Poetry Challenge 59

Answering Joe

After last week’s strange rain and icy sheets on all the roads, trees, fences, cars, we’re now having normal weather for early December in the Interior—twenty below and colder.  The mornings are darker now, with a glow of orange above the jagged ridgeline of the Alaska Range.  In this deep cold, I am thinking of my friend Joe Enzweiler, who is battling brain cancer and whose conversation, poetry, and laughter have warmed winter Thursday nights at my house for many years before this one.

 

I posted this poem of Joe’s in January 2009—and it seems apt for today.   When you read the poem, pick a word or image and write a poem back to Joe, starting with that word.  Send me the poem in the comment section and I’ll add it to this post.

 

In Thanks

For these, blue evening
like a child’s brush,
one star.
Three redpolls, frost
on the nail heads,
white steeple of alder
below the grand
terrible night.
And a beating heart
in which they’re known.
The amazement of our
morning sheets.
Four redpolls now,
then five
in the dust of the day.
For all that stirs
beyond the clearing
as the soft daylight
wicks off.
For the wondrous timepiece
unwinding,
in silence
for life
we bow.

–Joseph Enzweiler
(from The Man Who Ordered Perch
Iris Press, Oak Ridge, Tennessee
2004)

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