A Birthday Poem
It’s always a challenge to write an occasional poem without getting totally sappy. So take the challenge–write about an event or occasion: birthday, wedding, farewell to travelers, etc.–without getting, well, mushy. This works for me as an exercise in negative space–writing about what surrounds the occasion, such as details, objects, images, rather than about the occasion itself.
I’ll post my attempt at this tomorrow. Send me yours.
(Happy Birthday, Ira)
Here’s a poem in response to the prompt–for all September birthdays. There seem to be a cluster of them. (By the way, I’m not sure what happens to the formatting of these poems when I place them in a post. I’ll keep working on that! For now, I’ll try to trick the formatting with extra periods.)
The Way the Season Goes Sometimes:
a flock of yellow warblers
fills a willow just as a few commas
of yellow leaves appear;
then yellow in the birches,
on the hearts of zucchini leaves,
in the ring of petals of a late sunflower,
or an agate shaped tomato.
Then the sky: yellow to orange
to deep rose, the dusky smudge
of clouds on the horizon, above white
peaks, the jig-saw at the edge
of our sight.
We should have known. The season
teeters on brilliance; noon
gleams with light, the blue
stretch of sky, the tease–near
In our hurry, these days,
to stack wood, put away
the hose, eat all the lettuce
we can, something falls
from a pocket, or flutters
from a car door to the ground.
A few white flakes zig-zag
down. The things we drop
get buried in forgetful fluff
for months to come, wait
for our return,
shaking off the journey
And this from Claire:
A vegan sheet cake cooked with love
before I even knew you
braces, bowl cut, tie-dyed shirt
a photo that didn’t capture the beauty of the moment
the cook since married and gone
mother of two, distant and unknowable
those singing to you, now scattered across the country.
It is the last day of September and I’m in California
watching the fog push up against the hills
and reveling in the last days of summer.
But superimposed on the San Francisco sun is an eastern fall
and despite it all my mouth fills with the memory of melted wax on frosting.