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Showing posts with label Book of Days. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Book of Days. Show all posts

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Book of Days - A Chapbook by Scott Owens

I think poems from Scott Owens' Book of Days - A chapbook --- are especially appropriate for this day beginning 2009.
"Book of Days," has been published online by The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature..http://www.deadmule.com/poetry/2009/01/scott-owens-book-of-days-a-chapbook/
Poems will be continued in future posts.

January Looks Forward and Back,
Feeds the Stove October’s Wood,
Saves the Ashes for April’s Garden

January wraps trees in sleeves
of ice, coats the ground in frost,
throws its shawl of morning mist
on field and lake and stream.
January plants sage and lavender,
costmary and mint, pulls up fingers
of crocus and daffodil,green
uds of forsythia, rose, spirea.
January’s voice is cold and coarse
–the silver moon, the blue sky,
the gray sky, the absinthe moon,
the empty trees, the trees filled
with cedar waxwings. January
wears out darkness sleeping late,
puts on morning’s half-white face,
speaks of what is bare and necessary.
It is dangerous to know the mind
of January.January is life
and death, the new born from the chest
of the old, half-formed eyes of flowers
forcing their way through tight skin
of limbs, mouths of bulbs tonguing
up through dirt,opening to earth
and sky and air of January.
**
February’s Air of Waiting

February, his feet by a fire,
warms the morning’s chill away,
huddles under horsehair, bearskin,
eats savory, spinach, and sweet
marjoram, cradles a book of days
in his hands,wearily scratches
in plans of days to come. Scratching
in ashes, February stokes the fire,
watches flames the color of day
speak, roar, sing their way
to dying, listens to the thick, sweet
sound of wood burning to skins
of black ash, dry, skinny
sticks, half-dead limbs scratching
against each other, green wood sweating,
snapping, spitting into the fire,
life consumed with eating away
its own body and lighting the days
of February’s interiors. Such days,
kept wrapped in thick skins
of house and cloak, await the sweet
sounds of newborn spring scratching
at windows, sun’s warmth firing
panes to melting, sweeping away
the ground’s cover of ice, sweetening
the air with labor’s harsh perfume. Today
February can only bank the fire,
gather limbs, hang skins
to dry, absently scratch
blades on whetstones, put the tools away.
Outside the world goes winter’s way,
hedges white with malignant sweetness,
limbs full of irritable scratching,wind howling
at the day,earth drinking its icy skin,
trees lit with frostian fire.
Sprout-kale, month-long day of waiting,
sweet season of keeping beneath the skin,
I will scratch my way from your consumptive fire.
**

March with Your Flowers Burning

Just as I had gotten things under
control again, you showed up,
with your head in the clouds,
your eyelids full of rain,
your cuffs of late snow,
your feet tracking mud,
you who refuse to be ruled,
you with your willow’s strand
of pearls, you with your fingers
sucking scilla, daffodil, crocus,
your nostrils stuffed with snot,
your cheeks puffed,
your lips dripping lullabies,
your rainbow-wicked smile,
you with your forsythia switch,
your many-voweled throat, your mind
like black ice, your hands always
open , the slap and plea, the cup
and howl, the easy lure,
the careless jangle of trees.
How could I hope to respond,
my arms grown thin, my eyes
winter-blind, my hands
unaccustomed to such change?
You were the one I dreamed of,
with your mouth full of promises,
your cheeks honey-smeared,
your hands around my balls.
**

Rush of April Coming In

Schizophrenic April rained the ceiling down
pulled up lamb’s ear and fennel columbine and sage
ran the radio outdoors the clouds transforming
the hills running mud my feet slippery wet
on steps sweating thick socks tracking criss
-crossed patterns of brown-yellow earth the architecture
of days sprouting green lines across the sky
running streams of water between brick beside the road
across the yard in widening pools of sunshine dripping
puddles beneath the trees cold fingers raking
the sky white gray blue or black and flowers blooming
anyway April’s cruelest joke not enough to stop
their show of colors only slightly mud-spattered
the way they clean themselves like cats in windows waiting
for mid-month to fling themselves open as mouths
to weather warming with winter’s burning away.