Eyes still shut
I awake to the practiced, stolen
tunes of the mockingbird chief
outside my window;
I love his
My sleepy ears enthralled
by his youngliings’ answers:
in tune, if not on key.
A crunch of leaves,
already sun-dried in April,
disguises the crack of a bat
and briefly the rustle
of fifty Moms cheering
in the stands;
I break open soft-boiled eyes
and imagine shadows of children
swinging bats for arms and mitts for hands.
A glance at the clock
reminds me time has changed;
by summer schedule
I’m up early even
without counting the hour I’ve lost,
but I envy my mockingbird
his timeless choir practice
that runs on angles of light
not on the hands of a clock.
Slivered blood from a paper cut
Parabola of kindergartener’s gut
Dried up shell of ink cartridge
And still-cool cans of Friday’s brewage –
Let no puppy-dog eyes draw me in
And may the graduation ceremony begin.
As a teacher of high school senior English, there are several points in the year (which come remarkably close together) when we are ALL just ready for the sound of “Pomp & Circumstance”, no matter how much fun we’ve had (ahem) working together. That time has come. In a week we will (finally) have our long spring break, and this wave will come and go again several times before the band actually plays that (very sticky) tune officially. In the meantime, I don’t really want to get rid of them entirely yet, but I confess to feeling empathy for my own senior English teacher and thinking that a giggle might do us all some good. =)
I bought a large print of the photo below for Mom (something like 21 x 31 inches) and had it framed at Christmas. She liked it so well that she decided right away where to hang it, though it’s still not been hung. (I think she wants to paint that wall first. Maybe.) To be fair, it is sitting on the dresser below the target hanging zone where she can see it.
Then, she commissioned me to write a poem to go with the print. I finally finished the “Two Boats” poem the week before I went to Texas to visit this summer. You can find the final version of the poem below.
I promise to make another shameless plug for Patrick’s work as soon as I figure out a few more technical details. Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy these two companion pieces. ~LD
Tied together in water and wood,
blood and bone,
this traveling party of warriors,
poets, water gypsies
and still in the surly sunset.
The skins once stretched
smooth around her bones
today reveal the lie
of the great grey slab
slung so calm and cool
across the circumference
of the glazed horizon.