Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Garden of Verse: A Quiet But Unforgettable Poem About 'Winter Sundays'



      A monthly column written by poet David Graham for Verse-Virtual, the online poetry journal to which I contribute each month, continues to contribute to my education. The column is called "Poetic License." This month David writes about one of his favorite poets, Robert Hayden, and shares some great poems including, to quote from the column, this "rather understated, rueful lyric about [his father], 'Those Winter Sundays,' which if not my favorite poem of all time, is certainly in my top five":

Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.


I'd wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he'd call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,


Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love's austere and lonely offices?


To read the rest of David Graham's column, see Verse-Virtual at:
http://www.verse-virtual.com/david-grahams-poetic-license-2017-february-no9.html

        I have four new poems in the February issue, including one based on a photo of a Great Blue Heron by fellow poet Jim Lewis. Jim posted his photo on Facebook and challenged other poets who write for Verse-Virtual.com to write a poem inspired by looking this bird in the eye. My response to the challenge begins…

Courage of the Wind
(based on Jim Lewis’s photo of the Great Blue Heron)

You see me, as always, before I see you
You turn on a corner of the wind
where the air meets sky and the scent
of salt marsh bathes the hours
I know you by the killer eye in your bone arrow,
your linear head-piece head-on to the future
that houses both sense and brain, and the rapier jaw,
the needle of thought sewn through sky and brine,
the silvery flesh of life in the quick
and the ocular penetration,
right-angled from your dagger stab

… to read the rest of this poem and all the others in the February 2017 issue of Verse-Virtual.com, see http://www.verse-virtual.com/poems-and-articles.html