Today's poem is by Ruth L. Schwartz
Why We Drive Highway Five in February
Just to see that many trees
burst weeping into blossom:
stung with tears white
as white rivers, pink and fierce
as babies' fingernails,
yellow stamens proud with pollen, blooming
like they'll never stop
while those black handkerchiefs, the crows
fold and unfold themselves
in the upper trunks,
as if they've come to blot out grief
with blackness, or to worship it,
to lift it with their black black wings
oiled by the sunlight between storms,
fly it far up into the always-
Meanwhile, the fat wise cows against the fence.
The herded tenderness of sheep.
Meanwhile, great swathes of mustard and lupine,
sprawl of openmouthed yellow and purple.
Meanwhile, your voice:
It happened, says the world,
The tender triangle of skin
beneath the throat, between the collarbones,
where your age shows first
the crosshatching of the fabric of skin
like cotton faded, pinked,
overwashed, worn thin
tiny window of flesh foretelling
the coming failures of flesh,
sweet dream of flesh unguarded
as the flayed and lovely heart:
revivified, relentlessly exposed.
The great white egrets in the grass
each of their bodies an elegant
pose like a stalking, snatching proof
of beauty in this world.
Who placed them here?
And who placed into us
What force loved us into love?
The rows and rows of identical trees
those branches still disguised as dead,
these branches riven now by life and light.
The swaddled bodies of the cows,
their raw-rubbed teats.
The fields and fields of sheep, stubbled rough as stones.
The way we turn off the car and tremble, for a flicker
of a second, in the humming silence, before pushing
open our doors.
Copyright © 2002 Ruth L. Schwartz All rights reserved
from The Southeast Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission
Support Verse Daily
Verse Daily's very generous sponsors:
Sponsor Verse Daily!
Web Monthly Features
About Verse Daily
Contact Verse Daily
Publications Noted & Received
Copyright © 2002 Verse Daily
All Rights Reserved
Copyright © 2002 Verse Daily All Rights Reserved
[an error occurred while processing this directive]