Sunday, April 03, 2005

Poetry Month: Marvin Bell

I was once a poet. I still like poetry, but I tend to like poetry from 400 years ago. In honor of poetry month, I will display a poem here--some of my favorites. At the end, I promise to show you one of my own. Here's the first, one of my favorites, found here.

Jane Was With Me

Jane was with me
the day the rain dropped a squirrel like that.
An upside-down embrace,
a conical explosion from the sky,
a thick flowering of sudden water –
whatever it was,
the way it happened is
that first the trees grew a little,
and then they played music
and breathed songs and applauded themselves,
and that made the squirrel
surrender to nothing but the beauty
of a wet tree
about to shake its upper body like the devil.
And of course, of course,
he went out on that tree just as far as he could
when things were not so beautiful
and that was it: hard onto the roof of our car
before he could set his toes.
The flat whack of the body.
He lay in the street breathing and bleeding
until I could get back,
and then he looked me in the eye exactly.
Pasted to the concrete by his guts,
he couldn’t lift, or leave, or live.
And so I brought the car and put its right tire
across his head. If in between
the life part and the death part,
there is another part,
a time of near-death,
we have come to know its length and its look
exactly – in this life always near death.
But there’s something else.
Jane was with me.
After the rain, the trees were prettier yet.
And if I were a small animal with a wide tail,
I would trust them too. Especially
if Jane were with me.