Summer is finally here. The time to plant food in the ground -- sustenance after so many dark days of rain and trials on the national scene have been a blessing for me. I look forward to the release of my newest book of poetry, Broadfork Farm, in July. Website: triciaknoll.com
In Praise of Shade
Come, Shadow, stay with me
under the shade of this newly
leafed-out cherry tree.
Take your rest on this stone
from stretching me,
copying me. I will not lead.
I’ll write about now,
moments without motion.
We’ll let leaves flicker
in a breeze I barely feel
and you can ignore,
their polite lilt of tree talk.
This hover-over-us gift
lets my eyes open wide
and yours nap on top of me
in the smell of mock orange, snug
on a sprinkle of dry blossoms
in our layered silence.
To the Diarist on the Maine Farm, 1947
- For Henry Beston -
I was being born in a big city, what you call
the idiot world of vitamin pills.
The train couldn’t go fast enough
to bring you back to your iced-over pond
that moans, a welcome fire kindled in your stove.
Would I trade for your world, your winter
kitchen with the painting of two draft horses
pulling a fire wagon, horses you named Prince and Major
for your neighbor’s white plough horses who till
your fields for corn, harvest hay. Your wheeled year
of spring’s mud ruts, fall’s smell of rotting apples.
One in five people were farmers then, now one in fifty.
Your people of color are bare-chested neighbors
you lovingly call Indians, sun-tanned from the fields.
I envy how you listen. Your cistern fills.
Bobolinks. Jays. A rooster. And what you knew.
Why the pig ailed. When alewives run.
The route the swallows take south
in fall. The practicality of a chopping block
of locust wood. You read to your wife
while she darns socks, feel for young men
just home from war. Rain’s one worry.
Your neighbor’s hay, the corn. Another the brush
of a new pesticide on your skin. Hold your reveries
on smoke from chimneys across the pond, whether
fireflies light for love or whimsy. You loved
summer yard sales on old Route 1, displays
for out-of-state plates of hooked rugs, toy lobster pots,
coon kittens, and doughnuts in a crock.
Before Targets, Walmarts. Our unending wars.
We agree on a name for what remains
of uncut woods, The Enchanted.
How we go in deep to feel
what the earth needs. Lingering
footprints of wild –
snowshoe hare, fox, the moose
and the returned wolf loping
under the Big Dipper
you call The Plough.
The Cauldron of Motion
- title from 15th century Irish manuscript Cauldrons of Poesy
This cauldron was born spilling,
knocked over, letting innards
swirl forward and stream.
So much the swirling
moons turning in the eye
of Juno and cycles of
regression in the arms race,
broken tail lights
bleed unto death.
Prophesy dies in one
news cycle, a history
twisting yet again
that spreads like ooze, this is the day
where the noble brew is boiled
and scant whispers of dew escape.
that history hides, stretches – pricks of memories
of winter desert, the long-lost farm, rocks of a childhood
spent, running open roads. Yesterday’s wires to my brain.
My gauzy day when the man with the number on his arm
served me, asked me into his world for cake at a birthday.
Who ate beside me is lost, the song we sang unsung
against the naked fact of his arm’s length of roads and seas
he traveled seeking a light beyond the buried and burned.
The day I breathed my first lest-we-forget day, the barbs.
A Newly Discovered Hole
My tiny terrier digs at the trunk of the tree
I call my own. How much damage can her tiny claws
do to this cedar, some hundred years standing?
I lean over the hole she keeps worrying to see
how deep the tunnel goes. As far as my wrist.
Four women friends have lamented the news
that an impostor Parks employee removed
all the fancy fairy doors and windows
two artists installed in tree nooks
at Maricara Nature Park. This tree, I think,
invites homeless fairies to hide
when someone rips off their doors.
The dog’s stiff eyebrows arch
in I-told-you-so satisfaction.
I collect six gray river rocks
to line up near the meager door.
This close to Easter I sense a shadow.
Stones at the cave? An entrance gate
of stelae for woods people
with feet the size of pinpricks?
The afternoon darkens for showers,
possible hail. I tell the terrier –
Be vigilant, little one. Watch
for inside-outers and passers in.
Bark if fairies grab your toes.
Come get me if the stones roll away.
© 2017 Tricia Knoll
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