The earth is aching where I walk and never learn,
her broad abiding back riven and split
by the wedge of heat and maul-strikes of the sun;
she was never meant to look so desolate,
nor the sickle moon give up her soul to burn.
Sere ghosts of a dead storm blow like yellow leaves
to the grassfire hell-combustion at full day's cairn,
bellies swelled on dust and smoke until they heave.
But still I see young hawks on thermal towers,
hear the cricket scrape his withered legs and sing,
know it's a fool who digs a graveyard for the flowers
for life is the deathless husband of these things.
I am an iron weight that soon must drop;
earth is a heartbeat fire cannot stop.
posted for earthweal's
Note: Temperatures here in Oklahoma are expected to stay between 100 and 110 through July and into August. We haven't had extended extreme heat like this since 2012, and it was awful then.We pray the power grid holds, the A/C doesn't die and just huddle down and try to make it through the wildfires and heat exhaustion, but many parts of the world are seeing temperatures like these where they have never existed before and are unprepared for its force, enduring great hardship. I extend my sympathies. Take care as much as you can; it sucks, and it can kill.
Images © joyannjones, july 2022
I think this is a brave poem, carrying on in the way life is "the deathless husband," "a heartbeat fire can't stop." How does the David Wilcox song go -- "all the roots grow deeper when it's dry." The clarity is brutal but what choice do we have? I'm sure you feel the earth in your back, a widow faithful to what still endures. Lotta heat in this heart, and it's greater than the sun, for today at least. Good Lord willing and the A/C is still working. My weekly yard-work is so taxing now -- age and the time -- sure feel the earth in these bones too.ReplyDelete
Thanks, B. I find that I can't go on living without some measure of faith in the actual real world, some strength drawn from the earth that patiently endures everything thrown at her by man, weather, and time. I can't do the gardening I once did either, but I can still drag a water hose around and keep some life going--fill the bird bath and the saucers of water for the tortoises and toads, feel the very early breath of coolness that promises change will someday come, before the anvil warms up and the hammer starts to pound out the heat. Take care toiling in this mess and try to stay cool in the 'venereal soil" and heat of Florida, my friend.Delete
I feel the heat and the parched earth in this poem. I especially admire "know it's a fool who digs a graveyard for the flowers for life is the deathless husband of these things." Check earthweal Monday for some stunning images of the impact of industry on the earth, taken by a Canadian photographer who has a 40 year body of work on that theme. Sobering. And the U.K. is experiencing excessive heat that will be on-going. Setting a zero emissions target of 2050 is ludicrous when we are already in trouble. Here in B.C., there is a wildfire in Lytton, the town that burned to the ground last summer. Now it is the native reserve that has been evacuated. I have become quite fatalistic. My old self wouldnt recognize me. Sigh.ReplyDelete
Thank you Sherry. I feel great sorrow for all the things you mention, and wish you safety and peace to deal with them. Your old self is alive and well, I think, in your poetry.Delete
An excellent sonnet of elemental fire!ReplyDelete
Thank you, Ingrid. I find the forms are a great help when words are elusive. I loved your villanelle.Delete
"it's a fool who digs a graveyard for the flowers" - I like that. Still hope there.ReplyDelete
Thanks, qbit. Glad you liked.Delete
sorry to have been absent. work and life intrude, as they do. the lilt and flow of this sonnet superbly measure, support, and frame the charred edges of death and life of this time, of our future. ~ReplyDelete
No apologies necessary, M. Life happens. I appreciate you taking the time to comment whenever you are able. It's good to have readers who get what I'm trying to say, and who show so much insight, plus over the years, one hopes that there is a connection established between those of us who write our hearts.Delete
re-reading this, i find the final couplet - aye, the entire 2nd half - encouraging. the vision of rising *young* hawks is a counterpoint to Yeats' gyre'd falcon. the withered cricket singing despite his decrepitude. the image of life as eternal companion (deathless husband). then the contra-position of the falling iron inevitably illuminating earth's unquenchable heartbeat. ~Delete
That's the volta, alright. Thanks for getting it, M.Delete
i'm an ignoramus, mostly. had to look up 'volta'. I know next to nothing on the philosophy and terminology behind poetic forms (as is most obvious.) so my rantings are from a place of deep ignorance. as is my poetry :)Delete
Nonsense. Your "rantings" are from your very intelligent brain and other parts suitable to a poet, all of which are in fine shape and produce good stuff afaict. I grew up in a time when all poetry was form, except for e.e.cummings and the Beats, who were very new, so I was exposed to it, that's all.Delete