This is my favorite poem from the book that sprung from this project, Rivers, Rails, and Runways:
Elegy for an Autumn Day
After Rilke and Hass
The wind’s flute is the trees, the wind’s drum
my son’s kite flapping with a face of the sun,
the leaves are fire or fireworks, the sky
blue, swimmable, cold. You’d say
everything about this moment is good,
one daughter runs across the grass, goldenrod
blows behind her like the sun’s own sea,
the other daughter rests against stone, reads
a book, hums a fairytale into what we can taste
of sweet air, the pungent fresh decay
like the smell of old skin or the root of wild carrot,
white, gleaming, when you pluck it
from its place, pull apart the complex lace
of white flowers and hold them to your face,
but the scent is already put somewhere else
by the wind, this picture of my boy, my girls,
my wife bending to my daughter’s hair
burns away to nothing but this song, these bare
words out of my chest, my sad throat, my sadder mouth, while flocks of swallows scatter south
and disappear. Even the fingers of the trees
are gone or changed, the leaves
fallen and falling, the stones around us nothing
but stones getting smaller, wearing
away. And still
you want to stay here forever in the chilled
air singing with sounds of my daughters’
laughter, my son’s fierce hold on his kite, the water’s
tinny music from the creek, everything dying
and alive, alive and dying, everything.
Initially I was going to start posting poems about winter, but I think I’m just going to start posting poems for the week. I’ll begin doing this tomorrow. I’m also going to try and keep up a bit better with my blogging. Our replacement Mac arrived Friday, so I think it will be a little easier to work from home.
This is a poem of C. Dale Young’s that I read on his blog. I started following his blog for the project for MSU and I thought this poem was devastatingly beautiful:
There was the knife and the broken syringe
then the needle in my hand, the Tru-Cut
followed by the night-blue suture.
The wall behind registration listed a man
with his face open. Through the glass doors,
I saw the sky going blue to black as it had
24 hours earlier when I last stood there gazing off
into space, into the nothingness of that town.
Bat to the head. Knife to the face. They tore
down the boy in an alleyway, the broken syringe
skittering across the sidewalk. No concussion.
But the face torn open, the blood congealed
and crusted along his cheek. Stitch up the faggot
in bed 6 is all the ER doctor had said.
Queasy from the lack of sleep, I steadied
my hands as best I could after cleaning up
the dried blood. There was the needle
and the night-blue suture trailing behind it.
There was the flesh torn and the skin open.
I sat there and threw stitch after stitch
trying to put him back together again.
When the tears ran down his face,
I prayed it was a result of my work
and not the work of the men in the alley.
Even though I knew there were others to be seen,
I sat there and slowly threw each stitch.
There were always others to be seen. There was
always the bat and the knife. I said nothing,
and the tears kept welling in his eyes.
And even though I was told to be “quick and dirty,”
told to spend less than 20 minutes, I sat there
for over an hour closing the wound so that each edge
met its opposing match. I wanted him
to be beautiful again. Stitch up the faggot in bed 6.Each suture thrown reminded me I would never be safe
in that town. There would always be the bat
and the knife, always a fool willing to tear me open
to see the dirty faggot inside. And when they
came in drunk or high with their own wounds,
when they bragged about their scuffles with the knife
and that other world of men, I sat there and sutured.
I sat there like an old woman and sewed them up.
Stitch after stitch, the slender exactness of my fingers
attempted perfection. I sat there and sewed them up.
C. Dale Young
Interesting review of Yusef Komunyakka’s book.
If you’ve never looked at the Post Secret website, you should. My recent viewing yesterday gave me an idea for a new series of poems.