Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Country Roads

by Joyce Sutphen



It was one of those days
when the sun poured gold
into the air, and flecks of
light floated in shafts that
fell through the branches
of yellow leaf and green.
We’d had dinner at a place
on the edge of a lake, and
now we were going back
to town. There was a simple
way to get there, but she
didn’t take it. Instead, we
drove the country roads
with the corn rows flicking by,
each one visible for a half
second, then gone. “Hello,
hello, hello,” they said, then
“Good-bye, bye, bye, bye.”
The soybeans, we agreed,
had turned burgundy overnight,
but it was the cornfields we
watched, as if we were waiting
for the waters to open, as if
we might cross over Jordan.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Sunday in CinCity

Fairbanks Under the Solstice

Slowly, without sun, the day sinks
toward the close of December.
It is minus sixty degrees.

Over the sleeping houses a dense
fog rises—smoke from banked fires,
and the snowy breath of an abyss
through which the cold town
is perceptibly falling.

As if Death were a voice made visible, 
with the power of illumination...

Now, in the white shadow
of those streets, ghostly newsboys
make their rounds, delivering 
to the homes of those
who have died of the frost
word of the resurrection of Silence.


Honey-Haired Girl has moved to Alaska. The Land of the Midnight Sun. The Last Frontier. Hubby was up there for about two weeks to get her settled. I was just up there for Thanksgiving. She's doing well; thank you for asking. I believe the lowest temperatures were hovering at -18, and the sun is up for about 5 hrs. And, by "up," I mean it drifts along the horizon. It's dark by 4 pm. The roads are essentially packed ice and I'm thankful for the tossed gravel. It's difficult to leave your child in such a harsh environment.

A co-worker reminded me that we must let our children live their lives. She had memorized this poem and recited it to me as she was setting up to place a central IV line into a patient.

May God bless the arrows. And, give this bow a good night's sleep. Tomorrow is soon enough to shop for cross country skis and warmer mittens.

(photos from Creamers Field Wildlife Migratory Sanctuary in Fairbanks, Alaska)


On Children
 Kahlil Gibran
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.


Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanks Giving

Thanks

by WS Merwin, 1927


Listen
with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridges to bow for the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water looking out
in different directions.
back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you
looking up from tables we are saying thank you
in a culture up to its chin in shame
living in the stench it has chosen we are saying thank you
over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the back door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks that use us we are saying thank you
with the crooks in office with the rich and fashionable
unchanged we go on saying thank you thank you
with the animals dying around us
our lost feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us like the earth
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
we are saying thank you and waving
dark though it is

Monday, November 14, 2016



Remnants still visible

          by  Marge Piercy




Robins migrate, all schoolchildren
learn but here on the Cape, every
winter a flock forms and stays,
long frigid months after their
compatriots have flown south.
They live deep in the woods on
hips and berries wizened by cold.
Sometimes they appear here
among the feeder birds, one
or two almost outcasts.
Off Alaska when humpback whales
leave in fall as the waters freeze
and the world turns white, heading
for mating grounds off Hawaii
and Mexico, certain whales remain.
What makes a creature stay when
almost all of its kind have moved on?
In burned-out areas of Detroit,
you’ll notice one house still wears
curtains, a bike locked to the porch.
Sometimes in the suburbs among
tract houses with carpets of grass
one farmhouse lurks, maybe even
with a barn. I imagine its owner
grey and stubborn, still growing
the best tomatoes for miles, refusing
to plant inedible grass, fighting
neighbors about her chickens,
a rooster who crows at four,
her clothesline a flag of defiance.
I believe in the days ahead poetry will be needed. Words from those who have walked these paths and know the landmarks and twisted turns that lie ahead.