Finding Old Poems I

It’s funny how a poem can capture a particular moment, so that when you read it years later that whole period of life comes back. Here’s one I wrote when my kids (now grown or nearly grown) were little. I’ve never shared it, since I didn’t consider it a “real” poem and probably intended to revise it. Here it is:

Azaleas


I should be
rewriting a children’s story.
It’s due today
and my son has set a buzzer on the stove
for when I have to leave for an afternoon meeting.
Today the yard is bursting rhododendrons
like buttered popcorn.
Bees lift and hover in the pollen cups.
Instead of writing for my deadline
I am thinking about theology
of how God could infuse the yellow azaleas
outside the picture window
and my sleeping dog here on the carpet
and where the telephone pole across the street
fits into all this.
The story
is about bullies and playground power
and I’m wondering how senators cling
to a Jesus I don’t know and quote Ghengis Khan
and call it holy.
I don’t understand much beyond the asphalt
of the schoolyard
and the bees and the azaleas
and my dog.

This morning I heard the Nobel laureate who
discovered the DNA helix. He was talking
about women who may abort their babies
for frivolous reasons like eye color
but said we must use common sense and that most
people weren’t that silly and that we have to allow
silliness in some people.
Maybe he’s right and I’m ridiculous to let the bees outside
when they are trapped behind the picture window
and to call a fetus holy.
I was thinking that I won’t win the Nobel, ever
and, that being the case, what is
my purpose in the world?
I don’t play violin
like Itzhak Perlman and I don’t write
like Annie Dillard and I’m not writing now,
only observing bees and forgetting about
the buzzer on the stove
and the telephone pole
and now my dog is waking.
He looks at me
and winks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *