Arts+Culture

Arts+Culture

We Are the Eighth Day, © Melanie Weidner

Poetry

Sphinx

            I like to compare notes with him,
            to count the shades of blue
            on a kingfisher’s back . . .
                                                —Robert Cording

“Come see this creature before I cut it loose,”
my husband calls to me from the garage, something large
and winged thrashing on a spider’s thread
dangling down from the opened garage door—
no holy ghost but a moth, caught there by a wing
until he lifts the silk rigging down with a broom.
The flailing insect twirls like an acrobat till he lays it,
freed, in the grass. Tired, it doesn’t move. We admire
and leave it, go about the business of our days.
May it recover . . . may it not become prey
for the neighbor’s cat . . . Later,
when I remember to look again, it’s flown.
(Like your souls, I want to take up the old healing grief metaphor,
speaking to my lost father, my mother, my nephew, my grandmother . . .
Flown like your souls, to some heaven we can’t—
or can—imagine, or map . . .)
That night, having lost our chance if not the means
to identify it surely, we puzzle over the moth book, pointing:
this? Or this? Or this?—(some type of sphinx)—joined in spirit
as in body in our human need to capture and release meaning, feel
the touch of beloved skin: and keep safe all the facts and fancies
of our world, with their attendant terrors and grace, the mystery
of the present moment and the escaping future, heart to hand.

Poetry

Eye on the sparrow

                                 —for Bruce Richards

Tiny, almost an anti-weight,
if it blew off my palm in the wind I might not even notice.
Dashing against the back porch glass,
the bird fell onto logs I’d stacked there, or rather heaped.
I loaded our wood more neatly out in the shed
but this jumble of lumber reminded me
my life lacked grace.

Wind didn’t kill the bird but misprision.
My oldest daughter had just given birth to twins,
and I was thinking of them of course
when I saw the sparrow. We’re in a hopeful season.
I’d like to imagine new beginnings,
not ponder for instance the self-styled Christian Warriors
I heard about lately, devoted to killing police,

to launching Armageddon.
They claim these are days of Antichrist,
and I could almost agree—for other reasons.
Thou shalt not murder is among the Commandments,
I’d remind the warriors,
all nine of whom live in Michigan,
a place near hell in this near Depression.

Days are bad worldwide,
though in gospel God’s eye takes in the smallest sparrow.
Vile hooligans among us storm
over having a president who’s other than white.
We’re all human, and none of us saved,
and—as the old Greek said—
it might have been best if we’d never been born.

And yet to imagine a world devoid of hope
is too easy and lazy, I decide.
Outside the odors of spring fly in on the wind:
damp mulch, old ice, wet mud and sap.
The sugar-makers hope for a few more gallons,
hope for a few more years, to be with my children.
I open the stove, sweep the bird in.









Poetry

Spring

It’s distracting, everything’s changing wherever I look;
an electric blue patch of squill nearly makes me crash,
and all the twigs are, suddenly, beaded with leaf buds,
while the yellowness of the willows is brightening hourly.
I park so I can watch, I jump out of the car
and dance along, I’m beaming like a lunatic,
and really, you’d think I’d be used to it by now,
I’ve seen it happening over fifty times
in many different places; I should know
that as soon as these words are written, they’ll be old;
the leaf buds will be emerald. You’d think
I’d give up trying to catch the delicate
insinuation of the air, which can’t be caught;
the words collapse, they tumble and mesh together
breezily interlaced in a tangle of green,
the yellow caravel entirely madrigal,
and every jonquil ravishment squeezed fresh.
Film

The Last Station

The Last Station is a complex but entertaining study of a 48-year marriage and the way subtle and extreme changes that take place in each partner can take a terrifying toll on the relationship.
Poetry

Olin Lake

Behind us, the channel half-clogged
by bullhead lilies slips back
into the smoke of yellow tamaracks
clouding the shore and we glide
on the silk of a dream so deep, herring
break the surface from eighty feet below.

I am this hand skimming the water.
I am these eyes dazzled by light.

I am you whom I loved
before the seas were parted.

I am in the creak of wood,
old harmony of oars.