A tree never screams this
which is not to say
the drama of its life
blazing yellow from fall
to fall, shaking
openly for months
on end, perhaps wild
in verdant forests
occurs without a language
Our minds may fail to comprehend
the vocabulary of hairy buds
bursting from having lived invisibly,
catkin blossoms giving themselves
to loll, then leaf
not singly but compounded
five or seven broad and fragrant times,
along green pendant edges,
bitternuts-- those tricksters--
and glorious pecans
in thin, winged husks. Generosity
we surely see; then we cut it
down to size, hearing—sugar me
for your pies, my sisters' bodies
for the handles of your axes.
It's real, with a name, Floyd, huffing
hard against the window. Inside
my daughter and her friends huddle
around the counter, toasting bagels, brewing tea,
surrendering the day to food and Scrabble—
Such a strange, sweet slumber party
I say next morning as they take off,
pouring out some weird sadness,
the sea falling out of my eyes
and that's a fact,
how it's old, the salt of it.
THE NATURAL STATE
It’s May. The month of peonies.
The month of watching stems rise
inch by inch by foot and soon
green leaves are lining up in rows
like proper children told that someday
buds, tiny tight ones
fattening with warmth, will grow up
to be flowers
Here come the ants to lick the glue
they know it’s time
to petal forth these peonies
to the fullness of their power
A mystery, ants crawling on a roof
twelve floors above the earth.
A mystery all birth, the I
I am and have been for seventy-five years.
This year I’m staying closer to the dirt
to cultivate a kinship with what plays there.
Copyright (C) 2012-2018 by Myra Shapiro.All rights reserved by the author.
Myra Shapiro is the author of I'll See You Thursday (Blue Sofa Press, 1996) and a memoir, Four Sublets: Becoming a Poet in New York (Chicory Blue Press,2007). Her recent book of poems 12 Floors Above the Earth will be published by Antrim House Books in 2012. She serves on the board of Poets House for many years and teaches poetry work-shops for The International Women’s Writing Guild. Myra Shapiro has read her work far and wide and been published in many literary magazines and anthologies.