Friday, October 21, 2005

Two Poems

“I stand for a kind of poetry that the everyday person can understand,” he said. “My job as a poet is to make something special of the everyday world.”
-- Ted Kooser


This year they are exactly the size
of the pencil stub my grandfather kept
to mark off the days since rain,

and precisely the color of dust, of the roads
leading back across the dying fields
into the '30s. Walking the cracked lane

past the empty barn, the empty silo,
you hear them tinkering with irony,
slapping the grass like drops of rain.

From Delights and Shadows (2005 Pulitzer Prize Winner for Poetry)

The Rain Stick

Upend the rain stick and what happens next
Is a music that you never would have known
To listen for. In a cactus stalk

Downpour, sluice-rush, spillage and backwash
Come flowing through. You stand there like a pipe
Being played by water, you shake it again lightly

And diminuendo runs through all its scales
Like a gutter stopping trickling. And now here comes
A sprinkle of drops out of the freshened leaves,

Then subtle little wets off grass and daisies;
Then glitter drizzle, almost-breaths of air.
Upend the stick again. What happens next

Is undiminished for having happened once,
Twice, ten, a thousand times before.
Who cares if all the music that transpires

Is the fall of grit or dry seeds through a cactus?
You are like a rich man entering heaven
Through the ear of a raindrop. Listen now again.

Seamus Heaney
The Spirit Level