Marilyn L. Taylor
Note: A couple of poems this month. The first is based on a true story that took place back when I was teaching at UW-Milwaukee. Seems that a very good student of mine came up to my desk sheepishly after class with a note that read: “Dear Prof Taylor, Sorry my sonnet is late this week. I’ll be turning it in tomorrow, if it’s any constellation.” And with that, the poem practically wrote itself. The other poem, “Along the Brule,” is another oldie; it evolved from the phrase “the strange blue boats of the remote unborn,” which popped into my head when I was feeling inexplicably philosophical.
Dear Professor, Sorry my poem is late. I’ll be turning it in
tomorrow, if it’s any constellation.
—Note from a student
About that poem— will light come out of it?
And will it blaze like Ariadne’s crown,
with phosphorescent daggers hanging down?
Will galaxies recede, to make it fit?
I think I’ll go outside tonight and stare
straight up, so we can find the perfect place
for it, some pleasant cul-de-sac in space
with curb-appeal. Adjacent to the Bear,
perhaps. Or tucked under the outspread wings
of Pegasus, who might suspend his flight
so he can skim over your poem tonight
along with scores of goddesses and kings—
those starry listeners, silent and remote,
wheeling to the pulse of what you wrote.
Along the Brule
Of time you would make a stream upon whose bank
you would sit and watch its flowing.
Now I can watch the river.
Now, from this melting oxbow
where I sit with my senses steeping
in the sun, I am witness to the torrent,
but not yet of it.
Soon my perspective will be different.
I will be running with the groundwater
from grave to creek to roaring channel
where, among sticks and gravel
I will wash downstream with the other detritus,
remnants of what once was leaf, garden, gardener,
past the still-invisible piers and posts
of the next generation and the next and next
whose silver bridges
will one day arch, shimmering,
over the strange blue boats
of the remote unborn.
This poem was originally published in Verse Wisconsin
©2018 Marilyn L. Taylor
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