Saturday, December 19, 2009

Poem: Ghost Song

Solemn solstice approaches, offering us health through darkness and depth.

Of all the poems I’ve agonized over, edited for months or years, and submitted to dutiful and generous editors, who have waded through my poor excuses for verbal art to find a few gems, this is one of my favorite. It was published in a journal called Thick With Conviction, and it was the first poem I read on the air for my interview with Lois P. Jones, the host of Poets’ Café, a radio show of KPFK Los Angeles.

People have reacted to this poem with a range of emotions, from intense to tepid, or sometimes just a quizzical expression once removed from a shrug. I don’t know why these words mean so much to me. Poetry beckons that way, with hidden fingers that divide us out of our comfortable communities into a very small personal space.

Ghost Song

the dead fly past,
to them we are roots
slow to grasp.

they sup our thoughts
like hummingbirds taking syrup,
resplendent of flit,

we glimpse a quark of flash,
a dash of blush,
maybe some lucent eyes--
love’s aftereffect.

they laugh at us
like wind chiding honey
as we inch full-bodied,
riled by ebbs.

the dead laugh.
they race to our end
and return,
outflanking lazy hops of sun.

they rush past our questions
and back many times,

the dead laugh,
coveting our worries,
springing off our breaths.