Summer 2RV a Week Away

Stumps

Visit 2River late next week for the 19.4 (Summer 2015) issue of 2RV, with new poems by Fang Bu, Anna E. Childs, Lenny DellaRocca, Maria Elting, Marcia Hurlow, William Knudsen, George Moore, Taylor Ricket, and Mary Ellen Shaughan. Meanwhile, enjoy this poem from the upcoming issue.

Corey Smith

Quantum Immortality

You will survive me
You will hide my memory
In yours, scenery and family
Vacations. On a sad, lonesome,
Whiskey night, you will, in hushed
Tones, whisper my insecurities
To friends whose warm arms will
Calm you. This and your horizontal
Pillow ebb seclusion until the day,

My Baby Pie, when you join the collective
Cosmos and we meander eternity
I’ll receive you and once the last person we knew
Speaks our names for the last time, we’ll
Vaporize along with our era

As we coma together. They’ll never know
Of the winter walk we took tonight in the garden
As the snow fell among the silent trees

SEE ALSO Schrodinger’s Cat (1935), Parallel Universes (1956), Quantum Resurrection (100 Trillion)
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“Lying in a Hammock…” By James Wright

April came, is nearly gone. School bells ring and out tumble May flowers and lazy summer days on bicycles. As such what better way to end National Poetry Month than with this poem by James Wright.

Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota

Over my head, I see the bronze butterfly,
Asleep on the black trunk,
blowing like a leaf in green shadow.
Down the ravine behind the empty house,
The cowbells follow one another
Into the distances of the afternoon.
To my right,
In a field of sunlight between two pines,
The droppings of last year’s horses
Blaze up into golden stones.
I lean back, as the evening darkens and comes on.
A chicken hawk floats over, looking for home.
I have wasted my life.

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“The Invention of Heaven” by Dean Young

On this penultimate day of National Poetry Month here’s a poem about moving to the other side by Dean Young.

The Invention of Heaven

The mind becomes a field of snow
but then the snow melts and dandelions
blink on and you can walk through them,
your trousers plastered with dew.
They’re all waiting for you but first
here’s a booth where you can win

a peacock feather for bursting a balloon,
a man in huge stripes shouting about
a boy who is half swan, the biggest
pig in the world. Then you will pass
tractors pulling other tractors,
trees snagged with bright wrappers

and then you will come to a river
and then you will wash your face.

from First Course in Turbulence (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1999)

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“Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelly

It's a throwback, thoroughly modern, animated day for National Poetry Month with this sobering poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Ozymandias

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said, “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear–
'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

 

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“Tanager” by Billy Collins

Today for National Poetry a poem about the intrusion of the outer on the inner life Billy Collins.

Tanager

If only I had not listened to the piece
on the morning radio about the former asylum
whose inmates were kept busy
at wooden benches in a workshop
making leather collars and wristbands
that would later be used to restrain them.
And if only that had not reminded me,
as I stood facing the bathroom mirror,
of the new state prison whose bricks had been set
by prisoners trucked in from the old prison,
how sweet and free of static my walk
would have been along the upland trail.

Nothing to spoil the purity of the ascent–
the early sun, wafer-white,
breaking over the jagged crest of that ridge,
a bird with a bright-orange chest
flitting from branch to branch with its mate,
and a solitary coyote that stopped in its tracks
to regard me, then moved on.
Plus the cottonwood fluff snowing sideways
and after I stood still for a while,
the coyote appearing again in the distance
before vanishing in the scrub for good.
That’s the kind of walk it might have been.

from The New Yorker (21 October 2013)

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“Birth Dues” by Robinson Jeffers

For this last Sunday of National Poetry Month here's a harsh poem by the great late Northern California Big Sur eco-poet Robinon Jeffers.

Birth-Dues

Joy is a trick in the air; pleasure is merely contemptible, the dangled
Carrot the ass follows to market or precipice;
But limitary pain–the rock under the tower and the hewn coping
That takes thunder at the head of the turret–
Terrible and real. Therefore a mindless dervish carving himself
With knives will seem to have conquered the world.

The world's God is treacherous and full of unreason; a torturer, but also
The only foundation and the only fountain.
Who fights him eats his own flesh and perishes of hunger; who hides in the grave
To escape him is dead; who enters the Indian
Recession to escape him is dead; who falls in love with the God is washed clean
Of death desired and of death dreaded.

He has joy, but Joy is a trick in the air; and pleasure, but pleasure is contemptible;
And peace; and is based on solider than pain.
He has broken boundaries a little and that will estrange him; he is monstrous, but not
To the measure of the God…. But I having told you–
However I suppose that few in the world have energy to hear effectively–
Have paid my birth-dues; am quits with the people.

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“So This Is Nebraska” by Ted Kooser

Because it's his birthday, here today for National Poetry Month is a wonderful poem about place by Ted Kooser.

So This Is Nebraska

The gravel road rides with a slow gallop
over the fields, the telephone lines
streaming behind, its billow of dust
full of the sparks of redwing blackbirds.

On either side, those dear old ladies,
the loosening barns, their little windows
dulled by cataracts of hay and cobwebs,
hide broken tractors under their skirts.

So this is Nebraska. A Sunday
afternoon; July. Driving along
with your hand out squeezing the air,
a meadowlark waiting on every post.

Behind a shelterbelt of cedars,
top-deep in hollyhocks, pollen and bees,
a pickup kicks its fenders off
and settles back to read the clouds.

You feel like that; you feel like letting
your tires go flat, like letting the mice
build a nest in your muffler, like being
no more than a truck in the weeds,

clucking with chickens or sticky with honey
or holding a skinny old man in your lap
while he watches the road, waiting
for someone to wave to. You feel like

waving. You feel like stopping the car
and dancing around on the road. You wave
instead and leave your hand out gliding
larklike over the wheat, over the houses.

from Sure Signs (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1980)

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