April poetry is a luxurious feast of perfectly ripened and juicy words. I haven't taken the time to write or read poems for a long while, but after opening my dusty volumes and setting the poets' music free again, I can't imagine why I waited.
Here's one that I read aloud and then memorized because it is exactly right for those nights when I'm fortunate enough to look up and find the moon shimmery in the night. It's the pacing of the piece-- punctuation's job, but also the colorful imagery and the tangible nature of that dot perfectly placed. That's what I want to capture in my prose--the pacing and the fresh imagery.
There was, in the dusky night,
On the yellowed steeple
Like the dot of an i
Alfred de Musset
This is one of my favorite William Butler Yeats' poems, He and She. Just part of it, the part I like best.
I love to read this one, especially the second line. It has a special cadence that is perfect to my ear.
She sings as the moon sings:
'I am I, am I;
The greater grows my light
The further I fly.'
All creation shivers
With that sweet cry.
So after reading all of this masterful poetry, I had to read some of my compressed thoughts that I'd fitted into this demanding, tight form. I found this in one of my journals. Now how crazy is it for me to post my poems along with Yeats and Musset? A lot crazy, but it's my blog, so I guess I can do what I want. Is there a blog reviewer out there that will complain? Let's see.
I wrote this a few years ago when I was in England. You know you can't walk the countryside of England without coming to an ancient cemetery. So there I was with my pad and paper sitting by a gravestone something like this, marking the beginning and the end of someone's life. This is what I wrote. I was younger then, so cut me some slack when you critique this.
Ask the Stone
Lichen pocked and cooled with the April air,
Lonely you are and lonelier with the blossom dust
Settling like impatient moths that fan you for the moment, then take leave
When the Wind calls in the siren's voice.
Lichen pocked and warmed with the August sun,
Deep you are and deeper with each season’s leaves and grass
Mulching at your roots and like a thick sea secreting your inscribed face
When the Earth calls in the emperor's voice.
Lichen pocked and brittled by December cold,
Old you are and top-heavy with your rakish tilt that pulls you south
And staggering, it might seem, in a drunkard’s dream
When Gravity calls in the winner's voice.
Your name was long and full of sounds
Not easily said aloud, but calling to the mind like chimes in high branches,
It sang of journeys and spice and times now locked inside leather-bound books.
A blank face turned to the sky
Its sculpted pate still proud with chiseled curls
Basking above the propertied one who sleeps below.
Who do you belong to?
Ask the Stone.
C. Lee McKenzie