…being the 10th in a series of lists of poems what I found in cyberspace and brought home to love and call George…
In June the tide comes in before the dusk.
There is an overpass beside the bay
Where water moves in waves so small that they
Must surely be like memories of some waves,
Some older waves that once broke ships while men
Cried out to Jupiter across the sea.
Let’s see. Greek mythology? Check. Blank verse? Check. Astronomy? Check. The word “hydrogen”? Check. Well, it would seem that Mr. Newberry’s incantation to the universe and its mechanisms was written specifically with my personal poetic pecadilloes in mind. Bravo, Mr. N. Bra. Vo.
I bought silverbeet
and refused a bag
and as I stepped away from the checkout
it occurred to me
that I was holding it
like a bunch of flowers. But casually,
as those who are often given flowers do.
At the core of Smith’s slice of life poem is a sweet little juxtaposition of vegetables and flowers. The ending makes me sad every time I read it, which I think is probably her point. Also I really like silverbeet and this poem makes me want to write a poem about silverbeet too.
When the caseworker opened the file
and said, this will be difficult, did you
imagine my whole fist around your finger?
Did you hold the photograph
and think of how small I was, my entire weight
fitting into your palms? [...]
Yeah this is just a good, solid poem about the infinite and self-generating capacity of love and generosity.
It’s a good idea to figure what to do with parents.
One man I knew, after caring for them for years,
Led them across a busy street—two lines of traffic.
He started a lost colony for his parents.
I can’t tell if this poem is meant to be sympathetic toward children or toward parents. If read in a particular way it certainly seems to have that particular passive-aggressive flavour that adult children will be familiar with from their dealings with their parents. Oh wait – I just did it myself, didn’t I? Anyway, it’s good. A bit funny and a bit tragic. Go read it.
The day does what it always does:
goes away. We convince ourselves
to forget with contentment, with
fatigue. Who are we when we sleep.
Stephenson captures nicely the tension between the need for sleep and the sense of waste that comes with so many hours spent doing nothing. I think she wrote this from the perspective of the insomniac, but it appeals just as much to me as someone pinned between the desire to claim some personal time after the kids are in bed and the need to get out of bed to go to work in the morning.