The Second Side

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When you stop believing in coincidence, paranoia is only a heartbeat away.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

A Poem For Ye

I sat in my chair tonight before film class (we watched "Aliens" tonight—life is hard, I know) reading Delights and Shadows, a book of poetry by U.S. Poet Laureate and Nebraska native Ted Kooser. I came across this poem that so moved me I just had to share it.


Mid April already, and the wild plums
bloom at the roadside, a lacy white
against the exuberant, jubilant green
of new grass and the dusty, fading black
of burned-out ditches. No leaves, not yet,
only the delicate, star-petaled
blossoms, sweet with their timeless perfume.

You have been gone a month today
and have missed three rains and one nightlong
watch for tornadoes. I sat in the cellar
from six to eight while fat spring clouds
went somersaulting, rumbling east. Then it poured,
a storm that walked on legs of lightning,
dragging its shaggy belly over the fields.

The meadowlarks are back, and the finches
are turning from green to gold. Those same
two geese have come to the pond again this year,
honking in over the trees and splashing down.
They never nest, but stay a week or two
then leave. The peonies are up, the red sprouts
burning in circles like birthday candles,

for this is the month of my birth, as you know,
the best month to be born in, thanks to you,
everything ready to burst with living.
There will be no more new flannel nightshirts
sewn on your old black Singer. no birthday card
addressed in a shaky but businesslike hand.
You asked me if I would be sad when it happened

and I am sad. But the iris I moved from your house
now hold in the dusty dry fists of their roots
green knives and forks as if waiting for dinner,
as if spring were a feast. I thank you for that.
Were it not for the way you taught me to look
at the world to see the life at play in everything,
I would have to be lonely forever.


Blogger Tree said...

This is a beautiful poem, not only for the sentiment, but for the way the language feels thick and full in the mouth. A feast of words.

Thank you for sharing it.

11:54 PM  
Blogger Fletcher said...

I was going to post My Mother's day 2000 poem. I'm glad I didn't I shall have to wait for the awesomisity of this to pass before I do.

Tree, dearest. You taunt me with your innuendo.

12:46 PM  
Blogger Tricia said...

Were it not for the way you taught me to look
at the world to see the life at play in everything,
I would have to be lonely forever.

We all need someone to do that for us I think.

I loved the visuals of moving her iris. Some 'thing' that we carry with us to replace the loss. A physical reminder.

Very touching.

7:31 PM  
Blogger Davis said...

And I cry.

9:51 PM  
Blogger Jimmy said...

Tree: So glad you liked it. This guy is amazing in his ability to be so descriptive of the ordinary. You're exactly right, but I'm talking to the master ;)

Fletcher: I think I'm speaking for everyone when I say we'd love to see your poem. And I must've been tired, because I missed Tree's innuendo. Thanks for pointing it out.

Tricia: The iris was a favorite passage of mine, also. The birthday cards in a shaky, businesslike hand made me think of my grandmother. I miss those cards.

Davis: Hopefully, we won't have to cry for a long, long time, my brother.

10:36 PM  

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