came around to accepting this new "freedom," this absence of a fixed schedule, except to the extent that I imposed a pattern on myself.

I soon learned the true meaning of "rattling around" ... with nothing in particular on the agenda for the day.

Then I started writing. What a discovery that was! I soon found myself looking forward to mornings so I could resume the activity of the evening before. 

There's just something about the quiet of the morning ... the brain so far uncluttered with details ... the imagination fully wound and ready to go.

Oh, what I had been missing!

And now, the poem:


CLEAR BLUE MORNING

How I savor
fresh dew
between my toes,
melodies
of light beginning
to seize me,
words gathering,
pencil moving
to claim a place
on paper, this.
© 1999
(originally published in Midwest Poetry Review)
Today's word: gathering

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Beauty of It







(Today's photo shows The Little Red Car (of "Squiggles" fame) taking a look back while we were sitting in a parking lot.)

Today's poem, if not on the first reading, then certainly on the second, reveals itself. My poems, after all, display their meaning fairly near the surface.

But the poem, which you may have seen before, came to me again as I was thinking about something which had been on my mind for several months ... 

It came to me during a long, long day which began amid the trimmings of medical science ... the lights, instruments, glowing screens, careful, attentive, caring medical practitioners.

I was a cancer patient, had been undergoing treatment for several months, and there were other treatments remaining. But the prognosis was good.

I didn't spread the word initially because I found it difficult to talk about ... I knew people would have questions ... and I wasn't prepared for that.

Finally, my intuition told me that I needn't keep guarding this as a "secret." 

There was no need to keep the facts any longer from friends, from visitors to this page ... particularly since my oncologist had finally released me from treatment. 

With many thanks for readers' comments ... which helped to keep me going all those busy months ... sustained me ... and with special thanks to Phyllis, who was with me every step of the way, here's the poem:

THE BEAUTY OF IT

The beauty of intuition
is that you don’t have to analyze,
hypothesize, or otherwise

do anything about it:
You may just sit quietly
and let it come to you,

unfolding like a tightly-wound
rosebud transforming itself,
wafting about while you

breathe in an understanding,
an answer to the question
you hadn't even asked.
© 2003
(originally published in Poem)

Today's word: intuition

Friday, February 22, 2013

Air Like Fog








I'll always remember those bluffs, those canyons they embraced, the cool air on the trails, the kind of quiet that is only found in the woods.


Giant City State Park, located in the hills of Southern Illinois, seemed an almost magical place to go when I was a child. 

Alas, I understand that time has taken its toll on the bluffs, and the trails simply are no more. 

But what a treat it was then to trudge those trails, imagining all the others who had walked there before, when it was all wilderness.


As a child I relished family outings there, especially those which extended into the evening, when we'd sit around, watching the crackling flames dancing in a fireplace in one of the shelters, listening to the adults trading stories, hoping to catch some of the night sounds of the woods, too.


Later, I took my own young family there to camp, to go tramping down the same trails I had explored, to let them feast on the same sights and sounds I had enjoyed.


In more recent years, when there were just the two of us on trips back to the place where I grew up, we always managed at least a drive through the park. 

Those drives rekindled so many memories ... so many ...


This poem, which embodies some of those memories, is part of my first collection, Chance of Rain, published by Finishing Line Press:


AIR LIKE FOG


Morning air clings to me like fog
as I enter the deep, cool canyons
that thread the water-rounded bluffs,


where I pause for a moment to look
about, to drink an ancient silence
that flows and deepens while lichens


struggle up the pocked, towering walls,
up, up toward a swallow's nest, high
where clinging ferns await the random


blessings of summer shade and transient
yellow light; then I notice soft-edged
flecks of light dancing on the trail

where others must have stood watching,
where they may have heard, as I do now,
a crow, distant, calling them by name.
© 2005

Today's word: crackling

Thursday, February 21, 2013

They're Watching





I used to see them all the time.

I could hardly set foot out the door without encountering one ... dressed as Santa Claus ... as a witch ... a clown ... a cowboy ... as almost anything ... or anybody ... except what they really were: concrete geese.

And now I can't even find one of the photos I took of them.

I can't imagine where they've all gone ... flown south for the winter? Oh, I hope not. The very thought of them aloft scares me a bit.

Perhaps the fad is ebbing. But while it was here, almost everybody ... at least in my neighborhood ... had at least one ... sometimes more.

Understandable then, that I eventually gave in and wrote something about them ... and here it is:


THEY'RE WATCHING


Concrete geese!
Heads held high,
unblinking
dots for eyes,
they guard
the porches, line
the lawns, ever alert
for the gawkers
wandering by.

They never move,
nor honk, nor
even threaten
hostile action,
but in their cold,
concrete hearts
seem to know
the intentions
of those
who dare even
steal a glance.
© 1998
(originally published in Capper's)


Today's word: gawkers

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Such Silent Grace






I was only a block away from home, fighting the wind all the way from the bus stop, when a flight of birds caught my eye. 


They moved so easily, so gracefully, "as one fluid body" ... a kind of movement that has always intrigued me ... while I remained rooted on the sidewalk, struggling.


They were quite like a school of minnows, quickly changing course, darting this way and that.


Perhaps there was some urgency in their movement ... they may have been seeking shelter from the coming storm ... or they may simply have been exulting in their ability to fly ... and not just to fly, but to fly in such a masterfully coordinated way.


Oh, couldn't we take some lessons from them as we go through life, bumping and jostling each other?


This one received an honorable mention in a Poets' Study Club competition; it also became a part of my first collection, Chance of Rain, published in 2003 by Finishing Line Press:

SUCH SILENT GRACE

A flight of birds
passes like a whisper,
soaring and swooping
as one fluid body,
moving swiftly under
darkening clouds.

Rain-bearing winds
swirl as if echoing
such silent grace,
rocking small trees,
making street signs
dance and chatter,
sending pedestrians
scurrying, holding
onto their hats
as they go leaning
toward home.

Still, these tiny
birds remain aloft,
their movements like
a school of minnows,
rippling, darting,
in their element.

© 2003

Today's word: exulting

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Running the Hurdles




This photo was taken some time ago. I had a new camera ... a new "toy," if you will ... and I understood, from a quick reading of the instructions, that it had a built-in timer which allowed the photographer to be in the picture. 

Aha! A self-portrait! 

I thought I'd try a profile shot ... and I did. Trouble was, I was concerned that nothing seemed to be happening. 

Then, just as I turned to see what had gone wrong, something did happen ... and you see the result. 

It wasn't what I expected, but I never ... almost never ... throw anything away without finding a use for it ... so here it is.
  

Today's poem, I think, cries out for more poetic detail ... and more detail would call for more than its eight short lines could deliver.


The poem may, in fact, have been considerably longer when it was first written ... but I was under the mistaken impression that Capper's only published eight-line poems.


See? I can be brief.


The poem:


RUNNING THE HURDLES

Have you
ever noticed
how many more
things go wrong
when you're trying
to get away
 early, 
or make up
for lost time?
© 1997

Today's word: hurdles

Monday, February 18, 2013

Making It Count







This is one of my "walking poems," written in my early retirement years, when I was in the habit of sitting down at the kitchen table after my daily walk and writing bits and pieces that I could share with Phyllis when she got home from work.

There's nothing profound about it. Still, I think it says a lot.

I like it for the economy of words, for the walking cadence which brought it to me, but also for the outlook: Not that there should be wild partying, as though each day were the last, but that the certainty of today should be seized, taken advantage of, used to do something really worthwhile, against the uncertainty of tomorrow.

I don't recall precisely where I was when it came to me, but I do recall how I felt the rhythm of the words beginning to arrange themselves as I strode along: "I try to do my best today ... "

I still do.

MAKING IT COUNT

I try to do
my best today,
for I may not
have tomorrow.
© 1997
(originally published in Parnassus Literary Journal)

Today's word: cadence

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Late-Night Serenade






I don't like giving away the poem in my opening remarks ... because then there's no incentive to explore the poem, right?

So, okay, this one is about a dog. He wasn't just a dog, but a special personality. Maybe I should just stop there.

We've had a lot of canine neighbors in the years that we've been here at Brimm Manor. There was one small one a couple of doors up ... whose favorite activity seemed to be running in circles and barking at the sun.

Then there was the one who deligted in galloping into the alley, hackles up, barking, barking, barking ... like he really meant business ... when I tried to move our trash container back onto our property.

My favorite, though, was Houdini, who lived right next door. I remember how, soon after they moved in, Houdini barked at me. His owner spoke quietly to him ... I couldn't tell what he said ... and that was the last time Houdini ever barked at me.

We got along famously.

Then there was this other dog ... a situation which could easily become a problem ... but I detect a bit of sympathy in what I wrote about him.

The poem:

LATE-NIGHT SERENADE

Sometimes at midnight, sometimes
three o'clock in the morning,
I hear him pouring out his soul,
and I know he's lonely, or lovesick,
or both, poor fellow, even though
I can't make out the words, just
the emotion of his mournful song
that goes on and on, rising in pitch,
subsiding, resuming, reminding me
of a gray wolf sending a message
somewhere in the wilds. He persists,
night after night, sitting beside
his doghouse, two doors down, nose
pointing heavenward, ears laid back,
howling, yowling, pitifully crying
his poor heart out over a lost bone,
a failed romance, the solitude
of the bachelor's way of life --
something that's obviously bothering
him. And it bothers me that he
doesn't start thinking about it
until I'm trying to get some sleep,
then howls the rest of the night.
© 2002

(originally published in Kaleidoscope)

Today's word: yowling

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Ice-Cold Memories











When I was a youngster, winter was probably my favorite season.

Oh, I could've done without the tingling toes, the fingers sticking to cold metal ... the nose that froze ... but I loved the snow. It was like having a featherbed ... albeit a very cold one ... to romp on.

But that changed.

I suppose age has something to do with it, and I don't know if the weather is becoming more extreme ... or if I am becoming more sensitive to changes ... or it's all just my imagination.

I'm sure of one thing, though, a search of my extensive records would show that today's poem was written in the middle of one of those sizzling summer months when the pavement starts turning to goo and thoughts turn to the prospect of frying an egg on the sidewalk.

And I know this, too, I was looking for ways of surviving.

Ice-cold memories pressed to the sizzling brow may not be the answer, but I think they help. 

The poem:


ICE-COLD MEMORIES

In the root cellar
of my mind
I have memories
of last winter
lying on the shelves
to help me survive
these front-burner
days of summer.

I shall pull them out
one by one, to press
to my sizzling brow,
daily hoping that
I have stored enough
to carry me through
until autumn
comes galloping up.
 © 1995
(originally published in Capper's)
Today's word: sizzling

Friday, February 15, 2013

Handful of Dust







Oh, the memories ... how they come flooding back during quiet moments ... away from the keyboard ... no TV blaring in the background.

Today's poem deals ... seemingly ... with a single memory ... a single day ... a single set of circumstances ... and, when I wrote it, I was thinking about a specific day which stood out in memory.

Looking at it now, I think it's more than that. It must be. 


There were many times that I looked wistfully toward the crest of that hill, wondered what lay beyond ... wanted to find out ... wondered if I ever would.

Well, eventually I did. Oh, did I ever!

But now I seem to be rooted more firmly than ever in those beginnings ... dealing with those bittersweet memories ... finding that the emphasis is more on the second portion of "bittersweet" than on the first.

The poem:

HANDFUL OF DUST

I stood watching a breeze
moving toward me through
hazy green rows of corn,


listened to it overhead
whispering its secrets
to a wafer-dry box elder,


saw it picking up just
a handful of dust,
twirling it, letting it


settle quickly back
to the hoof-pocked soil,
remember thinking


that I might follow,
off somewhere beyond
those barren hills,


but stood drinking
from a rusty tin cup,
dribbled the dregs


on my thirsting toes,
went padding back
where I’d always be.

© 2002

(originally published in Capper's; now part of a manuscript in search of a publisher)

Today's word: twirling

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Giving Advice





(This is an early work by my grandson, Thomas, who has moved on to more serious artistic endeavors ... but I still treasure this piece)

I had a boss, many, many years ago, who repeatedly expressed his concern about "putting out the fire" ... that is, discouraging creative thinking and constructive effort.


He avoided that perceived hazard by not riding herd too closely on his employees. He didn't afford them free rein, of course, but he did want them to think for themselves, to offer suggestions and constructive criticism.


His admonition, "Don't put out the fire," stuck with me long after. It finally begged me to put it to paper. In doing so, I visualized an old man, quite unlike my boss, teaching a rank beginner how to build a fire and to keep it going.


The old man is the narrator, and there is no two-way conversation: We don't hear anything from his young pupil, obviously a good listener. 


There aren't even any quotation marks in this piece. But, despite that violation, I think it works.


I think the poem works on two levels, and I like that.


The poem:

GIVING ADVICE

Now be careful, he said,
or you’ll put out the fire,
the spark, the flame,
the desire that sprang up
and wavered, waiting.

Fan it too much, or pile on
more than it can handle
in its early, struggling,
starved-for-oxygen stage,
and it’s a sure goner.

Neglect it and it’s doomed,
too. Oh, it may flash up
and dance in the darkness,
but it’ll soon burn out,
without some new fuel.

It takes a gentle touch,
the hat back and forth
just so, a sure eye watching
for signs that it can
stand alone, in its own heat.

Remember, he said, plopping
his battered hat back on,
how it was when you started,
how you needed that touch,
that sweet warmth of success.
© 2001
(originally published in Kaleidoscope)

Today's word: success

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Frozen Flight






I'll never understand computers.

One recent morning I woke up to what appeared to be just a normal day. I bounded out of bed when the alarm finally went off ... dashed to the computer to see how many visitors had stopped by to take a look at "Chosen Words" ... and maybe had left a comment.

I stretched and yawned and sat in my squeaky chair in front of the screen. I checked "Chosen Words." Mmmm ... not bad. The numbers are still clicking right along.

Time for another entry.

I said ... Time for another entry. The computer wasn't listening. I tried to log on. I could look, but couldn't touch. I tried again ... and again ... and again.

As usual, I wondered what I had done wrong.

I closed the door softly as I left Brimm Manor and went about the business of running some errands ... getting out for my morning walk, etc.

Much later I returned ... tried again ... and things were working.

Mystery solved? Nope.

But things seem to be working this morning ... and I have a summer poem.

No, sorry, I don't have a picture of a sweat bee to go along with the poem. Those rascals are too tiny, too unpredictable, too fast for me and my camera.

I do have a reminder of summer, however, with today's photo, one of many I've snapped during my daily wanderings ... -er, walks.

The poem itself is almost a haiku moment, a tiny flicker of activity broken off before I became fully focused on what was happening.

But it became a little more than that ... and it carries so many memories of all those places this kind of "stare down" has happened to me over the years.

Originally published in Capper's:

FROZEN FLIGHT

A sweat bee
hovers in my face,
wings invisible
in the heavy air,
then, satisfied
at having won
this stare down,
darts away.
© 1996

Today's word: invisible

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Cradled in the Hand





Here I go again, writing about writing ... and, as usual, I insert an early disclaimer: I'm no expert on the subject ... I'm still learning ... still struggling ...


The subject is one which intrigues me ... challenges me ... sometimes frustrates me ... but I keep going.


I keep going because ... when the result is a finished, polished piece of poetry ... it is so rewarding.


And when someone else reads it, likes it, identifies with it ... maybe even exclaims about it ... well, that's truly a hefty slather of icing on the cake.


I often say that poems come to me ... in the quiet of the night ... or in the midst of a noisy crowd at the mall.


I never know when an idea is going to show itself ... so I'm always prepared ... with a scrap of paper ... a stub of pencil ... or a ballpoint pen ... to try to catch the essence, at least, of that idea.


Later, the real work begins.


I'm sometimes amazed at how that first draft shapes itself on the page. Other times, the idea is there, but the poem isn't ... so I put it aside, let it rest ... and later, sometimes much later, I'll discover it when I'm looking for something else ... there's a new flash of inspiration ... the wheels start turning again ...


I speak of "the perfect poem" in today's posting ... I haven't found that yet in my own writing ... but I keep searching, trying ... and maybe some day ... some day ...


Meanwhile, this one:


CRADLED IN THE HAND

Finding an idea
is a beginning,
but only that.
There must follow
the grinding, shaping,
polishing, plain
hard work that takes
a found stone
on a long journey,
transforming it
to that gifted gem
cradled in the hand
of its creator,
the perfect poem,
alive with light,
singing to us,
dancing across
the ballroom floor
of our memory.
© 1997
(originally published in ByLine)
Today's word: cradled

Monday, February 11, 2013

Bridge Builder








Sometimes, I think, it's best just to let the poem tell its own story. My comments about a poem's beginning ... the inspiration for it ... my purpose in writing it ... in transforming scribbled notes into the finished product ... all of these, sometimes, are helpful.


Today, though, I think I'll just step back and let the poem do the telling ... all of it:

BRIDGE BUILDER

My grandfather built bridges, 
not the bright, towering
monuments to engineering like
those spanning the Mississippi.

His bridges were squat, dark,
wooden things, put up by gangs
of common laborers who spent days,
weeks, sometimes, away from their
families, so trains could go
rolling smoothly across the creeks
and small streams that wrinkled
the face of the earth.

One evening I watched as his
rough, scarred hand gripped a stub
of pencil, and the pilings,
cross-members, all the timbers,
ties and rails took shape across
a ruled page of my writing pad.

His eyes glistened when my small
voice asked how far he had traveled
in this work, eating alien food
that strangers plopped on his plate,
trying to sleep in crowded, hot
bunk cars alongside the mainline.

"Too far, and too long," he said,
and I knew the story was over.

That paper is gone, his bridges
replaced by steel structures,
or abandoned as railroads began
surrendering to the superhighways
and airplanes, but how I wish
I had that little drawing, so I
could slide it out, look at it
again, something of him to hold,
now that I’ve come to appreciate
his most important bridge, those
huge hands reaching out to me,
the child nobody wanted, saying,
"Come ... live with me."

© 2006

(Second place winner, Dayton Metro Library 2006 Poetry Contest)
Today's word: reaching 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Autumn Rain






Thunderstorms were frightening to a youngster growing up in rural Southern Illinois.

They seemed so packed with fury, so unpredictable as they lashed out, leaving so much damage in their wake.

But rain, particularly a gentle rain at night, was a different matter.

I learned to listen to its comforting cadence against the windows or on the roof, to hear the music it contained.


Sometimes it was like a whisper. Sometimes a Saturday night hoedown.

But it was my kind of music. I loved going to sleep to it ... waking up to it ... or just lying there listening to it.

We forget, sometimes, what a gentle, soothing, healing sound rain can make, especially as harsh summer days begin slowly surrendering to the cooler days and cooler nights of autumn.

This poem is about that kind of rain. It was originally published in Capper's, then in my first collection, Chance of Rain, issued by Finishing Line Press, 2003:

AUTUMN RAIN

Struggling awake
to the sound
of trees scratching
at my green roof,
I see their limbs
swaying against
rolling clouds.

Dancing lightning,
slanting drops,
steady drone
of falling water;
trees, docile now,
guiding droplets
to thirsting soil,
I turn my pillow
cool side up,
go drifting off
in this cradling
sea of sound.
 © 2003
Today's word: hoedown

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Strawberry Wine





(Barely a watercolor sketch ... one of many I've done while on my daily walks, exploring the countryside, avoiding the confines of closed spaces, when weather permits ... but I just thought I'd share it today.)



Today's poem is about lunar eclipse. 


I think it's about other things, too: It's a love poem, a poem about the exhilaration, if not intoxication, that comes from quietly, thoughtfully observing nature.


That's what I thought when the poem came to me after watching a lunar eclipse with Phyllis.

 
Those moments on that winter night brought back so many memories for me, principally the red of all those strawberries against all that green of the fields. 


It reminded me of the strawberry wine I once saw as a child. It reminded me of so many things.


I had faith in that little poem. I had faith in it when I presented it at a workshop, where the moderator dismissed it with the comment that "the writer was obviously drunk on words when he wrote this."


I couldn't help thinking that he had given it a rather superficial reading. 


But he was partly right. I was "drunk on words." I still am ... in the sense of enjoying that elation which comes from having listened carefully to the words coming to me, then having written them equally as carefully on the page. 


I maintained my faith in this little poem, and I am so glad I didn't give up on it. 


Now it has been published in the noted literary journal, Plainsongs. It is also the title poem of a 64-poem collection looking for a publisher.


And now, here it is:


Strawberry Wine ...


We stood gazing through the tangle

of dark branches suddenly still,
holding the moon in a vast silence,

watching, as others must have done
eons ago, wondering at this sight,
this transfiguration taking place

as the silvered moon glided slowly
into the shadow of a frozen earth,
going golden, pink, then deepening

red of strawberry wine translucent
in the glass, bearing the aroma
of fields snowed over with blossoms

and redolent of ripeness, that fruit
hiding in the quivering green leaves,
the sun bearing down, and now this,

this sweetness of witnessing a most
ancient of miracles, going to bed
with the distinctive taste of it

on our tongues, the scent of it
lingering on our measured breaths,
sleeping heavily, as though drugged.
© 2005 

(published in the Fall, 2005 issue of Plainsongs; received a special honorable mention in a ByLine contest; now the title poem of a manuscript in search of a publisher)


Today's word: redolent