24 April 2010

April Poem A Day Challenge Day 24

Poetic Asides: For today's prompt, write an evening poem. My initial thought is that this poem would somehow involve the night, but upon further reflection, I guess it could be about evening things up or something.
Evening is a broad enough topic to encompass a whole bunch of things. I did the usual pondering on weirder topics, but came back to nature. Wyoming evenings offer up spectacular sunsets, honking geese, chattering redwings, pesky killdeer, and if you're far enough out from town, owls, coyote, and the occasional wolf song.

If that wasn't enough, the view provides plenty of poetry fodder. As we slide towards night, the stars pop out, planets, the moon when it's around can hang large in the sky. To the west the remnants of the sun cling to the peaks of the Big Horn Mountains, to the east, dark deep enough to hurt. On a clear night, out away from the regular world, you can see the Milky Way-millions and millions of stars swathed in a line.

So I did a nature poem, of sorts. I tried to leave Orion out of it, but it wasn't to be. And then there was another poem, about sinking into the sea in the evening, watching as the light above changed colors and vanished.

A nice change of pace from the usual. Here are three 'evening' poems for you to ponder – Gary Snyder, Mary Oliver, and William Stafford.

Rolling In At Twilight
by Gary Snyder

Rolling in at twilight – Newport Oregon –
cool of september ocean air, I
saw Phil Whalen with a load of groceries
walking through a dirt lot full
of logging trucks, cats
and skidders

looking at the ground.

I yelld as the bus wheeld by
but he kept looking down.
ten minutes later with my books and pack
knockt at his door

"Thought you might be on that bus"
he said, and
showed me all the food.

The Journey
by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.

Traveling through the Dark
by William Stafford

Traveling through the dark I found a deer
dead on the edge of the Wilson River road.
It is usually best to roll them into the canyon:
that road is narrow; to swerve might make more dead.

By glow of the tail-light I stumbled back of the car
and stood by the heap, a doe, a recent killing;
she had stiffened already, almost cold.
I dragged her off; she was large in the belly.

My fingers touching her side brought me the reason--
her side was warm; her fawn lay there waiting,
alive, still, never to be born.
Beside that mountain road I hesitated.

The car aimed ahead its lowered parking lights;
under the hood purred the steady engine.
I stood in the glare of the warm exhaust turning red;
around our group I could hear the wilderness listen.

I thought hard for us all--my only swerving--,
then pushed her over the edge into the river.



Diana said...

The poems are wonderful, but honestly, I liked your description of evening in Wyoming better than all of them.

Your words so lovely
you made the scene sing for me
a bright dream catcher


Constance Brewer said...

Thanks Diana. Wyoming is pretty inspiring. :)