Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Poetry Tuesday

I've decided tentatively to make Tuesday my Poetry day, my day to work on poems, poetry manuscripts, sending out poems etc.

Here is my first poem for my first poetry Tuesday Day:

With and Without

I watch the mountains change, light
and shadow painting new lines on the rock faces,
ridges appearing where none were visible, others disappearing
into the bright.  Snow melts, stains the heath dark,
dries again and freezes shiny.  Poppies open and sway
in the breeze, sometimes bending double.
The air sweetens and softens, then hardens
again.  Magpies shadow the poppies and hawks circle.
Even an eagle.  My skin warms and cools; my hair blows
across my face and then hangs limp.  Aspens turn yellow,
orange and gold.  Leaves
drift down, snow falls, and the rock remains.
Sometime, I hurry best by going slowly,
but worry that my life is hurtling toward a day
without mountains.  As I lean to drink
from spring-fed pools, I watch
lines move into my face, lines that shadows deepen
and light cannot erase.

Mary Stebbins Taitt
For Keith and Pam
941003 Colorado, 061205Vc

Note on the poem (note that these notes are NOT to be part of the finished/completed poem):  This poem was handwritten in a journal that began 9/18/94 and ended 10/3/94 with a first draft variant of this poem.  If any further versions of this poem were made, they may have been on Dead (my old computer) whose hard drive died and is therefore inaccessible.  I searched Blue and Bella (my main desktop computer and its external hard drive) and it does not exist there.  The original title was, "Without Mountains."  I like that title but it's a "stealing-my-own-thunder" title.

I used to go to the mountains every year (multiple times), but now I am married and live in Detroit and rarely if ever go to the mountains.  And I am getting older.  I worried then, in this poem, that I would soon be too old to be in the mountains.  Now I worry that I will get too old before I get back—or perhaps I'm already too old.

Would I trade love for mountains?  No, probably not.  But I would like to have both love and mountains.  I want to drag my love into the mountains and somehow homestead it there (or at least camp.)  But I am not sure that that is the subject of this poem, which seems to examine the passage of time, in the mountains verses human time and aging and loss.

please comment--gently, but honestly.

1 comment:

Sara said...

I do like the new title better, for the reasons you mention.

Backpacking is not the only way to enjoy the mountains. It's true that it's the best way to get backcountry, but there is plenty of accessible beauty frontcountry.