Hold your horses you little whipper-snappers. We’re not done yet.
It is still National Poetry Month and we are going to see this thing through! I know some of you don’t really love poetry and there are others who think it’s too far over their head. That’s cool. It may be wrong but it can still be cool. Then (you see me shaking my finger at you because you know who you are) there are a few of you who just want to play hooky and hang out in smoke filled bars until the end of April. Well if that’s your attitude you can just order me a pomegranate martini by gosh!
This week we’re gonna mix it up a little. Not the drinks silly. For the next five days [if the good lord’s willing and the creek don’t rise] I’m going to pick a photo I’ve taken and find a poem to go with it. Oh this is going to be sooo fun!
I wonder if words can breathe life into a photograph? If so does it make the picture worth more than a thousand words? Let’s see.
by David St. John
There is a train inside this iris:
You think I’m crazy, & like to say boyish
& outrageous things. No, there is
A train inside this iris.
It’s a child’s finger bearded in black banners.
A single window like a child’s nail,
A darkened porthole lit by the white, angular face
Of an old woman, or perhaps the boy beside her in the stuffy,
Hot compartment. Her hair is silver, & sweeps
Back off her forehead, onto her cold and bruised shoulders.
The prairies fail along Chicago. Past the five
Lakes. Into the black woods of her New York; & as I bend
Close above the iris, I see the train
Drive deep into the damp heart of its stem, & the gravel
Of the garden path
Cracks under my feet as I walk this long corridor
Of elms, arched
Like the ceiling of a French railway pier where a boy
With pale curls holding
A fresh iris is waving goodbye to a grandmother, gazing
A long time
Into the flower, as if he were looking some great
Distance, or down an empty garden path & he believes a man
Is walking toward him, working
Dull shears in one hand; & now believe me: The train
Is gone. The old woman is dead, & the boy. The iris curls,
On its stalk, in the shade
Of those elms: Where something like the icy & bitter fragrance
In the wake of a woman who’s just swept past you on her way
& you remain.