the world tells you again

in this fountaining the flutter
wing-dust and scattered
seed, greening

why should you not return
to heartening beneath
your one-note lament

and need for salt don’t say
it’s always the same
for when have you ever noticed

roses blown open to rain
robins food-screeching
in your window-tree?

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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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to the guy who still holds the 8th-grade school record for long jump

you’re my age now, I’m thinking
as I wait for the game to start
how we engrave these accomplishments
as if they might matter
thirty-five years hence
do you even know
your name is still on this board
and what does it mean
we hold these selves within us
from a time when such things made us strive
to be important to someone—
to ourselves?

 

this softness

I want to proclaim it
to the man leaning and yapping
at the department store clerk
to the sheath-dressed woman
high heeled, on the phone
choosing bagged lettuce

I want to turn it inside out
spread it like dandelions
or honey or something
in a cooler hue, a green
slow rain, complete release
from striving

Reading Hafiz, “When the Meadows on the Body Turn Gray,” translated by Daniel Ladinsky.

year of rest

The plum tree, puny though in full flush
of summer, all its neighbors lush in sun-glow.
Limp-leaved, drab. Last year—remember?—
its branches heavy-laden, juicy, buzzing,
a jewel among backyards, good provider
of jam. Winter, amber in promise. But now—
Rest, my dear. Dream away
these sunny days, rebuilding your strength.
Hold this green and gold reaching from your roots,
an encouragement.

on this falling edge

tell your autumn self, this fountained day
of wordy unmusical frustration is nothing
to regret. ask your winter self, who will make
work of the past? what is your spring self
but an ideal to grope for, in sympathy
with the young? you let those hours go.
(see the spiders already moving in, rose-hips,
crickets?) no need to reinvent or be clever
in your acts of love. your voice—broken,
burning, sleep-rough, shrill—will be here,
a sun-pledge.