Paean To Place

And the place
was water

Fish
fowl
flood
Water lily mud
My life

in the leaves and on water
My mother and I
born
in swale and swamp and sworn
to water

My father
thru marsh fog
sculled down
from high ground
saw her face

at the organ
bore the weight of lake water
and the cold—
he seined for carp to be sold
that their daughter

might go high
on land
to learn
Saw his wife turn
deaf

and away
She
who knew boats
and ropes
no longer played




She helped him string out nets
for tarring
And she could shoot
He was cool
to the man

who stole his minnows
by night and next day offered
to sell them back
He brought in a sack
of dandelion greens

if no flood
No oranges—none at hand
No marsh marigold
where the water rose
He kept us afloat




I mourn her not hearing canvasbacks
their blast-off rise
from the water
Not hearing sora
rails's sweet

spoon-tapped waterglass-
descending scale-
tear-drop-tittle
Did she giggle
as a girl?




His skiff skimmed
the coiled celery now gone
from these streams
due to carp
He knew duckweed

fall-migrates
toward Mud Lake bottom
Knew what lay
under leaf decay
and on pickerel weeds

before summer hum
To be counted on:
new leaves
new dead
leaves




He could not
—like water bugs—
stride surface tension
He netted
loneliness

As to his bright new car
my mother—her house
next his—averred:
A hummingbird
can't haul

Anchored here
in the rise and sink
of life—
middle years' nights
he sat

beside his shoes
rocking his chair
Roped not "looped
in the loop
of her hair"




I grew in green
slide and slant
of shore and shade
Child-time—wade
thru weeds

Maples to swing from
Pewee-glissando
sublime
slime-
song

Grew riding the river
Books
at home-pier
Shelley could steer
as he read




I was the solitary plover
a pencil
for a wing-bone
From the secret notes
I must tilt

upon the pressure
execute and adjust
In us sea-air rhythm
"We live by the urgent wave
of the verse"




Seven year molt
for the solitary bird
and so young
Seven years the one
dress

for town once a week
One for home
faded blue-striped
as she piped
her cry




Dancing grounds
my people had none
woodcocks had—
backland-
air around

Solemnities
such as what flower
to take
to grandfather's grave
unless

water lilies—
he who'd bowed his head
to grass as he mowed
Iris now grows
on fill

for the two
and for him
where they lie
How much less am I
in the dark than they?




Effort lay in us
before religions
at pond bottom
All things move toward
the light

except those
that freely work down
to oceans' black depths
In us an impulse tests
the unknown




River rising—flood
Now melt and leave home
Return—broom wet
naturally wet
Under

soak-heavy rug
water bugs hatched—
no snake in the house
Where were they?—
she

who knew how to clean up
after floods
he who bailed boats, houses
Water endows us
with buckled floors

You with sea water running
in your veins sit down in water
Expect the long-stemmed blue
speedwell to renew
itself




O my floating life
Do not save love
for things
Throw things
to the flood

ruined
by the flood
Leave the new unbought—
all one in the end—
water

I possessed
the high word:
The boy my friend
played his violin
in the great hall




On this stream
my moonnight memory
washed of hardships
maneuvers barges
thru the mouth

of the river
They fished in beauty
It was not always so
In Fishes
red Mars

rising
rides the sloughs and sluices
of my mind
with the persons
on the edge

READ THIS POEM IN OTHER LANGUAGES
COMMENTS OF THE POEM
jim wiese 17 November 2020

truly wonderous to the bone!

0 0 Reply