As I watch the April sunrise across
the turbulent waters I am reminded again
of my place beneath cedar and pine
while sitting on the rocks with two puppies.
To Jackson Pollock
Last night somebody murdered a young tree on Seventh Avenue
between 18th and 19th—only two in that block,
and just days ago we’d taken refreshment in the crisp and particular shade
of that young ginkgo’s tight leaves, its beauty and optimism,
though I didn’t think of that word until the snapped trunk this morning,
a broken broomstick discarded, and tell me what pleasure
could you take from that? Maybe I understand it,
the sudden surge of rage and the requirement of a gesture,
but this hour I place myself firmly on the side of thirst,
the sapling’s ambition to draw from the secret streams
beneath this city, to lift up our subterranean waters.
Power in a pointless scrawl now on the pavement.
Pollock, when he swung his wild arcs in the barn-air
by Accabonac, stripped away incident and detail till all
that was left was swing and fall and return,
austere rhythm deep down things, beautiful
because he’s subtracted the specific stub and pith,
this wreck on the too-hot pavement where scavengers
spread their secondhand books in the scalding sunlight.
Or maybe he didn’t. Erase it I mean: look into the fierce ellipse
of his preserved gesture, and hasn’t he swept up every bit,
all the busted and incomplete, half-finished and lost?
Alone in the grand rooms of last century’s heroic painters
—granted entrance, on an off day, to a museum
with nobody, thank you, this once nobody talking—
and for the first time I understood his huge canvases
were prayers. No matter to what. And silent as hell;
he rode the huge engine of his attention toward silence,
and silence emanated from them, and they would not take no
for an answer, though there is no other. Forget supplication,
beseechment, praise. Look down
into it, the smash-up swirl, oil and pigment and tree-shatter:
tumult in equilibrium.
“Return” by Jim Harrison
The sun’s warm against slats of the granary,
a puddle of ice in the shadow of the steps;
my uncle’s hound
across the winter wheat,
fresh green cold green.
The windmill long out of use, screeches
and twists in the wind.
Spring day, too loud for talk,
when bones tire of their flesh
and want something better.
With April just around the corner, National Poetry Month is upon us. I will be posting selections from writers I have been influenced by over the years, including John Haines of course, to this blog and over at Stone Path Review. If anyone has suggested writers and personal favorites please share here as I would love to expand my library and keep poetry alive and relevant.
As the months melt away
into weeks and days
the memories become stronger
bouncing from everywhere
fast and furious they
fill waking thoughts
and serve as a reminder
that reminiscing not only
keeps someone’s memory alive
but reminds you of the path
they created for you
of the person they believed you are.
Winter is finally put to rest, for now,
as the sky turns black
and the forest bends
in the hour filled
with frequent strikes
and increasing intensity,
the dry earth quick
to give up secrets,
quick to burn
before the rain arrives.