In the sky through the clouds you can see silver haze Dispersed like the sheen of a dragon of steel Look too long and you’ll swear that your gaze Is returned and the dragon above sees its prey.
Do not run, do not hide, or you’ll be her next meal Say charms, not too loud, dance a jig, maybe two If the fear in your eyes, it can see, it can feel Then no magic on earth can save you or save me
As she comes, whisper soft, murmur tales of lost love Spin dreams of a land where a knight stays true blue Melt her heart, let her eyes fill with tears, and above Your bent head she will breathe not her fire, but her cheer.
Then your heart it will swell, you will ask all you will, Deep lore of the earth, wondrous songs of the sea All to you she’ll impart, from her lips it will spill Then she’ll fly to her lair over clouds over moons.
BJÖRN RUDBERG at dVerse challenges us today to write our verse in Anapestic Tetrameter, and so I’ve attempted, with a dropped syllable in each quatrain’s second line. See more dVerse offering and join in by clicking on Mr. Linky.
Today, Grace at dVerse asks us to “Meet the Bar” with regards to setting. So I began with that age old phrase, “once upon a time” and discovered that it seemed to be a setting unto itself, one that the speaker and the listener partake of evocatively, symbiotically. Or so I indulge myself in believing.
Once, the old woman/man/animal/tree/rock began, in the ages when spring set in for a millennium water gushed from every nook and cranny of underground wells and the vaulted heavens opened she/he/it paused there was an orchard where a blind child played the rains dancing like fingertips, skimming her face leaving braille-like tales of love and longing the old woman/man/animal/tree/rock sighed, upon the upturned eyes that could not see, the nose, the chin the water savoring their quill-like strokes the papyrus face now a harbinger of things to come so that the blank eyes took on diamond sharpness – here a tear fell, or was it a leaf, or a stir of dust – her breath like the sifting wind among the chaff her words a beat out of time so that the foolish laughed but the earth claimed her as a shepherd’s star one still night in the ages when spring set in for a time.
Common-Place or “Locus Communis” — a place to remember
John Updike (1932-2009) still casts a long shadow on the literary landscape. His writings were varied and many, but his craftsmanship set the standard among his contemporaries. He was only one of four writers who won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction more than once.
Born in Reading, Pennsylvania, he once described his subject as “the American small town, Protestant middle-class” everyman. His clarity of style and expression is the hallmark of his writing, causing a critic for The Guardian to warn, “The clarity of Updike’s poetry should not obscure its class.”
The following poem quickly became one of my favorites for its simple directness and descriptive force in conveying the grace available in the simple act of “Planting Trees.” The poem is from his fifth collection of poetry, Facing Nature.
Planting Trees John Updike
Our last connection with the mythic. My mother remembers the day as a girl she jumped across a little spruce that now overtops the sandstone house where still she lives; her face delights at the thought of her years translated into wood so tall, into so mighty a peer of the birds and the wind.
Too, the old farmer still stout of step treads through the orchard he has outlasted but for some hollow-trunked much-lopped apples and Bartlett pears. The dogwood planted to mark my birth flowers each April, a soundless explosion. We tell its story time after time: the drizzling day, the fragile sapling that had to be staked.
At the back of our acre here, my wife and I, freshly moved in, freshly together, transplanted two hemlocks that guarded our door gloomily, green gnomes a meter high. One died, gray as sagebrush next spring. The other lives on and some day will dominate this view no longer mine, its great lazy feathery hemlock limbs down-drooping, its tent-shaped caverns resinous and deep. Then may I return, an old man, a trespasser, and remember and marvel to see our small deed, that hurried day, so amplified, like a story through layers of air told over and over, spreading.