I live and write in rural northeastern PA, but often go to The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts for writing residencies, where these two poems were written—
The Green Blouse (1919)
In this interior, a girl with a blouse the color of summer
sits in front of a window. Behind her, a curtain
falls, a shower of light, and behind that, the tropical
foliage of Le Cannet. Outside my window in Virginia,
it’s a day still trying to make up its mind—dregs of snow
in the corners, daffodils ringing bravely in the cold wind.
Spring is late this year, the grass undecided if it should
take a pass, stay sleeping, rolled up in its patchy old coat.
But there are two blue jays at the feeding table, and they
aren’t fooled by the bare trees, the blossoms reluctant
to unfold. They know the sun by its angle, see that the stars
have gathered in their spring flocks. They are bluer than the sky,
and they know it. Every day, there’s another cup of sunlight.
They tilt back their heads, and they drink it all in.
-first published in the Alabama Poetry Review
Late May near Charlottesville, and the Blue Ridge mountains
loaf along to my left, wrapped in their usual haze. The sky
is a blank sheet, untroubled as a baby’s sleep. A cardinal
twangs out his notes of cheer; he has no truck with irony and post-
modernism, and a bluebird—bluer than blue—flashes about the grass
in his cloak of sky. The twin bags of doubt and self-loathing I have
been dragging around all week start to grow lighter. A breeze gently
riffles the pages of the underbrush, and all the words I’ve been looking for
assemble themselves on the lawn. I just have to coax them onto paper,
the shy little darlings. But a gust of wind blows up, and they’re gone.
-first published in The Paterson Literary Review, and in my book Small Rain (Purple Flag Press, 2014)
©2015 Barbara Crooker