Here are three of my brothers doing what boys did then. I think that is John in the air--but it could be Richard--how to tell?--with Robert and David as onlookers. This time in our family life is mysterious to me, since at that point I had left home. My Childhood Home was in the Village of Scotia, New York, where I spent my first fifteen years. But the boys spent a great part of growing-up-time here on The Farm. (Not that we grew much: a garden, some horses and some chickens; mostly children.) I love the great arching swing of this photo taken by my mother Wild freedom!
Tonight we have a work by Steve Kowit, who lives on the four-point-five acres near Chula Vista, mentioned in the poem. He has written a good guide to writing poetry called In the Palm of Your Hand; The Poet's Portable Workshop. Several fine collections of his poems have also been published. This is another poem from A Bird Black as the Sun; California poets on crows and ravens, Green Poet Press, 2011.
Squawks from a raven in what used to be Jack
Funk's field over the fence, scolding
me til I look up and see that the hills
are still there, that the day
couldn't be lovelier, sweeter. Susan Green's
little girls are chatting in singsong
up in the tree house,
in what used to be Dempsey's old place
to the west, & who will stroll over these four-
point-five acres of rolling high-desert chaparral
when we two are gone?----The tin barn.
The pump house and shed. That underground stream
from which we've been drinking
our fill these dozen years.
Who'll own all this dusty blue mountain lilac,
the aloes & roses & pines & bright orange iceplant?
Who'll walk in the shade of that live oak
under which Ralphie & Ivan & Charlie
& Eddie are buried? Who'll watch the quail
flutter out of the brush & the rabbits
scurry for cover? Who will these granite
boulders & lovely agaves belong to
when you & I, love, are buried
& long forgotten?----Forgive me,
sweet earth, for not being shaken more often
out of the heavy sleep of the self.
Wake up! Wake up! Scolds the raven, sailing off
over the canyon, Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!
by Steve Kowit, page 129
First, I want you to say, "Jack Funk's field over the fence, scolding . ." Say it a couple of times!
Then I want you to follow the ampersands through this poem and note how they support the structure.
Then I want you to read the whole poem out loud. Twice. Sleep tight!