Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Those Streams \ Northern Lights

Nancy: When I became an easterner, what I had left of Indiana was a sensory landscape of the soft luscious texture of pawpaws, the black walnut stains, heat and sound, odor and taste.
Those Streams
I think the streams were green
green, they were
I remember that they were green
and the roads were dust, and the trumpet creeper
I remember as orange
and so the afternoons are orange, an orange heat
that stayed in Indiana.
I never carried it to this place.
The water, itself, was green
I remember that it was green
that it smelled green
the walk to the stream
smelled and tasted of blackberries and dust
and later, in the dark, only of dust.
I remember it that way
that the sun smelled of hay
and the cabin of quilts
and the dusk of fish and woodsmoke and green water.
Who would ever have guessed
that I might carry those green streams
such a way, even to this place,
that man, that woman, that child, those streams?
Alan:  My childhood memories mostly revolve around “the summer place,” where life felt simple and every day full.  I bless my parents for many things, not least for the experience described in this poem.
Northern Lights
for my parents
Which of you thought to nudge us from sleep so late
and lead us, stumbling and blinking,
from the spidery, dream-ripe cabin down to the water,
load us into canoes, push off, paddle a few soft strokes
and float, out into the basket of cove, drifting,
feeling the metal ribs, tiny slaps on the hull,
smelling the aluminum, faint fish-odor of summer lake,
hearing the crickets, a bull frog, far-off loon,
and looking up, watching the bedclothes and curtains
and gauzy nightgowns of the night
waving and billowing red and white and green,
horizon to horizon, an astonishment of laundry
so clean and slowly perfect that we leaned back,
staring, utterly awake now, not saying a word, rubbing our eyes?
“Those Streams” first appeared in Blackberries and Dust (Stone Man Press, 1984)