Poetry Sunday: Trust

Trust

BY SUSAN KINSOLVING

Trust that there is a tiger, muscular
Tasmanian, and sly, which has never been
seen and never will be seen by any human
eye. Trust that thirty thousand sword-
fish will never near a ship, that far
from cameras or cars elephant herds live
long elephant lives. Believe that bees
by the billions find unidentified flowers
on unmapped marshes and mountains. Safe
in caves of contentment, bears sleep.
Through vast canyons, horses run while slowly
snakes stretch beyond their skins in the sun.
I must trust all this to be true, though
the few birds at my feeder watch the window
with small flutters of fear, so like my own.

This picture makes me happy

Order and Happiness Has Been Restored to the Basement

This picture makes me happy

I don’t know what happened to the basement (which is where I do most of my work during the winter months). Somewhere along the line, the basement became unmanageable. And then it spread. The garage became unmanageable, too.

[I attempted to write a paragraph explaining what I think happened to create such chaos in the basement, but then I realized that you probably don’t really care about that, do you, Reader?]

It’s impossible to do good work in the middle of such disarray, and I’ve been hoping to bring some order to it all so I can get back to working happily along, but I became paralyzed by disorganization. I couldn’t even begin to make sense of it all.

I’ve been publicly complaining that I can’t seem to tackle the basement. I thought that perhaps peer pressure might help motivate me. It didn’t. No one really cares about my basement. A couple of weeks ago, I bought some industrial shelving at an estate sale. I thought the shelves might be my answer, but they sat in a pile all disassembled and only made matters worse. I grew in a funk about it.

And then Deb got some free time and some energy, and she directed all her powers to restoring order. First, she cleared the garage and rearranged it. Then she took on the basement. It’s an ancient basement, and the ceiling is low, so she spent days stooped over and banging her head on rafters when she forgot and stood tall. While she did all of that, I took care of the leaves. I think she wanted me out of her way…which was fine with me because I am hopelessly ineffective in that basement right now. I raked every leaf in our yard and from our gardens and from every nook and cranny and mulched every last one of them while the basement transformed.

And now the basement looks better than ever. The floor is clear. There is order. I can breathe and work down there again.

No, it’s not complete. I have been given a list of basement-related tasks to accomplish this week, and from what I’ve seen of Deb’s determination these past few days, I had better check those things off my list lickity split or pay the piper.

 

Poetry Sunday: To The Stone-Cutters

To The Stone-Cutters

BY ROBINSON JEFFERS

Stone-cutters fighting time with marble, you foredefeated
Challengers of oblivion
Eat cynical earnings, knowing rock splits, records fall down,
The square-limbed Roman letters
Scale in the thaws, wear in the rain. The poet as well
Builds his monument mockingly;
For man will be blotted out, the blithe earth die, the brave sun
Die blind and blacken to the heart:
Yet stones have stood for a thousand years, and pained thoughts found
The honey of peace in old poems.

 

Poetry Sunday: You made crusty bread rolls . . .

You made crusty bread rolls…

BY GARY JOHNSON

You made crusty bread rolls filled with chunks of brie
And minced garlic and drizzled with olive oil
And baked them until the brie was bubbly
And we ate them thoughtfully, our legs coiled
Together under the table And then salmon with dill
And lemon and whole-wheat cous cous
Baked with garlic and fresh ginger, and a hill
Of green beans and carrots roasted with honey and tofu.
It was beautiful, the candles and linens and silver,
The winter sun setting on our snowy street,
Me with my hand on your leg, you, my lover,
In your jeans and green T-shirt and beautiful feet.
How simple life is. We buy a fish. We are fed.
We sit close to each other, we talk and then we go to bed.

Poetry Sunday: My Mother’s Pansies

My Mother’s Pansies

BY SHARON OLDS

And all that time, in back of the house,
there were pansies growing, some silt blue,
some silt yellow, most of them sable
red or purplish sable, heavy
as velvet curtains, so soft they seemed wet but they were
dry as powder on a luna’s wing,
dust on an alluvial path, in a drought
summer. And they were open like lips,
and pouted like lips, and they had a tiny fur-gold
v, which made bees not be able
to not want. And so, although women, in our
lobes and sepals, our corollas and spurs, seemed
despised spathe, style-arm, standard,
crest, and fall,
still there were those plush entries,
night mouth, pillow mouth,
anyone might want to push
their pinky, or anything, into such velveteen
chambers, such throats, each midnight-velvet
petal saying touch-touch-touch, please-touch, please-touch,
each sex like a spirit-shy, flushed, praying.

Poetry Sunday: Flash Cards

Flash Cards

 BY RITA DOVE

In math I was the whiz kid, keeper
of oranges and apples. What you don’t understand,
master
, my father said; the faster
I answered, the faster they came.

I could see one bud on the teacher’s geranium,
one clear bee sputtering at the wet pane.
The tulip trees always dragged after heavy rain
so I tucked my head as my boots slapped home.

My father put up his feet after work
and relaxed with a highball and The Life of Lincoln.
After supper we drilled and I climbed the dark

before sleep, before a thin voice hissed
numbers as I spun on a wheel. I had to guess.
Ten, I kept saying, I’m only ten.

Poetry Sunday: My mother was like the bees

My mother was like the bees

BY TED KOOSER

because she needed a lavish taste
on her tongue,
a daily tipple of amber and gold
to waft her into the sky,
a soluble heat trickling down her throat.
Who could blame her
for starting out each morning
with a swig of something furious
in her belly, for days
when she dressed in flashy lamé
leggings like a starlet,
for wriggling and dancing a little madly,
her crazy reels and her rumbas,
for coming home wobbly
with a flicker of clover’s inflorescence
still clinging to her clothes,
enough to light the darkness
of a pitch-black hive.

Full of surprises and delight

Natural Delights and Surprises = Crystalized Honey

Full of surprises and delight

I tell you, Reader, so many people have asked me about crystallized honey lately that I’ve decided to write about it.

First of all: Honey lasts forever. And I mean forever. As in eternity.

Second of all: The composition of honey may change over time.

Third: Raw honey changes more than pasteurized honey because raw honey contains good and natural surprises in it. Whereas pasteurized honey is stripped of these delights. Good and natural delights change over time. Which is what makes them good…and exciting. Right? The more we try to control change, the less fun we have in this life, Reader. Take it from me.

Fourth: The more tiny bits of natural surprises (such as pollen or wax) in the honey, the more little things there are on which crystals will begin to form. This has to do with science, and I’m not going into science here…let me simply say that the less your honey is strained and heated, the more bits of nature remain in it. And this is exactly why you want to buy local honey—honey that has not been stripped of its local pollen. Local pollen in your honey tastes like home. It also helps those who eat it develop immunities when it comes to local allergens.

Fifth: You want your honey cloudy with little specks of colorful pollen in it. You don’t want your honey clear and runny. You want your honey the way you want your bread or your rice…you want it dense with nature. Not white.

Sixth: So, we’ve established that it’s a good sign if your honey crystalizes because it’s a sign that you are eating closer to nature and the earth.

Seventh: Some of the blossoms on which the bees forage crystalize more quickly than others. So, if your honey crystalizes, it’s a sign that the nectar from which your honey comes was collected from a certain blossom at a specific time of the year. Which is very cool. It’s one of the bonuses of buying honey from a single hive as opposed to buying honey gathered from all over several unknown continents and mixed together and heated in a giant vat.

Eighth: The crystals are reversible. If your mouth prefers to eat your honey without crystals, simply heat the honey-containing jar slowly in a pan of water until the crystals disappear. Or set your jar in a sunny place.

We strain very little of the wonder from our honey. You can still taste the Ohio in it. Which means it will eventually crystalize. Because it is that awesome.

 

Poetry Sunday: Ox Cart Man

Ox Cart Man

BY DONALD HALL

In October of the year,
he counts potatoes dug from the brown field,
counting the seed, counting
the cellar’s portion out,
and bags the rest on the cart’s floor.

He packs wool sheared in April, honey
in combs, linen, leather
tanned from deerhide,
and vinegar in a barrel
hooped by hand at the forge’s fire.

He walks by his ox’s head, ten days
to Portsmouth Market, and sells potatoes,
and the bag that carried potatoes,
flaxseed, birch brooms, maple sugar, goose
feathers, yarn.

When the cart is empty he sells the cart.
When the cart is sold he sells the ox,
harness and yoke, and walks
home, his pockets heavy
with the year’s coin for salt and taxes,

and at home by fire’s light in November cold
stitches new harness
for next year’s ox in the barn,
and carves the yoke, and saws planks
building the cart again.