January 6, 2010

All secrets sleep in winter clothes


Alain Bizos, L'homme aux tomates, 1984

For the Fog Horn When There Is No Fog
-- by Sarah Hannah

Still sounding in full sun past the jetty,
While low tide waves lap trinkets at your feet,

And you skip across dried trident trails,
Fling weeds, and do not think of worry.

For the horn that blares although you call it stubborn,
In error, out of place. For the ridicule endured,

And the continuance.
You can count out your beloved—crustaceans—

Winking in spray, still breathing in the wake,
Beneath the hooking flights of gulls,

Through the horn's threnody.
Count them now among the moving. They are.

For weathervane and almanac, ephemeris and augur,
Blameless seer versed in bones, entrails, landed shells.

For everything that tries to counsel vigilance:
The surly sullen bell, before the going,

The warning that reiterates across
The water: there might someday be fog

(They will be lost), there might very well
Be fog someday, and you will have nothing

But remembrance, and you will have to learn
To be grateful.


Adding It Up
-- by Philip Booth

My mind's eye opens before
the light gets up. I
lie awake in the small dark,
figuring payments, or how
to scrape paint; I count
rich women I didn't marry.
I measure bicycle miles
I pedaled last Thursday
to take off weight; I give some
passing thought to the point
that if I hadn't turned poet
I might well be some other
sort of accountant. Before
the sun reports its own weather
my mind is openly at it:
I chart my annual rainfall,
or how I'll plant seed if
I live to be fifty. I look up
words like "bilateral symmetry"
in my mind's dictionary; I consider
the bivalve mollusk, re-pick
last summer's mussels on Condon Point,
preview the next red tide, and
hold my breath: I listen hard
to how my heart valves are doing.
I try not to get going
too early: bladder permitting,
I mean to stay in bed until six;
I think in spirals, building
horizon pyramids, yielding to
no man's flag but my own.
I think a lot of Saul Steinberg:
I play touch football on one leg,
I seesaw on the old cliff, trying
to balance things out: job,
wife, children, myself.
My mind's eye opens before
my body is ready for its
first duty: cleaning up after
an old-maid Basset in heat.
That, too, I inventory:
the Puritan strain will out,
even at six a.m.; sun or no sun,
I'm Puritan to the bone, down to
the marrow and then some:
if I'm not sorry I worry,
if I can't worry I count.


Quarry
-- by Melissa Stein

As you slept
I was thinking about the quarry,
about light going deeper
into earth, into rock, the hurt
of light hitting layers
that should be hidden,
that should be buried,

and how it rained
for a long time that absence filled
with suffering, and we swam

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That Philip Booth poem is a great find. Thanks.

11:27 AM  

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