Poem of the week from Poetry
We don’t see the ocean, not ever, but in July and August
when the worst heat seems to rise from the hard clay
of this valley, you could be walking through a fig orchard
when suddenly the wind cools for a moment
you get a whiff of salt, and in that moment you can almost
believe something is waiting beyond Pacheco Pass,
something missive, irrational, and so powerful even
the mountains that rise east of here have no word for it.
You probably think I’m nuts saying the mountains
have no word for ocean, but if you live here
you begin to believe they know everything.
They maintain that huge silence we think of as divine,
a silence that grows in autumn when the snow falls
slowly between the pines and the wind dies
to less than a whisper and you can barely catch
your breath because you’re thrilled and terrified.
You have to remember this isn’t your land.
It belongs to no one, like the sea you once lived beside
and thought was yours. Remember the small boats
that bobbed out as the waves rode in, and the men
who carved down to nothing. Now you say this home,
so go ahead, worship mountains as they dissolve into dust,
wait on the wind, catch a scent of salt, call it our life.
Kate Daniels is going to be featured on Poetry Daily this Saturday.
As the title to this post suggests, I heard Blue Christmas by Elvis this morning on my way to school. I love the holidays, don’t get me wrong, but it seems a little premature to be playing Christmas music already. Although, my sister sent me a picture message this morning showing at least six inches of snow at their house in Pennsylvania. Perhaps it’s closer than I think…