How We Talk to Children

Here’s another powerful poem by my Whitmanesque friend Jason Chambers, whose way with words often astounds me.

How we talk to frogs is softly,

but forthright, 

and wholly without shame. 

This they trust. 

How we talk to plants is 

with our hands,

and the leaves curl in response,

and bear memory of our imprint

through generations of seed. 

How we talk to each other is 

we listen,

with eyes that leave 

no room for doubt. 

How we work is filthy, 

and all-in, shovel flying,

and sweat sufficient 

to hide all tears- 

every scratch, 

every ache, 

every labored breath 

a miracle, a gift. 

How we eat peaches is shirtless,

faces shining joy 

and juice dripping irretrievable 

past every secret place. 

The old woman by the road 

bears all the marks of a traveler

so I buy a single yellow rose 

for my brother deer 

dead on the shoulder. 

Resting the bloom on his head

where antlers once were,

I look up as the schoolbus passes slow 

at twenty-two young eyes,

staring back. 

And I see them see me 

and the deer 

and the flower 

and the day perfect as all others,

and I know my daddy sees it too,

and he’s never been more proud.

I believe those sun glasses belong to Caroline Tigner Moore

Sorry about the squeaky chair in the recording, but I can’t read it without dancing, even in a chair.

Heaven and Earth

“Rebirth by Shari Silvey

Heaven and Earth

She makes the willow shiver in the sun.

Wallace Stevens, “Sunday Morning”

Up there, the sweet plain girls would possess
the incandescent beauty of immortality,
removed from the stress of status,
smiling, gliding, singing,
free at last to be above it all.

But let’s face it. Wallace Stevens had it right.
Mystical death is the mother of beauty.
Our non-sentient bodies must feed the root
of willows bending over our forgotten flesh,
now boughs where birds nest and trill and feed their hatchlings.

What We Cannot See or Really Know

keeper

photograph by Jason Chambers

 

What We Cannot See or Really Know

 

 

“All overgrown with azure moss and flowers . . . ”

                                    Percy Bysshe Shelley

                                                                        For Jason Chambers

 

Way deep inside in the protean corpuscular reaches,

invisible to the outer-us, somehow, some entity is in charge, monitoring

infection, ordering T-Cell retaliatory attacks

against whatever globular intruder is oozing for a fight.

 

An awareness extraordinaire, this whatever it is, catapulting sneezes

to expel trespassing pollen, shaken from trees,

which too have something very similar transpiring beneath their bark beyond their notice:

 

Cellular division, sexual bloom and reproduction, spores spindling from

green needles bristling in the breeze.

 

Mysterious invisible over-souls of a sort, under-see-ers.

 

 

Yet, our inner gods eventually let us down. The oncologist said,

“Your immune system has failed you ­– twice now.”

 

 

Heart heard and began to run fast at the news.

Cellular Insurrection Afoot, above the fold,

Graphs below of life expectancy looking dire, going down, down,

 

down back into the dirt we go,

dirt that covers windblown seeds

 

as clouds shed a few of their aitches and ohs ­

 

and oohs and aahs

 

engendering over and over

what we cannot see

or really know.