A difficult bundle of words this evening, and in honor of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s birthday, a poem in the voice of his wife Lydia Emerson (whose name he changed to a one he considered less common “Lidian” or “Lydian”).
From Your Lydian
Oh, Mr. Emerson, the twilight across
the back field makes my heart
feel most naked.
If you are the sayer, the namer,
then I am the one who listens
as your voice creates our little world,
all enclosed but with an open door.
Around the wooden table we sit
as you build this doctrine
brick by brick, a sturdy foundation
on which we must all balance
above the jumble of discourse.
Meanwhile, the light seeps away
from the oaks and all yellow
the yarrow pulls that last flame
from the evening.
How long it has been since
your quick grin ignited
as much as your words must now do.
Every Wednesday, I attempt to create a first-draft poem using the words at Three Word Wednesday. This week’s words led nowhere for a long time, but then back to a familiar diner in Syracuse, New York. Funny how some places get stuck in the crevices of our minds and surface to the correct echo.
Beyond the tabletop jukebox
the window was damp with the breath
of idling coffee pots, truckers
at the counter, and the two of us.
Empty dishes cleared,
the waitress rested
on a red stool by the register.
The small t.v. above the pie case
paraded incensed newscasters
and tinny sitcoms.
A group of teenagers skidded
into the booth behind us, lit
cigarettes and laughter.
You folded your midnight
opinions and stood.
What followed you to the car
was only the ghost of me.
Spring is all around lately – well, mostly, except when I had to scrape ice of my windshield yesterday morning. It’s 3 Word Wednesday and today’s words are brandish, forbid and manage.
Here’s a first draft for you.
Skunk cabbage brandishes its impertinence,
pushing up through the cold mud.
Behind the wheel of my car, waiting
for skim ice on the windshield
to melt like a whisper, I wonder
about the relentlessness of growth.
Bird song, a prelude to bird egg.
Even the man on the car radio
is talking about the rise of prices,
as if, god forbid, we should actually
pay for our growth, obscene now, babies
pouring forth in exponential numbers.
Still, the yellow spurts of vegetation,
phallic and yonic at once, manage
to make me smile. Outside the air
is filled with call and response,
bring love, bring growth, bring springtime.