Sunday, March 09, 2014

"I used a cracker-hole to pierce the world--"

More recovered history. This is my mother in her garden in the yard of the Shaker Heights home. I cannot figure the exact date but she was in her late 70s or early 80s. I cannot help noticing how the tai chi, yoga and other movement exercises were good for her legs. She took her college degree in physical education, and Reader Me was always a little puzzling to her. She loved to garden and wanted to raise herbs and other things to eat. I often wish I had paid more attention to the things she told me, but that is probably a pretty common regret.

Tonight may be the last of Walter Pavlich's poems for a while; I have really enjoyed this rediscovery! This is from his book, Ongoing Portraits, Barnwood Press, 1985, page 36. I wish you could see the cover image of this book; I would link to it if I could find it online. It is a photo of the author's father with his group, The Herculean Trio in a fantastic gymnastic pose. The muscley effect is offset by the diaperish trunks, white ballet slippers (men-sized!) and white swim caps they are wearing. The costumery was from another time, but they look very strong. I wish I knew more about this. Vaudeville?

On Not Growing Up With Fireflies

Fireflies ascend the rain-coming air,
each arc governed by the need
for another light like his own.
They give up feeding
and just swallow air
or the flight-scent of a luminous mate.
I missed them as a boy
too many clouds spilling 
over to douse them.

But even then I knew
my eyes would not save me
for what I wanted to see.
I used a cracker-hole
to pierce the world--
crows hooked on a telephone pole,
water lifting out of the sea.

I can view them now
in the amphitheatre of the Midwest
bits of dry lightning
cruising and resting.
Bewildered moths veer toward
their intermittent illumination.
I have faith in these aviators
on fire with their on-again
off-again nocturnal ignition,
these quick sparks of eternity.

                   Walter Pavlich

The idea of looking through a hole in a saltine is really great; like a pinhole camera! Did you grow up with fireflies? I did. But the fireflies in northern Michigan are truly spectacular; I try to get there by the first week in June so I can see them again. I love the imaginative flights this poem takes.

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