It leaps, breaking the skin of the lake of possibility, this thing that flashes steel— this trout of a poem, wild with life, rainbow scales and spiny fins. Now, for patience, the pull of the catch:
I cast, wait for the jerk—the tug of the hook in bony jaw— feel the line go taut. The ballet begins, a wrestle to land this flailing, feral thing—all thrash and edge— and tame it into telling its own muscular story.
I heave it over the edge of its arrival, glorious, fighting the whole way, slippery as language. Its beauty twitches on the floor boards, its glisten spilling over the bottom of my notebook page.
The pale bits—twigs, fibers, pine needles—sun-struck, fall through the lazy air as if yearning to be embodied in my knitting, like gold flecks woven into a ceremonial robe.
Then surprise—a new marvel! Like a parachutist, a very small beetle lands on the greeny stitch I have just passed from left needle to right; the creature’s burnished carapace mirrors precisely the loop of glowing, silky yarn that he has chosen.
When this shawl ends up warming someone’s shoulders, will she sense the unexpected— this glance, this gleam, this life spark?
The bell-ringers rise and fall with the weight of their bells, holding on for dear life to the pulls, the ropes rough in their hands, the young ones lifted up, up from the belfry floor like adolescent angels treading air, as if so caught up in those peals of sound—each of them in turn answering the plea of ponderous metal— they feel like feathers in a wind.
Consecrated, cassocked, gathered for this task of intricate rhythm-ing, they learn to weave their way through the ring-patterns like pigeons to the dovecote over the cadences of distance. Even a mile away we ourselves sway like bells, snared
A striking and apt image enhances the cover of this new collection of interviews with 19 leading American poets. An antique chair sits half in shadow; its cane seat, crossed by a beam of light, filters bright intricacies onto the legs, the dowels, the timbered floor. The message here is illumination, from a source offstage.
The forest floor bleak, choked with old leaves, winter wet. Against the evidence, buds on the wild dogwoods glisten, listen for a signal, lining up for bloom-time—when to burst and who'll be first? Every year, it's all according to weather, the wait for the heat-throb, wind fresh through the naked birch trunks longing to get green. The pressure's on, like listening for a starter pistol, finger on the trigger.
Spring is wound tight enough to let go any minute. Overarching the ravine, the cedars start their annual scatter of yellow sexual dust for the next generation. The clematis resists her tedium of cold and brown, cancels her winter sleep with a vertical thrust up the trellis, like a slow shooting star.
How can we help but hope, sprouts urged to fulfill a kind of promise— a covenant with the world that in unfolding, leaf tips flaring up and out, woody hearts pregnant with bloom and blessing, we will drink rain, light, heat for our emerald living. We face the sun full on—its lavish encouragement for cold to lift, shift, and move away. Holding on, ready for that shiver, a sliver of thrill like a jade thread through a labyrinth, when within us something fresh and green explodes.
Stability is greatly overrated. Why would I ever want to sit still and smug as a rock, confident, because of my great weight, that I will not be moved? Better to be soft as water, easily troubled, with at least three modes of being, able to shape- shift, to mirror, to cleanse, to drift downstream, To roar when I encounter the rock.
Simple yet magical. A poem about something commonplace but captivating enough to seduce money from people's wallets--a rain stick (for listening to; it has no other use, and is, to say the least, a momentary experience).
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