Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Three Prose Poems


Oh, yesterday, that one, we all cry out. Oh, that one! How rich and possible everything was! How ripe, ready, lavish, and filled with excitement-how hopeful we were on those summer days, under the clean, white racing clouds. Oh yesterday!


I was in the hold burn dump-no longer used…Here a pair of hummingbirds lived every summer, as if the only ones of their kind…I strolled, and was almost always sure to see the male hummingbird on his favorite high perch near the top of a wild cherry tree, looking out across his kingdom with bright eye, and even brighter throat…a plane, a black triangle, flew screaming from the horizon, heavy talons clenched and lumpy on its undersides. And, lo, the hummingbird cringed, it hugged itself to the limb, it hunkered, it quivered. It was God’s gorgeous, flashing jewel: afraid. All narrative is metaphor.


After the storm the ocean there was the world: sky, water, the pale sand and, where the tide had reached the day’s destination, the snow. And this detail: the body of a duck, a golden-eye; and beside it one black-backed gull. In the body of the duck, among the breast feathers, a hole perhaps an inch across: the color within the hole a shouting red. And bend it as you might, nothing was to blame: storms must toss, and the great black-backed gawker must eat, and so on. It was merely a moment. The sun, angling out from the bunched clouds, cast one could easily imagine tenderly over the landscape its extraordinary light.

Is life just a moment, balanced between fear and tenderness? Does the tide come in and yesterday was lush and we feel expansive and open, and then the tide goes out and we constrict with fear and scarcity? It seems to be so. We are God’s precious jewels sparkling in the sand, eater and eaten, afraid. Okay, maybe I can accept this. What brings me angst and a hollow thumping of the heart though, is that I will seek to blame God, the world, the gull, the plane, you, me. And as the tide goes out and the sun sets, I will think that I am lonely, alone worthy of praise or blame, of praising of blaming. Oh be still my cognitive self and let the story rest for a while in the calm of an intertidal zone, for all stories are metaphor as Mary says. Beneath it all lies shared being – no life, no death, just sparkling amazement lying amongst the ever present grains of fear.

Who or what do you blame? Praise?

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