Friday, April 01, 2016

Looking back while drawn . . .

Here I am, in the late 1930s, reaching for a grapefruit 
on my grandmother's tree in Mesa. Arizona.
My mother has brought me on the train all the way
from Schenectady, New York -- to show me to her family in Arizona.

If Not, Winter

How the night air smells like Circe's island,
like frangipani, even the trees a species
of rose. Grapevines bound in precise chords
tracing contours of hills. Orchards knee-deep
in wild mustard along I-5, forget-me-nots
blue in the ruts. Silver chains of salmon
hauled up mountain streams. Live oak, wild orchid,
purple owl clover. Mt. Tam's cubist nude
in recline, alpenglowed. Persimmons hung
like bright lanterns after the leaves have gone.
Houseboat gypsy scarlet and azuls,
gray gulls, parchment egrets. Frail sculls
pulling diagonals on wide pewter water.
Looking back while drawn into the future.

Rebecca Foust  

Paradise Drive, Press 53, 2015, page 81.

This book of poems won this year's Press 53 poetry prize.
After 20 years of pursuing a legal and youth advocacy career, Foust has returned to writing and won several awards for her poetry. This book is all sonnets and they are terrific examples. Check it out! I love the California tropes in this poem, as I have grown to love California in the past 50 years.

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