Sunday, January 11, 2009
First Day of Winter
“All secrets are witnessed.”- Barbara Kingsolver
Somewhere glaciers that haven’t
moved for hundreds of years
shift ever so slightly, give
birth to currents only lantern fish see.
Somewhere the last leaf drops
unnoticed from the limbs of a dogwood,
lands square on the back of a beetle
who stills at the sudden shade.
At the same time a tropical storm
rises anonymously in the Gulf of Mexico,
geese fly through sheets of ice pellets
that never make it to the ground,
rain floods island lowlands,
mud crawls down a mountainside
swallowing a house whole,
the only witness a lost llama,
teats swollen and weeping milk.
Here the rusty chimes wake me
from dreams of sailing
together across glassy water,
I warm my hands on a coffee mug,
watch thunderclouds roll
across the sky in a pattern I’ve never seen
while your unborn daughter
sends tidal waves up her mother’s spine,
still deciding if conditions are right for travel,
and when you call to tell me,
your voice crackles on the line--
I know there must be lightning
but the clouds are so thick I can’t see it.
- Irene Latham
How 'bout that illustration? A wonderful artist Jeff Faulk, who goes by Monk, penned this one, and it appears in my book WHAT CAME BEFORE. Love it!
Somehow I missed the most recent first day of winter, but I did, in fact, write this poem on an actual first day of winter. It's one of those pieces I'm not sure I completely understand myself, so I am especially interested in how others interpret it.
How mysterious, the birth of a poem...
“Birth and death are not two different states, but they are different aspects of the same state. There is as little reason to deplore the one as there is to be pleased over the other.”
- Mahatma Gandhi