Thursday, July 21, 2016

Lament by Gregory Orr


by Gregory Orr

I thought of you
as I drove past
the girl kneeling
on the verge
by her upside-down

       I know
she was only
fixing the chain
but for one moment
I saw her playing
a round harp
(and I thought of you
as I drove past).

There on the highway's
edge where gusts
from passing cars
whipped the grass
like wind off the sea
and she was kneeling,
her arms moving
among the metal spokes
plucking from them
a music lost
in the louder
impersonal sound
of traffic (and I thought
of you
as I drove past).

The girl kneeling
on the verge,
adjusting the loop
of metal links
that would propel her
into the future,
but also playing
(and I thought of you
as I drove past)
a round harp
on a desolate coast.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Two by Grace Paley

Before reading this collection I was mostly unfamiliar with Grace Paley's poetry. There's a lot of hard-earned wisdom in her work. The bike is at the periphery in these two poems, as a fit metaphor in the first and a point of perspective in the second.

A woman invented fire

A woman invented fire and called it
                                        the wheel
Was it because the sun is round
              I saw the round sun bleeding to sky
And fire rolls across the field
              from forest to treetop
It leaps like a bike with a wild boy riding it

oh    she said
              see the orange wheel of heat
light that took me from the
             window of my mother's home
to home in the evening

Having Arrived by Bike at Battery Park

I thought I would
sit down at one of those park department tables
and write a poem honoring 
the occasion which is May 25th
Evelyn   my best friend's birthday
and Willy Langbauer's birthday

Day! I love you for your delicacy
in appearing after so many years 
as an afternoon in Battery Park right
on the curved water
where Manhattan was beached

At once arrows
straight as Broadway were driven
into the great Indian heart

Then we came from the east
seasick and safe the
white tormented people
grew fat in the 
blood of that wound