"What do you plan to do with your one, wild, precious life?" -Mary Oliver

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Being There

Back when I was a transient, I wrote the following poem. I loved my Queen Anne cherry tree and my little flagstone patio, but I was out of place and knew I would never be from “there”. But it was warmer "there" and this is the time of year when I sometimes miss my fernleaf buckhorn and the lilac bursting forth. While there, I missed gravel roads and lakes and woods. Now I no longer have to. Now there are other things to miss. Funny how that works.

But I'm glad to have known what it’s like to be a stranger in a strange place. Come summer, I’ll drive by fields of muck where carrots and lettuces are harvested by brown-skinned men with their shirts off talking to each other in their musical language, and I'll wonder if they feel the way I felt when I wrote this poem. I’m glad my ancestors weren’t considered “illegal” without a right to schools and medical care, a path to citizenship and reward for work well done, but that is a subject for another time. This is poetry month.

BEING THERE

The straight lines of the flagstones
are precise as a musical bar.

Our slat backs are positioned to place
our legs in the sun. The Old Peculiar

is chilled. Sit up against me, we’ll share
a glass. You can admire my vices and I your wit.

The dog sees visions, roots out
mushrooms from the zebra grass

while the Queen Anne cherry tree
makes a mess the birds can’t match.

We consider dinner as the sun slips
off our feet. Another hatchling flops

out of the eave and a flock of swallows
darkens the sky in a sudden concerted bank to south.


*first published in the Melic Review

19 comments:

Talli Roland said...

Beautiful. Thank you!

Liza said...

I loved this, especially the image of the swallows at the end.

C.M. Jackson said...

so lovely..thanks!

Lynn said...

I've been 'there' too, and have been through the missing. I like this very much

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

What a perfectly painted moment in time. You have scripted such rich, telling detail. Lovely.
I guess the beauty of this world is that we can appreciate the other and still know which is home.

Wine and Words said...

How lovely, I sat with chin in hand...dreamy.

"If I find in myself
desires nothing in this world can satisfy,
I can only conclude
that I was not made for here."
(C.S. Lewis Song)

Elana Johnson said...

This is fantastic. Thanks for sharing. :)

Jemi Fraser said...

Beautiful! Just lovely :)

sarahjayne smythe said...

The imagery here is simply amazing. :)

She Writes said...

Lovely!

Yvonne Osborne said...

Talli,
Hi! And Thanks so much.

Liza,
I'm partial to swallows. Thanks.

C.M.
Thank you, my friend.

Lynn,
Hi! I think many of us in this day and age have been "there". Thanks so much!

Trica,
Thanks dear bloggy buddy. I appreciate this from you with your fine eye for detail!

W&W,
Thanks so much! I love the Lewis quote.

Elana,
Hi there. Thanks for stopping in!

Yvonne Osborne said...

Jemi,
Hello! Thank you very much. I trust your computer problems are on the mend?

Sarahjayne,
Thank you. I think imagery is key in poetry so I appreciate that so much!

Amy,
Thanks!!!

foldingfields said...

your poetry inspires me to blaspheme in dismay at how you can do that...just do that poetry thing. I need to pay attention more.

Yvonne Osborne said...

F.F.
Oh...thank you. Such kind words. You're a sweetie.

SAMUEL PARK said...

That's a great poem! Loved the images and the details. Thanks for posting.

Yvonne Osborne said...

Samuel,
I'm pleased you liked it. Thanks so much!!

Paul C said...

We have a grafted weeping cherry tree which is in glorious bloom right now. Also love its bark, smooth, flecked with regal red ridges.

Simon C. Larter said...

I like this poem a lot. Perhaps because I admire people's vices. Yes. I think it's mainly that. That and the swallows. Lovely lines, good lady.

Yvonne Osborne said...

Hi Paul,
I like your description of the bark on your cherry tree. Thanks!

Simon,
Thank you so much. I agree, vices are primarily to be admired.