clearing the field

Hafiz says I must clear the rocks
if I am to have any good of this field
so I begin—to be ready
for some future sun-flushed spring

rocks of resentment and guilt
at feeling resentment and some pebbles
words to fling about because—
I think you should understand—
a bowl full of pebbles to explain
why I feel and all of the above

(tell me if there is a place to stack them all
a monument to self-help and decluttering)

here is the rock I have been curled under, closed
and we might someday have it for a signpost
to carve the hard harvest or what should we give
to forget this bitter year?

the rock where the top is not so big yet one digs
and digs and two strong arms and intent
are not enough to heave it out
don’t say God must think it’s good for you
for what shape was the rock that left this gaping hole

and the last black rock, glittering with something I should be
doing differently

Reading Hafiz, “So You Can Plant More Wheat,” translated by Daniel Ladinsky.

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Moldy

Maybe you shouldn’t have looked in here, after so many weeks

or months? to find your friends talking about God knows and eight or nine expired poetry challenges, that feeling

like skipping church for a year, then sitting in the town chapel singing Christmas carols with strangers—

didn’t you want to cry? and didn’t you stop yourself, a disciplined no? but listen, I’m telling you

yes: find what’s worth saving, a fresh heart beneath all that must

 

A long-lined acrostic dedicated to the long-neglected crew at Yeah Write.

Basic Tree ID

put your words away
birch leaves are gone
redbud silent in cold rain

*

how brittle the red pine needles
even now in full green
next year’s cones waiting

*

one day to the next orange leaves
scarlet berries note the difference
in sky, a human smile

*

the poster says hug a tree
to lower blood pressure
feel striation or smoothness—also listen

response in reverse to Auden’s “A Walk After Dark”

we find our minds turned
to minor categorizing, as of birds
or stars, planets, plants—
though we still would count ourselves young
we discover how set in our ways
and full enough of age

overfull of death and decay
(the broken always with us)
as another crisis enwraps the world—
we want to feel and do more
with no guilt about it
or being called hypocrite by the young

or worse, a Victorian, having passed
beyond the ability to impress them
with our decent, ordered lives—
so I find at dinner nothing
but exhausted, plummeting defeat
more clouds in the forecast

Playing with today’s prompt from NaPoWriMo.net. I used only the first three stanzas of Auden’s poem.

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