Alan: My father’s poems sit in files, folders, binders, a few issues of small magazines, several self-published books. But the source of his poems remained a mystery to him; I think he would have given up the poems to know their source.
To My Father’s Ghost
Where do the poems come from in the night?
Like tiny fish, nibbling our dreams with soft lips.
Like something found in the bottom of the basket
that we unfold, and are changed forever.
Like sudden anger at the madness of street signs
and dead birds.
Even in full light, they come cowled in a little midnight
of rain and buffeting wind.
As meaningless as the shape breath takes,
this cold morning. As essential.
If I had known the answer sooner.
Even in the perfect faux daylight.
Nancy: Rains like this are rare, and take us by surprise. We may hear “heavy rain” or “coastal flooding” but until we see road washouts, flooded villages, the winter woodpiles and summer cabins floating down to the sea, they’re just words.
One inch raises the smelt brook.
Two inches floods the meadow.
Four inches tears at the beaver dam.
Five and the stones shudder
at Bad Little Falls.
And yet it comes, six, seven,
down the Piscataquis, the Penobscot,
from Meddybemps to the Cathance.
Spruce tumbles, loosed from the forest,
over the falls; it rides the Machias.
What it wants it takes.
It makes us islands, makes us tiny,
our works fragile, our bays rough and roiling,
clear Cobscook, blue Passamaquoddy.
The falls make their own thunder today,
their own tower of cloud.
Beaver gnawed, a log, end over end
tossing in the wild Machias toward the sea.