Enlighten Radio Presents:
The April 26, 2023 LIVE Broadcast of The Poetry Show
Today's show features two American poets: Jane Kenyon and Joy Harjo. Both found deep American waters and burial grounds amidst the shrapnel and debris of the Sixties. These two poets, and me, share the memory of the explosions.
After an Illness, Walking the Dog
Wet things smell stronger,
and I suppose his main regret is that
he can sniff just one at a time.
In a frenzy of delight
he runs way up the sandy road—
scored by freshets after five days
of rain. Every pebble gleams, every leaf.
When I whistle he halts abruptly
and steps in a circle,
swings his extravagant tail.
Then he rolls and rubs his muzzle
in a particular place, while the drizzle
falls without cease, and Queen Anne’s lace
and Goldenrod bend low.
The top of the logging road stands open
and light. Another day, before
hunting starts, we’ll see how far it goes,
leaving word first at home.
The footing is ambiguous.
Soaked and muddy, the dog drops,
panting, and looks up with what amounts
to a grin. It’s so good to be uphill with him,
nicely winded, and looking down on the pond.
A sound commences in my left ear
like the sound of the sea in a shell;
a downward, vertiginous drag comes with it.
Time to head home. I wait
until we’re nearly out to the main road
to put him back on the leash, and he
—the designated optimist—
imagines to the end that he is free.
Alone For a Week
there are always flowers,
love cries, or blood.
someone is always leaving
by exhile, death or heartbreak.
the heart is a fist.
it pockets prayer or holds rage.
it’s a timekeeper.
music maker or backstreet truth teller.
baby, baby, baby
you can’t say what’s been said
before, though even words
are a creature of habit.
you cannot force poetry
with a ruler, or jail it at a desk.
mystery is blind, but wills you
to untie the cloth, in eternity.
police with their guns
cannot enter here to move us off our lands.
history will always find you, and wrap you
in its thousand arms.–
someone will lift from the earth
another will fall from the sky
through the knots of a tree.
chaos is primordial.
all words have roots here.
you will never sleep again
though you will never stop dreaming.