Thursday, February 16, 2012

Things I love today

This is  my newest blog love

I have a great-aunt that they should pretty much just follow around--her hats would make the Queen Mother feel envious

Claire has spent the last couple of days pulling everything off of every shelf she can find.  The hubb's ties didn't even stand a chance and after I came out of the kitchen the ties were strewn all down the hall.  The cleaning up has been somewhat tedious but on the upside she pulled my favorite poetry book off the shelf and I've had it out on the couch and every time I get a few minutes I read a poem or two (though she did also pull Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, which is right next to it and which I poured over in the 2nd and 3rd grade and I will tell you is not nearly as scary now as it was then).

The book is called Some Haystacks Don't Even Have Any Needle and it's out of print but you can still buy it online cheaply.  It's brilliant.  That title--that's a full poem by William Stafford.  And how about this poem also by William Stafford?


They dance before they learn
there is anything that isn't music

And there's this poem which haunted my high school years.

And this one which showed up on my high school AP English test and I fortunately knew so I aced the test.  And the author was born in Logan, Utah which is were I got my graduate degree. ( And really, can it be there was only one summer I was 10?)

The Centaur
By May Swenson   (1919 - 1989)

The summer that I was ten --
Can it be there was only one
summer that I was ten?

It must have been a long one then --
each day I'd go out to choose
a fresh horse from my stable

which was a willow grove
down by the old canal.
I'd go on my two bare feet.

But when, with my brother's jack-knife,
I had cut me a long limber horse
with a good thick knob for a head,

and peeled him slick and clean
except a few leaves for the tail,
and cinched my brother's belt

around his head for a rein,
I'd straddle and canter him fast
up the grass bank to the path,

trot along in the lovely dust
that talcumed over his hoofs,
hiding my toes, and turning

his feet to swift half-moons.
The willow knob with the strap
jouncing between my thighs

was the pommel and yet the poll
of my nickering pony's head.
My head and my neck were mine,

yet they were shaped like a horse.
My hair flopped to the side
like the mane of a horse in the wind.

My forelock swung in my eyes,
my neck arched and I snorted.
I shied and skittered and reared,

stopped and raised my knees,
pawed at the ground and quivered.
My teeth bared as we wheeled

and swished through the dust again.
I was the horse and the rider,
and the leather I slapped to his rump

spanked my own behind.
Doubled, my two hoofs beat
a gallop along the bank,

the wind twanged in my mane,
my mouth squared to the bit.
And yet I sat on my steed

quiet, negligent riding,
my toes standing the stirrups,
my thighs hugging his ribs.

At a walk we drew up to the porch.
I tethered him to a paling.
Dismounting, I smoothed my skirt

and entered the dusky hall.
My feet on the clean linoleum
left ghostly toes in the hall.

Where have you been? said my mother.
Been riding, I said from the sink,
and filled me a glass of water.

What's that in your pocket? she said.
Just my knife. It weighted my pocket
and stretched my dress awry.

Go tie back your hair, said my mother,
and Why Is your mouth all green?
Rob Roy, he pulled some clover
as we crossed the field, I told her. 

1 comment:

  1. Oh Sallee - I have been meaning to comment but these two poems you shared are finally the impetus. Both were really, really great. "David" impacted me so strongly that I made my Dad and step-mom read it that night so we could discuss. I am not usually affected by poems but you seem to have a knack for picking provocative ones. I bought "One Muddy Hand" selected poems from Earle Birney because I was so moved by Birney's prose.