Today's poem is by Jane Springer
Who made the banjo sad & wrong?
Who made the luckless girl & hell bound boy?
Who made the ballad? The one, I mean,
where lovers gallop down mountain brush as though in love
where hooves break ground to blood earth scent.
Who gave the boy swift words to woo the girl from home
& the girl too pretty to leave alone? He locks one arm
beneath her breasts as they ride onmaybe her apron comes
undone & falls to a ditch of black-eyed susans. Maybe
she dreams the clouds are so much flour spilt on heaven's table.
I've run the dark county of the heart this music comes frombut
I don't know where to hammer-on or to drop a thumb to the
haunted string that sets the story straight: All night Willie's dug
on Polly's grave with a silver spade & every creek they cross
makes one last splash. Though flocks of swallows loomthe one
hung in cedar now will score the girl's last thrill. Tell
me, why do I love this sawmill-tuned melancholy song
& thud of knuckles darkening the banjo face?
Tell me how to erase the ancient, violent beauty
in the devil of not loving what we love.
Copyright © 2012 Jane Springer All rights reserved
from Murder Ballad
Alice James Books
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission
Support Verse Daily
Sponsor Verse Daily!
Web Weekly Features
About Verse Daily
Submit to Verse Daily
Copyright © 2002-2012 Verse Daily
All Rights Reserved
Copyright © 2002-2012 Verse Daily All Rights Reserved