Wind

   He makes the wind His messengers . . .

Storms from the west.
The remains of many
acquiring lives splintered,
scattered about as if
a spoiled child in foul mood
rampaged the block, bent on
destroying all to prove his will.

The news cameras scan the random
heaps: microwaves, photographs,
torn fabric of what might be
curtains or a prom dress
—a memory formerly
stowed away in the spare closet
now revealed for all to see—

mingled with things
more basic to survival:
the contents of a freezer;
bits of wood and drywall
that only minutes ago was shelter.

The reporter, with requisite empathy,
interviews swollen-eyed residents
who can only mention
some divine power at work.
How silly to see willful intent,
ascribing to some irate or fickle god
what is, after all, just wind.

At the Crossroads Inn

Late night in a strange town.
What kind of town don’t sell booze
at the corner store?
Can’t get my mind off the
cold tapping of a limb
on the dirty window

and wondering if we ever grow out
of this incessant application
of the same fucking solutions
to the same fucking problems,
never solving anything, never realizing
the solutions are part of the problem.

Maybe even The Problem. I don’t know.
What do I know? I’m no deep thinker.

Not putting up with it for four more nights—
tomorrow I’m calling in a request
to have that damn limb cut off.

The book in the drawer
says to come unto me,
all ye that labour and are heavy
laden. Been told that all my life,
and tried it for most of it.
That promised rest don’t never come.
Don’t never come.

Starting to reckon there’s no one out there,
no one able to give rest, anyway.

Yellow light from the roadside
glimmers through window grime.
It’s not a sign of anything.
Nothing’s a sign of anything.

Ada Limon: What It Looks Like To Us and the Words We Use

If you like poetry and are not subscribed to Ted Kooser’s column you are missing a weekly treat. Reprinted with permission.
American Life in Poetry: Column 445


BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE 

Sit for an hour in any national airport and you’ll see how each of us differs from others in a million ways, and of course that includes not only our physical appearances but our perceptions and opinions. Here’s a poem by Ada Limón, who lives in Kentucky, about difference and the difficulty of resolution. 

What It Looks Like To Us and the Words We Use 

All these great barns out here in the outskirts,
black creosote boards knee-deep in the bluegrass.
They look so beautifully abandoned, even in use.
You say they look like arks after the sea’s
dried up, I say they look like pirate ships,
and I think of that walk in the valley where
J said, You don’t believe in God? And I said,
No. I believe in this connection we all have
to nature, to each other, to the universe.
And she said, Yeah, God. And how we stood there,
low beasts among the white oaks, Spanish moss,
and spider webs, obsidian shards stuck in our pockets,
woodpecker flurry, and I refused to call it so.
So instead, we looked up at the unruly sky,
its clouds in simple animal shapes we could name
though we knew they were really just clouds—
disorderly, and marvelous, and ours.


—————————————————————-
American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2012 by Ada Limón, whose most recent book of poems is Sharks in the Rivers, Milkweed Editions, 2010. Poem reprinted from Poecology, Issue 1, 2011, by permission of Ada Limón and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2013 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

when my time comes

when my time comes

these days I rarely
have a prayer to say

but one in my
stumbling way

to whatever
listening gods


when my time comes
let me be as the trees

releasing browning leaves
letting them tumble

gently down

——————————————

Goodness. It’s been a while. Tonight for dVerse Meeting the Bar, Victoria Slotto has tempted us to write a spicy, erotic, or touchy-subject poem (death, religion, politics, hot-button issues) using metaphor and image to elaborate the point. Of course I chose to write about death, a touchy subject for some people, with a little religion thrown in for good measure.

Balloons

Balloons
They gave balloons to all the kids,
in hopes (my guess) of keeping
them occupied as parents shopped.
Helium-filled, squeaky red spheres
of shimmering joy, tied on each slender
wrist, and the scheme did work,
for a while at least, until we
tried to take it off to strap him
in his seat and he screamed
holy hell; and we fingered
the string to feed him supper,
and he fought us off; and it was
time for bath and there was No Way
he was going to wear it in the tub,
but he gave our ears such a
buffeting that we gave in, washing
around the knotted white twine.
Then time for bed, and now
for sure he would obey or else,
and the hollering resumed; finally
I had enough, took the balloon
in my furious hands and wrenched—
Pop! My sudden act of benevolence.
And later, sleepless, I wondered if God
felt guilty for ending our fun
over one shiny red obsession.
———————————
–Submitted to dVerse OpenLinkNight. Come join in!

It Is Enough

Anna got me thinking about willing, wishing, answering the call in her great post on dVerse Meeting the Bar. I put a few lines together, but nothing seemed to fit the prompt as well as this older poem, slightly reworked. My apologies to the few who may have already read this one. 

It Is Enough
I heard my share
of sermons, serving
time on straight-backed
pews, begrudging each
moment lost
                     to eternity.
My elders sat willingly           
in expectation
of heavenly reward, glad
to leave all worldly affairs,
glad to rest weary bones
if only for a moment.
They meant well.
I see that now, now
that my own bones
need rest, now that
I hope beyond all hope
to be free in the divine.
But we will never
decipher the mystery, try
as we might. Will we?
All we have from him
we already know,
written bold:
do not kill,
do not steal,
do unto others.
We stumble over what
we do not have: the
in-between-the-lines,
shrouded, incomprehensible,
written in sand, faint
markings that lead us
to belief or despair. I believe
it is enough to want
to believe. It is enough.