Friday, April 5, 2013

American lives have a second half

photo of ice covered Spring pond
Welcome. Thanks for coming. If you compare today's photo with yesterday's, you'll have proof positive that last year Spring was early, or this year it's late, depending on your perspective. Early or late, I think it's time we looked at a poem by Joyce Sutphen, Minnesota's current (and only the second) poet laureate. I'm particularly fond of her poem Crossroads from "Straight Out of View," her first book of poetry. The second stanza concludes with language that particularly resonates with me during this season of transition. Carefully consider:
The second half of my life will be swift,
past leaning fenceposts, a gravel shoulder,
asphalt tickets, the beckon of open road.
The second half of my life will be wide-eyed,
fingers sifting through fine sands,
arms loose at my sides, wandering feet.
There will be new dreams every night,
and the drapes will never be closed.
I will toss my string of keys into a deep
well and old letters into the grate.
The second half of my life will be ice
breaking up on the river, rain
soaking the fields, a hand
held out, a fire,
and smoke going
upward, always up.
Nature literate, yes. Grounded in place, yes [fenceposts, gravel shoulders]. Coyote as totem? I think so [new dreams every night, keys into a deep well]. Bear as totem? Again, I think so [open drapes]. Further totems? What do you think? Fear not science and go further with it ? Yep [fire -->smoke-->upward]. Study mind and language, crafty, get the work done? Yup, yup and yup. [you can figure it out yourself] Truly a nature-worthy poet laureate for My Minnesota. Thanks for listening. Rants, raves and reflections served daily.