Risen

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
This entry is part 36 of 92 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2011

 

And after winter, the plants I thought
had surely perished in hardscrabble
soil, now signal their return: once dry,
the arms of the hydrangea now push
tight-woven clusters of veined green;
along the ground, runners roll aside
the stones and begin to edge the walk.
Everywhere, aspect of light that hid before
behind curtains of fog or sheets of snow
or blinding rain. Vivid gash of peonies,
new swelling throats— lilies speckling
with pollen dust: as though a season
wracked turns now from a long fast.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

Singing Bowl

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
This entry is part 34 of 92 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2011

 

Malleable heart, mouth open to the sky and rain,
my discipline is to learn your one singing note—

to fish it out of the depths of a fountain like a penny
someone tossed there long ago, or like the sun

in hiding. Not so easy to twirl the simple
wooden mallet, learn how the wrist must circle

lightly around the rim; or when it comes, how to loft
its brassy bangle, let it eddy across the grass.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

Dear season of hesitant but clearing light,

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
This entry is part 32 of 92 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2011

 

I see a trace of moon yet, though morning
is fully on its way. What flutters through
the screens of bamboo as if on the strains
of a highland flute? I love those times
when the body has not completely left
what embraced it last; when coming
down the stairs it glances back at the bed
where it lay, reviewing the rousing
and the gathering up of things, the lingering
farewell; unlatching doors, going out
and walking past the jasmine bushes just
starting to put out their little stars.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
This entry is part 31 of 92 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2011

 

Who ordered rain? Who ordered tea?
Order ham and croissants, bubbly with cheese.
Order sheets of fondant. Practice French.
Say tuileries, say pamplemousse.
Tuck your hair behind your ear, pick up
your fork, don your bib. Pick up the hot
crust with your fingers. Don’t eat like a bird.
Don’t you love ribs? Hand me a plum.
What’s that wrapped in paper?
Who heard? The leaves are buzzing
with news of the world.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

Territories

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
This entry is part 30 of 92 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2011

 

At a Mexican taqueria with my ten-year-old for lunch: the walls are vivid maize and papaya slashed with green. A family of clay lizards slithers cobalt and lime up the walls: What is poetry? I ask them, because a student has just come to me confessing he has discovered, after all, his poet’s heart. For a while, he was unsure about this territory. They don’t say anything, of course; they merely suspend against the stucco, cool in the noonday haze. If a petal from the forsythia in bloom at the edge of the woods drifts into the dog dish on the porch, what is its first country? In Latin, territorium means land of jurisdiction; with roots possibly deriving from terrere, to frighten. Somewhere the forsythia erupts in arches of yellow flame. Somewhere just beyond the border of my hearing, birds spar in the language of trills. Which one is the homely sibling? There is beauty, and there is work. When the sentinels look away, there is the catch in the throat, an opening yielding words that flutter like flags of secret or undiscovered countries.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

Letter to Fortune

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
This entry is part 29 of 92 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2011

 

Dear hand that shakes the cup
and rolls the dice out on the table,
what is the luck of the draw today?
The trees stir their bagfuls of newly-
minted green. Somewhere, water tinkles
like silver. Even the hairs on your chest
are brushed with copper. Put on your crisp
white shirt, snap on your black bow tie, do
up your cummerbund and tails; and deal.
I never said I’d stopped playing. High winds
rearrange the clouds, having learned too
about this game of chance: your turn now
to guess which one is hiding the sun.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

Letter to Sameness and Variation

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
This entry is part 28 of 92 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2011

 

Dear heart, at the wood’s edge, the blue-
headed vireo repeats its only line. It isn’t true
it has nothing to say— just as it isn’t true

that sameness will not want to make us
look again. The wind disturbs the waterfall
of dogwood blooms along the branch

and when they settle back in place
they are themselves, but also different.
The same way you return but also dazzle

with your many aspects, one day turning my
heart on its side and another, making me
cry out; or rendering me without speech.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

Letter to Love

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
This entry is part 27 of 92 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Spring 2011

 

Dear fellow wanderer, familiar now as my twin,
more handsome than my shadow: all these years
we’ve stopped at the same wayside inn to share
quick meals, a cup of coffee, talk about our days
and where we’ve been— And yet we never linger
longer than an hour, perhaps two, before the claims
of the world descend again. But now I don’t know
which is more magnetic: that tilt of sky, the road,
plain countryside rampant with scent, tall grass
where the wind could lift our names higher.
Memory or dream, was that your kiss under my
eyelid’s flicker? I miss you even before you’ve taken
leave. This morning is full of the cries of woodpeckers—
part ululation, part rusty hinge. Your heart goes
with them, or forages among the stones with sparrows,
trusting in what it finds. You never say So long
or Au revoir, only Next time will be sweeter.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.