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

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Home From The War To Rage On The Road

A neighbor boy home for Christmas after four years in the Marines and two in Afghanistan was driving a tractor down the road when a car came up behind him and attempted to pass him as he was making a left-hand turn into his driveway. The tractor flipped over and landed on top of him.

The local parish priest was called to the scene to administer last rites but the accident scene was blocked off and the police wouldn't let him through until it was too late. Maybe they don't train officers in such matters anymore, just like driving schools don't teach driver's education the way our teachers did when it was part of the high school curriculum. Tractors have the right-of-way. Here in farm country it is common to see farm equipment on the roadways. They are like pedestrians and cyclists. They have the right-of-way.

Just another one of those things that make us walk around in the middle of the night or sit in a chair with the light on instead of sleeping. Someone grieves while someone else is rejoicing. Such is the human condition. The best we can do is accept our measure and prevail. Take up the pen or the brush or the hammer. Take on the day.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Little Man In My Phone Line

My blog has been as dormant as the shrub roses, hunkered down like an asparagus bed. I shall blame this first and foremost on my dialup connection which took a nosedive a couple of weeks ago, going from bearable to exasperating. I must be the last person in the county holding out for affordable high speed internet but if my server kicks me off like a shoddy trespasser one more time I will be at the mercy of whatever wireless is offered here in no man's land.

I have, however, been writing a lot, loving it, getting up in the middle of the night to do it, and my blog has also taken a back seat to that. Yet I worry about bloggyville and think about it more than one would think normal. What's normal? Who was it I recently heard say, "I would not wish the life of a novelist on anyone." ?? Help me. Why would anyone aspire to such angst and self deprecation? Why indeed. But I love to write, even when it exasperates me. It's a lonely endeavor, so talk to me.

Now I better try to post this before the little man boots me off.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Winter Grave

The winds of November remind us to hurry—
plug the drafts under the door
store the squash
and wait for winter.
Will there be food? Heat?
Will the water drag or flow?
Will we be dependent upon the slug?
The stealthy bow?
If there's a death in winter
what do we do with the body?
Should we predig a hole like we do
for our live Christmas trees
so they can live on?

The cattle huddle
around a full hay wagon,
backs to the wind.
Will there be shelter from the storm?
Will the river flow unencumbered
around fallen timber and jagged floes?

The barn is warm at night with their breath.
The clover is sweet and the loft full.
They chew their cuds
content
and warm.
What will we do with the body?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Still Life In A Killing Frost

The sun burst out from under a cloud bank
and the grass is once again green.
The trees are shanks of orange
and the fields are gold.
The mossy sides
of the dying ash shimmer
as though it weren't so
and the mums are earth afire.
Everything faces east.
Still. Still. Still.
Not even a raucous crow greets the day.
But the clouds prevailed, opened and swallowed.
The trees are black and the grass dormant.
Mums sway under the weight of frost
and the crow awakes
with moving eye.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Things We Need – Things We Don’t

Her hair was too long for her age,
thick and heavy, a platinum wave.
She was all hair.

Two weeks ago she came to work with a cut
above her ears,
like a salon model.

Last week in a team meeting she joked
how she could pull it out in swatches.
Look . . . it doesn’t hurt.
We made her stop.

She wore a black hat on Wednesday
with a floppy brim and a red rose in the center.
Yesterday it was a saucy denim one
with a papery orange poppy.
We traded lipsticks in the lounge,
adjusted hats . . . not a wisp of blonde.

She has a season pass for the theater,
tickets to the Dixie Chicks,
family leave for the next round,
a calendar full of events.