Inspired by an afternoon walk with my son. Weary of discussing the world and its problems, we lapsed into quiet commiseration… then, nearing end of the road, this sound, this airy, magical, musical quivering…
At the end of my road, over the street Where expanse of sky and fallow field meet I walk on in silence, until hearing The faintest vibration upon nearing
Made by a thousand—a million—small things Choir of minuscule cantors with wings Singing their song in darkness, unbidden Deep among long tangled grasses, hidden
Trilling celestial, ethereal sound Otherworldly pulse of the Earth, unbound Cadence of our own burgeoning story Life playing out in wild morning glory
—a quivering —a shivering
At the end of my road, over the street Where sky and field and infinity meet.
–with gratitude for the poetic gathering on Poetry Fridays and to Bridget Magee for hosting today’s Roundup.
Today’s poem challenge begins with the word Think, followed by a word linked to childhood associations and evocative detail. Grimes’ poem begins with Think food and leads to her grandmother’s pineapple upside-down cake and food being “so much more” than nourishment. Margaret’s poem begins with Think dirt and brings the reader into a very real moment of making mudpies (you can feel and smell it) and the deeper context within.
Memoir is probably my favorite type of writing; it is a chance to stand once more in your childhood shoes, experiencing the world just as you did, only framed by knowledge gained since. I had to think a while before an image came to mind foe this memory poem. Then I had to think a while longer about what it meant …
Think pier and danger comes to mind. Weathered gray boards armed with splinters meant for tender young feet encased in sneakers that Grandma made me wear. Sneakers stepping deliberately from slat to solid slat avoiding intervals of nothingness where water laps dark and green below, moving and moving until it seems the whole pier is floating out to sea with me. Summer sun beating down casting our squatty silhouettes on grainy gray wood-canvas. Grandma’s sunhat fluttering in the river’s breath brine in my nose, my mouth endless expanse of silver-green water glinting, beckoning, reckoning— there are no rails. There are nails. Tie the string to the raw chicken neck toss it over—plop— and wait. Let the nail-anchored string rest on your fingers until it moves with strange little jerks then pull so so slowly so carefully. Use both hands but have your net ready for the greedy green-brown crab with fierce orange ‘pinchers’ —keep your fingers away!— and legs painted bright watercolor blue soon scuttling around in Grandma’s galvanized tub. Think pier and she’s right there again between me and danger showing me how to navigate.
Photo: Pier. Richmond AACA. CC-BY. Cropped and converted to black-and-white. The pier of my long-ago childhood memory is so like this one.