I take a solo excursion into the canyonlands with some water, some nuts, some berries. The water runs out. The nuts and berries run out. My legs give out. I sit down and lean against a rock. I go through … the rest “Clarity”
Yesterday, April 13th, was the birthday of poet Seamus Heaney. My father’s birthday is also this month and when I pulled this volume of Heaney’s poems off my bookshelf, I remembered that this was yet another gift of verse my dad had given to me a number of years ago.
Here’s a poem about fathers and sons. (My father is alive and well, despite what the sentiment of the verse implies.)
My father worked with a horse-plough, His shoulders globed like a full sail strung Between the shafts and the furrow. The horses strained at his clicking tongue.
As expert. He would set the wing And fit the bright steel-pointed sock. The sod rolled over without breaking. At the header, with a single pluck
Of reins, the sweating team turned round And back into the land. His eye Narrowed and angled at the ground, Mapping the furrow exactly.
I stumbled in his hob-nailed wake, Fell sometimes on the polished sod; Sometimes he rode me on his back Dipping and rising to his plod.
I wanted to grow up and plough, To close one eye, stiffen my arm. All I ever did was follow In his broad shadow round the farm.
I was a nuisance, tripping, falling, Yapping always. But today It is my father who keeps stumbling Behind me, and will not go away.
Two Poems from Dome of the Hidden Pavilion by James Tate
I just finished ‘Dome of the Hidden Pavilion by the late James Tate. Absolutely wonderful. Tate recounts experiences on the edge of absurdity but not so absurd you can’t … the rest “This is what happened…”