Today's poem is by Robert Thomas
I'll never forget that afternoon. Where were you then?
I had to get out of the house. The mirrors were sweating,
our home a clay oven: I could feel myself turning to bread.
I headed for the river, the bend where you and I
used to swim, but dragonflies galvanized the air
and the beekeeper saw me. I ran because his hands
were big as honeycombs. I ran because even the sun
oozed a cloying juice. You tell me, Orpheus, you know
everything. Of course I tripped and fell, choked by fumes
of poppies and thyme. Something sharp sank so slowly
into my ankle I didn't know I was hurt. It was a release,
nectar filling me. When I was brim-full it turned into
a thousand bees stinging, like stars coming out inside
my skin, like the brain-hive of a mad, stubborn queen.
Then they stitched shut my eyes for the journey to come.
The next I knew I was on a raft, and after a while the colors
under my eyelids went away. I tried to keep track, determined
to make sense of it. Now I recognized the scent: pomegranate
we weren't going down river: we were crossing. I thought I
heard voices, but it could have been the water,whispering
over and over its most soothing word, now, now now.
You should remember that, Orpheus. That's what real song
has to say, the now of the waters, and sometimes the there,
there there, of the wind. That's what I've learned; it's not
such a mystery. You were warned not to look back:
I would never follow once I saw what was in your eyes.
Bring the living back a song not heard before, not of you
and your quest, not of a fierce wind but the wind here,
that lifts no trim ship's sails and follows no loud god,
but moves so gently through cattails that not one reed
shivers as its seed is borne aloft through dark rushes.
Copyright © 2003 Robert Thomas All rights reserved
from Puerto del Sol
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission
Support Verse Daily
Verse Daily's very generous sponsors:
Sponsor Verse Daily!
Web Monthly Features
About Verse Daily
Submit to Verse Daily
Publications Noted & Received
Copyright © 2002, 2003 Verse Daily
All Rights Reserved
Copyright © 2002, 2003 Verse Daily All Rights Reserved