Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Empty Thermos

One of the highlights of my week when I was very young was peeking inside my father's black metal lunch pail when he returned from working in Minneapolis. Things were tough and our small farm offered only a hardscrabble existence. In order to make ends meet, he went to work as a carpenter in the newly-forming suburbs. He would arrive home every Friday night with a candy bar inside his lunch pail, cut into three sections, one for each of the younger children still at home. I loved going through that pail, removing and then replacing his thermos tucked inside the lid. It seemed like a magical part of my father's life.

We never gave a thought to being "poor," didn't really know what that was. We had parents who loved us and labored hard to improve our lives. And they did, very much so. I will be forever grateful for all they did for us. I'm able to be here at this beautiful place I call Lonewolf today because of their labor, still surrounded by almost an embarrassment of natural riches.

"Labor Day"

Even the bosses are sleeping late
in the dusty light of September.

The parking lot’s empty and no one cares.
No one unloads a ladder, steps on the gas

or starts up the big machines in the shop,
sanding and grinding, cutting and binding.

No one lays a flat bead of flux over a metal seam
or lowers the steel forks from a tailgate.

Shadows gather inside the sleeve
of the empty thermos beside the sink,

the bells go still by the channel buoy,
the wind lies down in the west,

the tuna boats rest on their tie-up lines
turning a little, this way and that.

~Joseph Millar

Joseph Millar is an American poet from North Carolina

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Looking for Red Clover

"Lillian's Chair"
           for Lillian Lowenfels

Lillian has just arisen from her chair.
She has gone into her garden to commune with snails
to answer the bird's questions.
She has left her shawl and her cane
and that iron leg brace.
Won't she need her shawl in the garden?
Won't she be feeling the cold?

And she has forgotten her sling
thrown it carelessly aside -
the crumpled black satin
in which she cradled her dead arm
for seventeen years.
In one hand she took her straw basket
in the other her pruning shears:
"That bush needs seeing to," she muttered
and went looking for red clover, queen anne's lace.

What is she doing so long in the garden?
Where has she gone with her red hair?
She just grew tired of sitting and watching.
A vivid light pulled her into the leaves.
Woolen shawl, satin sling, iron brace -
she just walked out on them all.

Left us this empty chair.

~ Olga Cabral

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Blue Moons and Snow Globes

One completely irrelevant, totally without merit bit of trivia you might not know about me: I collect snow globes, the more kitschy the better. The photo is a sampling of them ...

In other news: when I was walking down the road to the cabin last night to watch the blue moon rise over the neighbor's field, I heard something in my little orchard. I clapped my hands together hard and said, "Get outta here," followed by the sound of at least one large body hurrying through the brush. I'll admit, my heart was pounding as I walked, somewhat rapidly, back to the house. By the looks of the scat under the apple trees this morning, I think I was talking to a bear. I guess he wasn't sleeping after all. The moon sure was pretty, though.

From my poetry blog:

Monday, August 5, 2013

A Country Kind of Love

"Love in the Country"

We live like this: no one but
some of the owls awake, and of them
only near ones really awake.

In the rain yesterday, puddles
on the walk to the barn sounded their
quick little drinks.

The edge of the haymow, all
soaked in moonlight,
dreams out there like silver music.

Are there farms like this where
no one likes to live?
And the sky going everywhere?

While the earth breaks the soft horizon
eastward, we study how to deserve
what has already been given us.

~ William Stafford

The photograph is mine.