One sun rose on us today, kindled over our shores,
peeking over the Smokies, greeting the faces
of the Great Lakes, spreading a simple truth
across the Great Plains, then charging across the Rockies.
One light, waking up rooftops, under each one, a story
told by our silent gestures moving behind windows.
I don’t remember hearing if there was a poem read at this year’s inauguration—I was in a bit of a funk— but I think it is a fine tradition. Blanco read his poem, One Today, at President Obama’s second inauguration in 2013.
I love the image of the sun “charging across the Rockies.”
leave us half-faded.
Aye que Burque!
She’s one crazy lady!
—Carlos Contreras Time Served
I discovered Albuquerque poet Carlos Contreras in the AAA New Mexico magazine and was pleased to find his book at my local library.
From the interview: “Like exercise is good for the body, words are good for the heart and soul.” I couldn’t agree more.
I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite overcanopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet muskroses, and with eglantine.
There sleeps Titania sometime of the night.
Lulled in these flowers with dances and delights.
And there the snake throws her enameled skin,
Weed wide enough to wrap a fairy in.
And with the juice of this I’ll streak her eyes
And make her full of hateful fantasies.
—William Shakespeare A Midsummer Night’s Dream Act 2. Sc.1
It was a hectic week with taxes and travel. To make up for the missed Monday and Tuesday posts here are a few lines of Shakespeare’s. His birthday is tomorrow.
Several months ago I discovered the book How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare by Ken Ludwig. It turns out it works pretty well for adults too!
We all want to see a mammal.
Squirrels & snowshoe hares don’t count.
Voles don’t count. Something, preferably,
that could do us harm.
Across the country from Connecticut to Mississippi* to California bears are waking up and lumbering out of their dens.
No sign of them in my neighborhood yet–I’m hoping there’s enough food on the mountain to satisfy them and keep them out of trouble.
*Natchez: A wildlife biologist is warning people not to feed a young black bear that’s been wandering the streets of downtown. US Today 4/19/17
Traveling through the dark I found a deer
dead on the edge of the Wilson River road.
It is usually best to roll them into the canyon:
that road is narrow; to swerve might make more dead.
Years ago I heard my first William Stafford poem on the radio program Writer’s Almanac. Garrison Keillor mentioned that Stafford was born in Hutchinson, Kansas in 1914 and I was curious to know more about him. Much to my surprise he had graduated from Liberal High School, my high school, but I don’t remember ever hearing him mentioned. Maybe I wasn’t paying attention.
I’ve been looking for the perfect poem of his to share but have been unable to find the one about minnows that I wanted to post. The one linked below is a new one to me, a chance encounter on a dark road.
Traveling through the Dark
Jays land on the muscles of his branches, breasts high,
Churning their infinite tones. Spiders trace a path
along his long legs, up the dusty window of his body.
The forest man spells of pine and chocolate mints.
The piñon trees in my yard and around town are dying. Not all of them, but enough of them to be alarming. Too hot, too many years of drought—I will miss them and wonder where the birds will go. Check out the entire poem here.
Don’t worry, spiders,
I keep house
My housekeeping philosophy until the imminent arrival of company. Time to get out the dust mop—all spiders have got to go!
An Alternate Route
Nature (unlike some
treats us like adults:
we must discover all
its glory by ourselves.
Imagine how disheartening
if wandering inside this
intricate wood we came upon
small placards reading—
TURN LEFT for Quaking Aspen.
MERGING STREAM AHEAD.
SLOW DOWN: Strawberries.
I found this poem in the Poetry Issue of our local weekly, The Santa Fe Reporter. It was my favorite of the bunch and makes me feel like I need to get outside, see what’s new.
a big-nosed roan gelding, calm as a president’s portrait
lives in the rectangle that leads to the stalls. We call it
the motel lobby. Wise old campaigner, he dunks his
hay in the water bucket to soften it, then visits the others
who hang their heads over their dutch doors. Sometimes
he sprawls out flat to nap in his commodious quarters.
One of my favorites—a poem about a horse named Jack and so much more.
The little goats like my mouth and fingers,
and one stands up against the wire fence, and taps on the fence board
a hoof made blacker by the dirt of the field.
I discovered Pescadero and Mark Doty in The New Yorker. The magazine recently launched a new feature on Twitter, a poem a day from their archives. Check it out at @tnypoetry.
Yes. I know my formatting was messed up on yesterday’s poem-—the trials of trying to post from a smart phone. It’s fixed now.