Mid-January Morning

Readers have asked me why my poems  are usually limited to what I see at the park – too much of a “sameness.”

I used to write poetry as a means of expressing my thoughts or opinions, purging deep emotions, telling my stories. Now I rarely get into philosophical discussions, describe the turbulence of life and relationships, make reference to current socio-political situations or injustices, or make comments of a personal nature. What poetry I write now is a by-product of sitting quietly and writing down my observations – very visual, very factual without much recourse to any ‘story’ behind what I see.

I am trying to disappear as a poet, as a presence in the poem – maybe exist as sort of an eye relating what is seen. Why? Because I am tired listening to and recording my thoughts – which often/always revolve around what I think, what I feel, what I want, my past, my future, me, me, me, etc., etc., ad infinitum. If I restrict myself to the visual, the constant chatter of the mind subsides and I feel peaceful. I now leave it to the reader to supply any story line or to give any meaning to the experience.

Here is what was seen the other day. Thanks for visiting.

Mid-January morning,
fog and dew burned away,
reveals a scattering of tiny suns
in the grass – dandelions.

Damp air
filled with the scent of clay and chlorophyll
and the endless twittering of unseen birds,
curls around oak’s gnarly limbs
that twist and turn like arthritic arms,
soaking up the sun that drives the sap
coursing through cellulose veins.

Look!
White dots are scattered
along black branches of graceful trees –
blossoms-in-waiting
soon to awake from winter dreams of summer.

Three squirrels
race up and down the trunk,
of the slender willow,
swing from branch to branch,
like drunken acrobats,
tails twitching, eyes sparkling.

Four city workers
wearing eye-blinding orange vests and baseball caps
set out lawn chairs beside the big tall pine,
open brown bags as they discuss the challenge
of keeping the waters flowing
through sewers that lie beneath
the black paved streets of a winter-soaked city.

Young brown girl
sports a sleek 1940’s pompadour,
curled and rolled above her delicate shoulders,
ear buds in, iPhone on,
in seeming conversation with the air,
sack purse swinging, smooth hips swaying,
young legs striding across the lawn
she moves to other destinations.

Black boy,
pants at half-mast, bandana round his head,
stands beside the hip hop van
with low rider wheels and dice on the dash,
greets a member of the ‘hood’
who arrives slouching and bopping
and snapping his fingers to the booming bass
that smites the air with impact and effect,
and shares the secret tribal handshake.

An old man
in a tattered gray coat
pushing a grocery cart with wobbling wheels
and piled high with fat plastic bags,
rumbles down the street and is followed
by a middle-aged woman
who jauntily holds aloft a gaily striped umbrella
and sings softly to herself.

Grandpa
totters, leading the way to the duck pond,
as the small shoes of the curly-haired girl
blink off and on at each hop and skip,
while Grandma smiles and follows,
walker clacking,
step, roll, pause – step, roll, pause

Little white dog
leashed to a large white woman
is tugged and pulled from enticing smells,
waves its feathery tail
and tosses its head and sets to shaking
ears that are caught up with pink pony-tail ribbons.

Two golden retrievers,
walking along in unison,
jump into a small white car
bearing “Go Kings” stickers –
and as it drives away
big orange heads
hang out of windows,
ears back, tongues lolling,
tails waving goodbye.

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3 thoughts on “Mid-January Morning

  1. There is nothing wrong with having a theme, an obsession, a bicycle, a hobby-horse. As George Fox probably didn’t say to William Penn about his sword, “Wear it as long as thou canst”.

    You can’t disappear as a poet, but I know what you mean. This is a good poem. Description, no matter how everyday the described, need not be banal.

    Like

  2. Interesting that I recently read a piece describing authentic hope as an outward from self movement. That seems true here as well, the hope is in seeing and recording a world vibrant with life.

    Like

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