Friday, April 8, 2016

This afternoon I'll be motoring down to the University of Maine at Augusta to lead a poetry workshop for high school teachers, with a public reading to follow in the evening. [Tomorrow afternoon poet Richard Blanco reads. Here's a schedule, if you're interested in the timing of everything.]

* * *

Last night's driving wind and rain have dissipated, and this morning's new world is brown and muddy and dripping. In April, every day is a different season.

Last night I dreamt of grocery shopping and dog food. What does this mean?

A shimmer of sun gilds the glass swan in the kitchen window. I want to wear my new rose-colored blouse today. I want the sound of a baseball game to comfort my shadowy drive home.

Flocks of little birds--juncos, sparrows, goldfinches--rise and settle and and swirl and rise . . . in the grass, in the pines, in the bare lilacs. If I could, I would write a poem.


Ruth said...

Travel easy! At last I've managed to compile a few comments on Tu Fu!!!

Judy Kaber said...

I really enjoyed the workshop, Dawn. Came away with lots of good ideas to follow up on. Here's the latest draft of one of the poems I started:

Attenuated Movement

Her mother lies beneath blankets yet shivers
even as summer scissors open and light split by blinds
slices across the bed. Her legs tremble with pain, the muscles fine
strands, tender as blades of grass, unable to move now in ways
centered, illuminated—to bend and sit in another room, to walk
across the rug, to climb steps. All gone.

Like the trunk of the fallen pine behind her house, pushed over
when they leveled the land. Someplace she went to relax,
close to the stream where liquid words rose and wrapped her
in a kind of power, a blanket of unspoken wisdom.
But then the ants came. The rains, the infinite unseen
crawling, burrowing, eating, until the wood trembled with decay.

The smallest sound broke her mother’s face into tears. People
whispered, walked in slow steps, but even this was too much,
even this ate into her nerves, her raw skin, her heartwood.

Good to get to know you. Don't know of many people left from my stomping days in West Ripley. Do you know Wally Warren?


Dawn Potter said...

Judy, I so enjoyed yesterday's class. You were all such a pleasure to spend time with, and the poem you drafted is really going places. Re Wally: yes, I do know him! He's a regular at musical events, and I see him often at Wellington parties.

Judy Kaber said...

Wally and I moved to Ripley at about the same time, so we share some pretty intense memories. Some of it comes across in the draft of this poem where I used the initial words from the excerpt you gave us from "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking":

Out Along Rt. 154

Out where the streams etch away
from Devil’s Head,
out of the bear’s coarse fur,
shot in the back in the flat hours
over in the bushes when we were afraid
of the night, afraid of shapes pulled down
from the stars, when we were neighbors
on the road to Harmony, up late every night,
dragging the battery back to charge so the TV
wouldn’t go out, carrying our laughter in metal tubs,
in broken backed chairs from Issac’s down the road,
cow barn full of cast offs from yesterday’s
comers and goers, the ones buried in hay fields
from winters that beat and beat, white fists to eyes
from copper kettles, eleven times the load
of groaning clothes washed and dried
from the smell of bread rising, babies
crying in stalwart cribs, from burdocks caught in sheep wool,
knotted and quick, from raspberry thickets, witch grass,
water-run ditches, from logs twitched and cut, fires banked,
days stacked as tight as cords of wood, layered, as thick as grain,
borne with the lightness of twenty-something carrying
an anniversary of arrival like a shining star,
throwing sparks in every direction.
I know what it means to dance at the grange
taking songs in my pocket, lozenges,
the rich taste, the knocked back sting,
a medicine for remembrance.

Tell Wally I said Hi when you see him again.

Dawn Potter said...

I have a poem about that road too: "Spring on the Ripley Road"!

Judy Kaber said...

Nice one! (I looked it up.) I like the way you wove in your sons' voices. A very familiar road for me. I have many poems about Ripley.