Monday, July 28, 2008

The Smell of Sun, New Poem from the Geraldine cycle, Counting Fingers, Smelting Light

I have a reading tonight, and I will be reading this poem, which I wrote while we were on vacation in the UP. We were staying at the Bay Furnace Campground and had returned from the Pictured Rocks boat cruise and tour, and were taking a stroll along Lake Superior after dark. I had been struggling with the honeymoon poem for my Geraldine Chapbook and had made several false starts, but sitting in the darkness with BB, sitting on a log looking at the stars and moon and listening to the quiet ripples, I had a new idea for the honeymoon poem and wrote this in my tiny pocket notebook in the dark with no light.

The Smell of Sun

A swell of water rises, curls and falls to the sand,

tinkling like tiny bells, opening an "ah" in Geraldine, opening

a space inside, in darkness where once she was solid like a rock,

opening an internal ear horn that listens for a sound like bits of ice

dropping into fragile glass. She watches as another

wave follows, as soft and sweet as the first, and then a third.


In shining darkness, waves angle against the shore. The quiet

singing of their touch passes along the sand from right

to left. Ricky's hand warms Geraldine's in the cooling night,

and she squeezes it, laughing aloud at the quick squeeze back.

The full moon the guardians teased about ("perfect

for your honeymoon") casts a single shadow on the sand,


echoes Geraldine's body leaning into Ricky's. Fireflies

blink on and off along the sand, in the bushes, and out

over the water, mirroring a wilderness of stars. Wisps

of mist, lit by moonlight, drift over the lake, thicken and gather

in the bays and between the hills. Down the beach, a lone boat

stands out in silhouette against the moon path.


Geraldine wiggles her toes in the sand and snuggles closer

to Ricky and says "oh" and "oh," again. She breathes

the smell of sun from his skin, the clean, sweet smell

of his body. His arm, circling her shoulders, draws her

yet nearer, presses close. Then, a moment later, he tugs

her to her feet. They walk barefoot down the beach


to their honeymoon cottage, to the bed turned down

and waiting for them, scattered with daisies,

to the sheets that smell of cedar and lavender,

like sunshine, like love. After they drop their clothing

to the floor, after they pull the sheet cool to their chins,

before they turn toward each other, they watch a star fall,


blue and flickering over the water, steaming

into the ripples like misted flame.

Mary Stebbins Taitt


-----this line and everything below this line are not part of the poem------- 080729--1533--2d; 080718; 1st Written 7-18-08 at Bay Furnace Campground on the shore of Lake Michigan near midnight in my pocket notebook without a light. Details from our own experience. The reading copy has the names of Jake and Luisa, Al and Lily removed

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

SO ROMANTIC! I know what the sun smells like now ;)

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

He hee heee, that was sort of Keith and I revisiting the places where we met. :-D

Anonymous said...

"Sort of"? You can only write what you know... ;)

Kris said...

I like it, particularly the last couple of lines!

bluerose9062 said...

Fireflies mirroring a wilderness of stars over the water... I love it!