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Sunday, 23 March 2008

Here's a poem from my reading the other night. (Thanks again to Frank Judge, Ed Downey and the Free Speech Zone poetry series at The Mez.)

Bridge out

-Jack Bradigan Spula

Upland, a piddling rain gathered
All night, then sought the open routes
Downward, and where nothing could be found,
It made a new way.
And so both a hillside, the work of an age,
And a country road, the project of a mere
Lifetime or two back to back,
Ended up together sunk in gravel.

And ended quiet, too, while the world
Took the long way around, and keeps
Taking it
In its good time.
So you stand there,
The long gone promises and threats
Of fast water on your mind.
You stand
Your ground: what's yours only
Till the next big one.

But wouldn't you know it -
A vehicle appears
Out of nowhere,
Running smack into your thoughts.
A family on an unplanned detour
Has wound up behind the warning sign
On the remaining firm ground.
Wasting no time, four doors open,
And a man and woman
And three noisy kids step out.

The kids soon have seized
A footpath upstream
Behind an old beaver lodge
Whose broken ribs make it clear,
Even through the primordial mud,
This is not the home
It was taken for.

You're tempted to see in these people
An uninterest in natural history.
Maybe their pace
Over the loose earth is too much like
Desire as you now understand it,
Just harder to watch
As the energy bleeds.

But what can you do?
The kids skip a few stones
On the small surface left, after they've
Kicked some round, useless stones aside.
The man and woman, crossing their arms,
Planting their feet, act
As if they've got nothing to add.
And then a general moment
Of stillness, and then everybody
Piles back into the car,
The kids looking unhappy
With each other.
Then the tires turn
And pebbles and wetness
Are spun off
With force, and the miles
Begin singing
Little ones to sleep.

Surely these parents are glad
To have their eyes on the road again,
And off the map. Any road
At all might be the short way back.
You are resolved to remember
That any drive
Is a long one
Without singing.
How long must you
Stand like a statue
In this weather?

Posted by jackbradiganspula at 12:51 EDT
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