Southern Hospitality

Submitted to dVerse OpenLinkNight, Holiday Edition. Not very Christmassy, but the word Holiday reminded me of a song by Billie Holiday.

World Famous Southern Hospitality
and yet, not so many years
ago, we hung our black
brothers and sisters
from our leafy gallows
as we posed, grinning white
faces topped with jaunty
hats. Smoking, squatting
on fatty haunches,
or leaning against
the strange fruit-
bearing tree as if sharing
a neighborly moment
in the white clover yard
of the white narrow church.

lines 10-11: see the song “Strange Fruit” as sung by Billie Holiday

Hawthorne on Theological Books

No poetry from me this week due to a ton of overtime work. But here’s a nice quote from Hawthorne’s “The Old Manse”:

So long as an unlettered soul can attain to saving grace, there would seem to be no deadly error in holding theological libraries to be accumulations of, for the most part, stupendous impertinence.

I agree. Even though I own a pretty sizable theological library.

Frisbees and Pinwheels

For Three Word Wednesday, prompt words dangle, abnormal, lavish. Also submitted to dVerse OpenLinkNight. 
Arp 188 and the Tadpole’s Tail 
Image Credit: Hubble Legacy ArchiveESANASAProcessing – Bill Snyder (Heavens Mirror Observatory)

Frisbees & Pinwheels
After all, what does it matter, this troubled
hour, when whole worlds dangle overhead,
prodded into existence by who knows
what evasive Power? I’ve seen a picture
of the Tadpole Galaxy, so called for its
abnormal gaseous tail stretched out
280 thousand light years,
caused by some celestial near miss.
In the background other spiral galaxies
are scattered lavishly about. Some lay
flat, like frisbees flung over the roof, sent
flying just to see where they might land;
others stand on edge, like sparkling pinwheels
we used to clench in our plump childish hands,
running. What if God is but a laughing child
spinning pinwheels?

A Prayer Before the End

Knowledgeable poet Gay Reiser Cannon, host of tonight’s FormForAll at dVerse, has invited us to try our hand at writing a quatern. Both rhyme and meter play a role in this form–I kept pretty close to exactness, but there are a few slight metrical replacements along the way. This was super fun–it’s amazing how much can be learned by adhering to a form. Anyway, in the spirit of the end of the world predicted for this month . . . 

A Prayer Before the End
All former things will pass away—
A ball of flame; forgetfulness.
At any rate, the wise seers say
A bang or whimper ends it all.
Some dream of walking golden streets
When former things will pass away,
No loss or pain will enter there
And night will fade to lasting day.
If I may ask for a delay
There’re things I’d like to do before
All former things will pass away.
I want to plant my spring garden,
Enjoy a walk beside the creek,
And watch the kids go out to play.
I’ll turn the lights out when I leave
When former things will pass away.

Long Day of Work

For Three Word Wednesday, prompt words battle, fluid, harvest. Also submitted to dVerse. I don’t know how much chance I’ll have to visit other blogs this week–work calls me, which may explain the subject of my poem this week.

Long Day of Work
I’ve been told that life
is a battle, and as metaphors
go I don’t think much of it.
I prefer to see life
as a long day of work,
as if each hour
was just one more row
to harvest, some easier
than others. The hard rows
call for occasional rest
under a shady oak,
where there’s no shame
in taking it. At the end
of the day, a cold beer
and drowsy drifting
into fluid sleep.