Knucklebones

Here’s an odd little poem I came across:

Astragaloi

We know there must be consciousness in things,

In bits of gravel pecked up by a hen

To grind inside her crop, and spider silk

Just as it hardens stickily in air,

And even those things paralyzed in place,

The wall brick, the hat peg, the steel beam

Inside the skyscraper, and lost, forgotten,

And buried in ancient tombs, the toys and games,

Those starry jacks, those knucklebones of glass

Meant for the dead to play with, toss and catch

Back of the hand and read the patterns of,

Diversions to beguile the endless time,

Never to be picked up again…They’re thinking,

Surely, all of them. They are lost in thought.

 

Mark Jarman, from To The Green Man, Saraband Books

From another time

Norman_DubieI’ve been taking an free online poetry course from the Iowa Writer’s workshop. I like parts of it, and because it’s at my own discretion I can ignore the the parts I don’t like. One of the speakers was talking about images. Poets hardly ever use bare similes anymore (my love is like a red, red rose), more likely to use “as” or “the way that.” But this poem by Norman Dubie (mentioned in that session) takes the simile and throws it at you in the final line like a 97-MPH fast ball over the plate–no ducking.

The Funeral

It felt like the zero in brook ice.
She was my youngest aunt, the summer before
We had stood naked
While she stiffened and giggled, letting the minnows
Nibble at her toes.  I was almost four—
That evening she took me
To the springhouse where on the scoured planks
There were rows of butter in small bricks, a mold
Like ermine on the cheese,
And cut onions to rinse the air
Of the black, sickly-sweet meats of rotting pecans.

She said butter was colored with marigolds
Plucked down by the marsh
With its tall grass and miner’s-candles. Continue reading “From another time”