Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Lee Sharkey's Poem For Marion K. Stocking

In celebration of National Poetry Month, Maine’s First Lady, Karen Baldacci, hosted a tea for poets at the Blaine House, where I was given a copy of Lee Sharkey’s “In the wind.” This poem was written in honor of Marion K. Stocking, who died last year after an amazing tenure, decades long, as editor at Beloit Poetry Journal.

Beloit is one of the most prestigious and admired journals.

“In the wind” was first published in Maine Arts magazine, and Lee gracious permitted me to re-publish it here. It is a powerful testimony of remembrance, superbly wrought. But more importantly it presents a great depth of feeling, soulful in tribute and evocative of a beautiful timeless spirit.

I’ve read this piece over and over and it still calls to me. Lee has provided a monument to Marion Stocking in a few magical stanzas of well-chosen words.

I thank her greatly. And I hope all my life to humbly acknowledge the legendary excellence and dedication of Marion K. Stocking. Indeed, it is seriously possible that she is greatest poetry editor in the coming and the going.



In the wind
(for M K S)

If you walk the same path every day through the woods
clearing the way in your coming and going

you know when branches have fallen. Each branch downed
has a trace of the wind of descent vibrating through it.

In the time between coming and going,
in the rain of branches from the understory,

you can read the night, the wind, the lack of it,
what has happened back to happening.

The forest is sloughing dead to make room for the sun.
And you, bent there to gather branches,

have always been walking
the dark woods children hurry through

to get where they are going--
yet the forest is the coming and the going.

Lee Sharkey

(Lee allowed that her email be provided for comments)

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