Monday, September 28, 2015

'The Name of the Flower': a Blooming Day in Plymouth

Here's one of the poems I read at the Poetry Showcase in Plymouth last weekend. And, above it, a recent photo of the plant that continues to be my September favorite (and muse).

The Name of the Flower

Anemone. It’s the name that speaks to me,
The name that is its own poem.
When all else fails, a single green plant begins to flower
Pink, daisy-shaped, soft fleshy ears around a clock face of yellow
Coming so late; a message from another world
Buds round and puffy before they open.
With such buds you know what is coming
You wait, like a lover, for the sensuous unfolding,
A prolonged anticipation of the moment.
Do not (a voice tells me) make love to a flower.

But it’s timing, as in music, as in love, that lands the punch.
September: the turn in the year,
The turn in the poem of time.

Not so showy as some,
They keep their heads down
No one calls them “cheerful, sun-loving”
But deep-feeling, hearty, September’s half-light loving
They smile, contemplatively,
soaking up thoughts too deep for words.

            It was a fine day for a poetry reading, or pretty much anything else, in Plymouth on Sunday afternoon. Perfect early fall weather, brilliant sunshine, dry air. We read in the Plymouth Center for the Arts, the town's former library building rescued a few years ago from development when the town bought it back and leased it to a local arts organizations. Now it houses an ongoing series of art exhibitions throughout the year, and the large, juried Plymouth Guild Annual Art Show.
            The Poetry Showcase has taken place in conjunction with this show for ten years. The center's largest gallery, formerly the reading room of the library, fills with chairs and a podium (some tables for programs and poetry books) for events such as readings and plays. We had a good and a very responsive crowd Sunday, generous with applause for the readers.
            Two of the poets, Philip Hasouris and Richard Wiley, recited from memory. Elizabeth Hansen read from her two poetry books. Moira Linehan read from her book of poems about dealing with the death of her husband. Mary Pinard read poems on her off the beaten track travels such as visiting American Indian sites in South Dakota.
            The audience was in such a good mood they laughed at the humorous asides in my poems. People also applauded after a couple of the current-event, topical style poems, probably because they shared the political sentiments, such as feeling sick of being poked at for money in every email. Outraged that a boy who brought the clock he made for a science project to school was accused of making a bomb, apparently because he has a Muslim name. It's as if you sent your kid to the local school and found Dr. Turnip-Jump in charge.
            Oh well. Two of these poems on the theme of "Election Fever, Too Hot, Too Soon," will appear this week in the October edition of (Titillatingly titled "Out of My Mind, But Still in My Inbox" and "The Perfect Candidate.")
            Of course I also read some poems on my usual obsessions, plants, seasonal changes, birds, and squirrels who messily eat acorns above me while I'm eating breakfast below: cereal with banana and scattered shell waste.
            I've posted a couple other background photos here. When the squirrels, and the flight paths to Logan Airport, and the power mowers leave me alone, I really like this time of year.