Wednesday (More Rain and Marie Howe)

I read all of Kingdom of Ordinary Time yesterday afternoon. I was sitting in my office and it was on my desk. I couldn’t help myself and before I knew it a good hour and half had passed and I had to leave. Of course, this was the first reading and I’ll go back through the book many times, but this is my favorite poem so far.

Reading Ovid

The thing about the Greeks and Romans is that
at least mythologically,

they could get mad. If the man broke your heart, if he
fucked your sister speechless

then real true hell broke loose:
“You know that stew you just ate for dinner, honey—

It was your son.”
That’s Ovid for you.

A guy who knows how to tell a story about people who
really don’t believe the Golden Rule.

Sometimes I fantasize saying to the man I married, “You know
that hamburger you just

gobbled down with relish and mustard? It was
your truck.”

If only to watch understanding take his face
like the swan-god took the girl.

But rage makes for more rage–nothing to do then but run.
And because rage is a story that has

no ending, we’d both have to transform into birds or fish:
constellations forever fixed

in the starry heavens, forever separated,
forever attached.

Remember the story of Athens and Sparta?
That boy held the fox under his cloak

and didn’t flinch. A cab driver told me the part
I couldn’t remember this morning–

in Sparta he said it was permissible to steal
but not get caught.

The fox bit and scratched; the kid didn’t talk,
and he was a hero.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,
Jesus said. He said The kingdom of heaven

is within you.
And the spiked wheel ploughed through the living centuries

minute by minute, soul by soul. Ploughs still. That’s the good news
and the bad news, isn’t it?

Marie Howe

Tuesday (Storms) Musings

This is a day for sleep and hot tea.

I received two poetry collections yesterday, Kingdom of Ordinary Time by Marie Howe and Origami Bridges by Diane Ackerman. I can’t wait to start reading them.

I’m also putting together a few more poetry submissions before summer hits. Let the rejections roll.

History of Hurricanes

Because we cannot know—

we plant crops, make love in the light of our not-knowing

A Minuteman prods cows from the Green with his musket,
his waxed paper windows snapping in the wind,
stiletto stalks in the herb garden upright—Now

blown sideways—Now weighted down in genuflection,

not toward,

And a frail man holding an Imari teacup paces at daybreak
in his courtyard in Kyoto

a cherry tree petaling the stones pink and slippery
in the weeks he lay feverish

waiting for word from the doctor, checking for signs—Now

in the season of earthenware sturdiness and dependency
it must begin, the season of his recovery

No whirling dervish on the radar, no radar, no brackets
no voices warning—no Voice—fugue of trees, lightning

Because we cannot know, we imagine

What will happen to me without you?

I know some things I remember—

the Delaware River two stories high inside the brick houses
cars floating past Trenton like a regiment on display
brown water climbing our basement stairs two at a time

Like months of remission—
the eye shifts

the waxed paper windows
burst behind the flapping shutters—

and how could he save his child after that calm,
a man who’d never seen a roof sheared off?

Across town the ninth graders in their cutoffs:
Science sucks, they grouse. Stupid history of hurricanes.

No one can remember one;

velocity, storm surge—
the earth churns as Isabel rips through Buzzard’s Bay

A hurricane, as one meaning has it:
a large crowded assembly of fashionable people at a private house

The river cannot remember its flooding—

I worry you will forget to check
the watermarks in time

An echo of feet on stone is all the neighbors
knew of their neighbor,
a lover of cherry trees

and of his wife who prayed for him at the shrine,
her hair swept up in his favorite onyx comb

Teresa Cader