Discovering My Own Hand

Have you ever looked so closely at your hand that you lose all sense of place and self? Try it now… what do you see? Have you ever seen your own skin this way before?

Discovering My Own Hand

At one time i didn’t exist
except in dreams of woman and man,
(mom and dad!)
yet now, i am here,
setting out free from such
long arm – trekking through
unfamiliar terrain to a
sharp rising range of arteries
jutting above
quiet rivulets of blue. These appear suddenly,
silken, subtle, like glacier waters
ancient below thin cave walls.
Looking closer, there is a cobbled road,
a patchwork of steps leading north.
Like Frost, i take this lesser way,
carefully avoiding
crevasses deepened by time,
weaving through
small hairs, delicate like seaweed,
to venture finally to such rosy
oyster-shell pearl plains.
Here, i take my rest, grateful for the journey,
feeling night’s gentle breeze
like breath from my folks.

I found the dead.

There is a silence between pauses,
after laughs, seconds before sighs,
You miss these every day.
Just like the last time by the ocean,
did you hear the silence or the crash?

Listen carefully, this is where they live,
waiting for you
to take notice of the blanks,
the space between space,
silent sound between sounds.

This is where they live. Not in dirt or sky,
but with us always, speaking the language
of pauses between breaths,
ocean waves cresting to that perfect silent
unnoticed moment.

(You are all missed).

City Lights by Mary Avidano

I know I’ve been a huge slacker in the writing department… so to take my place, please enjoy this lovely poem from Poet Mary Avidano, as seen on American Life in Poetry. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Joyous Poetry to you!
******************************

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

It seems we’re born with a need for stories, for hearing them and telling them. Here’s an account of just one story, made remarkable in part by the teller’s aversion to telling it. Poet Mary Avidano lives in Nebraska.

City Lights

My father, rather a quiet man,
told a story only the one time,
if even then—he had so little
need, it seemed, of being understood.
Intervals of years, his silences!
Late in his life he recalled for us
that when he was sixteen, his papa
entrusted to him a wagonload
of hogs, which he was to deliver
to the train depot, a half-day’s ride
from home, over a hilly dirt road.
Lightly he held the reins, light his heart,
the old horses, as ever, willing.
In town at noon he heard the station-
master say the train had been delayed,
would not arrive until that evening.
The boy could only wait. At home they’d
wait for him and worry and would place
the kerosene lamp in the window.
Thus the day had turned to dusk before
he turned about the empty wagon,
took his weary horses through the cloud
of fireflies that was the little town.
In all his years he’d never seen those
lights—he thought of this, he said, until
he and his milk-white horses came down
the last moonlit hill to home, drawn as
from a distance toward a single flame.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2013 by The Backwaters Press. Mary Avidano’s most recent book of poems is The Zebra’s Friend and Other Poems, 2008. Poem reprinted from The Untidy Season: An Anthology of Nebraska Women Poets, The Backwaters Press, 2013, by permission of Mary Avidano and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2014 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

Deliberately (To a Man Who Does Not Exist)

To a man who does not exist,

let me save you some trouble:
we will end.
Maybe then you won’t cry when I leave you
for a some day with delicious edges.

We will begin like all others, with a wink.
As light stretches long shadows, we
will gaze beyond a mirror,
nodding to our naked reflections in acquiescence,
and appreciation for the way time reflects in us
like tree rings.

Then some day
I will come to you deliberately
closing the distance between us
with purpose until none is left.
Our bodies will lock together like the
perfect puzzle pieces they are.
My hand will trace history down your spine
while you read aloud from my breasts.

The story ends always the same.

Early October Snow by Robert Haight

Enjoy Robert’s gorgeous poem of that first snow in October, the harbinger of what’s to come…. Taken from Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry.

******************************
Welcome to American Life in Poetry. For information on permissions and usage, or to download a PDF version of the column, visit http://www.americanlifeinpoetry.org.

******************************
American Life in Poetry: Column 498
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

Here’s a lovely poem for this lovely month, by Robert Haight, who lives in Michigan.

Early October Snow

It will not stay.
But this morning we wake to pale muslin
stretched across the grass.
The pumpkins, still in the fields, are planets
shrouded by clouds.
The Weber wears a dunce cap
and sits in the corner by the garage
where asters wrap scarves
around their necks to warm their blooms.
The leaves, still soldered to their branches
by a frozen drop of dew, splash
apple and pear paint along the roadsides.
It seems we have glanced out a window
into the near future, mid-December, say,
the black and white photo of winter
carefully laid over the present autumn,
like a morning we pause at the mirror
inspecting the single strand of hair
that overnight has turned to snow.

 

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2013 by Robert Haight from his most recent book of poems, Feeding Wild Birds, Mayapple Press, 2013. (Lines two and six are variations of lines by Herb Scott and John Woods.) Poem reprinted by permission of Robert Haight and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2014 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

******************************
American Life in Poetry provides newspapers and online publications with a free weekly column featuring contemporary American poems. The sole mission of this project is to promote poetry: American Life in Poetry seeks to create a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. There are no costs for reprinting the columns; we do require that you register your publication here and that the text of the column be reproduced without alteration.

A burning sky dies over me

a burning sky dies over me,
sighs over me, extinguishes
like a lit match
blown softly unconscious.
fingers flaming pass out
into wispy smoke, clouds that once burned
hot slowly rust,

i watch them turn pyroclastic dark,

they turn against me –
an encroaching cloak of emptiness. i watch this death
a hungry voyeur. i listen though
nothing, nothing remains
save a sliver of a moon croaking awake, and black silhouettes
of trees and city rowhome skeletons whispering,
you always leave, you always do
but the gold is worth it for one brief hour,
that one small time our eyes got big
and drank colors possible only in dreams.

20140928_190131