Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Happy National Poetry Month!


It's here! The time of year when poetry is invited to the party. I will be reading at 7 pm this Friday night at Kings Books in Tacoma, WA and my poem "4 'o' Clock News at the House of Sky" is featured along with many other Seattle poets in Seattle Magazine. But what I am most excited about is the six different events I'm helping to produce at Highline College where I teach.

More on all of this soon -- but for now I want to offer a poem. Denise Levertov was the second poet I ever saw read (Linda Pastan was the first). She was teaching at Brandeis University and I convinced a friend to drive me there. Levertov read in a classroom; she was dressed in jeans and sat cross-legged on the table while she read her work. Levertov lived her last years in Seattle, just a few miles from my house. This poem is from her final book, The Great Unknowing. It is one of my favorites in term of its surreal tones and springlike life force --- written at a time when she knew her life was almost gone.



Aware

When I found the door
I found the vine leaves
speaking among themselves in abundant
whispers.
My presence made them
hush their green breath,
embarrassed, the way
humans stand up, buttoning their jackets,
acting as if they were leaving anyway, as if
the conversation had ended
just before you arrived.
I liked
the glimpse I had, though,
of their obscure
gestures. I liked the sound
of such private voices. Next time
I'll move like cautious sunlight, open
the door by fractions, eavesdrop
peacefully.

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