Thursday, June 13, 2013

This morning's dawn

As I did this and then that, starting with the early feeding of dachshunds, I took pictures. But by the time it was almost dark, and there were two turkeys posturing outside the front windows, I had forgotten the earlier pictures. It was a busy day, but the pocket Lumix makes it all possible. It turned out there was still enough light for turkey pix and when I went to transfer them from the camera, I was quite reminded of dawn. So here it is . . .

I did find time to read almost all of a book I recently got by David Lee, who taught in Southern Utah and became the first poet laureate Utah had bothered to have. The book is called So Quietly the Earth, from Copper Canyon Press, 2004. David Lee is the author of The Porcine Canticles (what a great title!) dramatic monologues spoken in the rich and earthy persona of a Southern Utah pig farmer. This has been a book I have loved for many years, and I try to keep up with his later work, which is also extremely strong and well-crafted, individual and different as well as very accessible,
One interesting strategy he adopts in this book is to scatter a series of poems called "While Walking" throughout the volume. They are numbered in sequence, and each one has a chapter-and-verse citation from the Holy Bible. I used my iPhone app to go to the citation as I read the poem and then I pencilled the bible verse or verses into the blank space beneath each poem. Each poem does not take off directly from the citation, but they respond to each other, the way the two parts of a good haiku "vibrate" against each other, or the way in the best haiga (art with haiku) the art is not a copy of the image in the poem, but rather relates to it in some other way. I hope to explore thia whole small series of poems in a later post, after I have spent some more time with it. Here is a dawn poem (pages 7-8) from this book; I have marked others to share with you later.

Dawn Psalm, Pine Valley

by David Lee

While I was not watching
sunrise came with a ruby throat
and gold-flecked wings.


and a small wisp of cloud
above the dark pine.
A jaysquall
leaves a small bruise
on one corner
of sky.


Boiling coffee.
A blue enamel pot
nestled in warm coals
beside the cold
sliding water.
Sky so close
you fear
bumping your head.


A brown breaks surface
rising to wingshadow
drifting on the blue selvage
of pond.


Golden lace.
Sunrise pours slantwise
into clear water
through the blue spruce,
the deep tangle of pine
and purled woodsmoke.


I turned
and the earth hushed.
While I leaned into silence
a morning too vast to fathom
filled with light.



I am not sure we need part 7, but that is a snobby quirk of mine. I prefer not to be taken out of the experience by being told what to think or feel. But that's a small quibble! Note here the lovely variation (I am telling you what to think!) in line length, even in a poem with such short lines.. I also love the compounded "jaysquawk" and "wingshadow" as well as the more common "slantwise and the "woodsmoke" that is upsetting my Blogger's spellcheck. (It didn't like that last word either!) Enjoy this poem, and remember some times when you have been outdoors at dawn. Pull on the end of your memory thread and write a poem! Good night!

Posted by Picasa

No comments:

Post a Comment