Saturday, April 03, 2004

June 2003

by Fred First

Declare these things, and testify
See each memory with insight and speak its name
touched and known, harvested
by word and form, preserved
by points of colored light
in clear glass and stored
drying in synapses that hang like raisins
on tangled wires.

Preserve the night of summer light and
Pollen round sifted like fine flour when
Fireflies warmed heavy air with cold light
And moon shadows sailed over pasture grass
Coursed dark like liquid ships
in shades of gray the size of meadows, surged
from behind you spilled under your feet
Poured into creeks and lifted
without effort up mountains
under ground under oaks
To the top of the ridge and were gone. Yet
This too remains.

Sing the wind in winter,
Dense and gray, heavier than air that sinks
into the valley like a glacier of broken glass,
That pushes hard on frozen earth, unrelenting.
Recall dreams of Old Man Winter from children's books
Cheeks bloated lips pursed brow furrowed,
Exhaling a malevolent blast below
On frail pink children in wet mittens.
You have seen this in your time, and more.

Hold fast to leaves in Autumn,
That wait frail and finished--
beech and spicebush, poplar, oak, elm--
For a time to fall. Recall:
You lay on your back in dappled sun
And counted above the maples
winged wisps pulled west
Monarchs of air
You told the signatures of trees
by traces of their leaves, dying.

These things I declare are real as bare toes
among stoneflies in torrents of cold.
Bear witness to them, for
you will come back and visit when you are old.

Claim by memory these moments
And clutch meaning from stones
and reason from under bark and barn boards
Redeem purpose and beauty from under your feet,
wrestle them to the ground
And plant them here in the good Earth
while there is time.
Plant seeds of memory here
So others may shelter in this forest.
Declare these things and you will be long among friends
When days become short.

Fred First is proprietor and perpetrator of the photo-lovely, text-rich, and well-read blog-site called Fragments from Floyd. He lives in Floyd County, Virginia (or, should we say, his Blue Ridge Mountain Home). He is finishing up a book about the turn and pull of seasons there, tentatively titled Here's Home: Belonging In the Blue Ridge.


I'm interested in considering your "poems of place" for publication in The Middlewesterner's "Saturday's Poem" feature; send two or three of your best in the body of an e-mail addressed to . Put "Saturday's Poem" in the subject line. Then be patient. I will get back to you about whether I'll use your work or not. Send along a short biographical note and information about where your books can be purchased and I'll include that when your poem runs. There's no payment involved for having your work appear in "Saturday's Poem," but the feature is seen by some high class readers. About sixteen of them, by our current count.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?