Saturday, December 3, 2016

a poem for later autumn than when it was written, Sylvia Manning

Lake Crystal at Pageant Park in -- who needs to wonder? -- October, early autumn.  On train trip back in late October I saw exactly 1 tree with colored leaves after crossing the state line into Texas.  Now in early December, I've seen another.

Hey, it's still autumn.  I post the piece below that I wrote in response to our assignment to respond in some way to the poem Who I Love by David Budbill, Vermont poet recently deceased.  (An earlier post has a link to an article about him.)  Down here we still have flowers blooming.  Last night I heard the song, "Let It Snow," but the singer had to laugh, too, since we know it won't.  Still, we have a rainy, truly autumnal day here, so our winter, such as it will be, may come soon.  At least it's not hot.

As they'd say in Quebec, "Vermont me manque,"  strange syntax to anglophones because it's "Vermont me misses" but means, truly, "I miss Vermont."

Oh!  I finally found something relating to that idea I have of the poetry of content.  It's in a book by Judson Jerome, The Poet's Handbook.  I don't have the exact quotation with me, but I'll post it later.  It's just recognition that the poetry in a piece can come from what it's about instead of from artful use of language.

Below, pictures I found on Google images of David Budbill and chrysanthemum.  Below that, my poem. 


These blooms

(after David Budbill’s “Who I Love”)
                                     the last, sad bloom of autumn, the chrysanthemum…

These yellow blooms brought from village market, its
only, set in a barrel in trailer park by northern lake

These yellow blooms in barrel reminding me for these last
days here of cooper, the word, and Anna Julia Cooper,

Whom I love though in all her 105 years never knew,
whom I regard as blessed among us, among others, beloved:

Dorothy Day, Flora Tristan, Mary Oakes Davis, Helene Demuth,
Gwendolyn Brooks, Mary and Lizzie Burns, …

And Mary, Mother of God.  All of them worthy of praise
in these last days of autumn when the colors of change console us

And the voices of brave women remind us to never, never give up,
never believe that our demand to bloom in truth and justice

Will be silenced in a winter of despair.

Sylvia Manning

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