Friday, October 14, 2011
Dozing in the Speckled Shade
Where The Poem Sleeps
by Michael Simms
You have to write every day
because you never know where a poem sleeps
It might be coiled around a branch
high in the air
dozing in the speckled shade
It might be dreaming in a story you loved
when you were a mouse
in a wall much larger than now
You may find a poem in a cloud
a boy watches, thinking
of the one time he went fishing with a bear
But you have to let it happen
you have to listen real hard
The poem can survive a night
in the woods alone, curled up
under an elm tree
after a day of looking for you
It can even be happy as a stone in the river
if it knows you are waiting for it to come home
And you are waiting
as darkness descends
and the birds become invisible
on the branches
like the thoughts of drowsy mathematicians
The Summer You Learned to Swim
by Michael Simms
The summer you learned to swim
was the summer I learned to be at peace with myself.
In May you were afraid to put your face in the water
But by August, I was standing in the pool once more
when you dove in, then retreated to the wall saying
You forgot to say Sugar! So I said Come on Sugar, you can do it
and you pushed off and swam to me and held on
laughing, your hair stuck to your cheeks—
you hiccupped with joy and swam off again.
And I dove in too, trying new things.
I tried not giving advice. I tried waking early to pray. I tried
not rising in anger. Watching you I grew stronger—
your courage washed away my fear.
All day I worked hard thinking of you.
In the evening I walked the long hill home.
You were at the top, waving your small arms,
pittering down the slope to me and I lifted you high
so high to the moon. That summer all the world
was soul and water, light glancing off peaks.
You learned the turtle, the cannonball, the froggy, and the flutter
And I learned to stand and wait for you to swim to me.
from The Happiness of Animals published by Monkey Sea Editions, copyright 2003 by Michael Simms. Posted with permission of the poet.
Dave has our Poetry Friday round-up this week.