Monday, April 14, 2014

Make Room

          Make Room

          what tall ships sailed under
          snow on these dry-blue beds

          crushed by the weight of
          heavy moons and black ground

          how many layers of bones
          lie below the lake, no

          longer shaded by trees
          of a hundred rings.

          the workers meant to catalogue
          tools, children's toys, bent eyeglasses

          digging up artifacts disguised as old comforts:
          cooking pots, woolen shawls, keepsakes

          a pentagram engraved in stone
          made sense of things, each point

          on the star given meaning for
          the purpose of solace, consolation.

          still nothing changes

          even the oldest among us don't sense
          cresting the last hill

          or waiting for the ocean
          to loosen.


  1. This is perhaps my favorite of yoru poems to date. I can't say exactly why, of course, but the sense of movement beneath the surface, the almost-tangible presence of those forces that shape our lives, is strong.

    "Artifacts disguised as old comforts" is such a perfect image. It's just ambiguous enough to stop me in my tracks, as the expected phrase would be, "Comforts disguised as old artifacts". Turning the world on its head, or stopping it in its tracks - that's poetry at its best.

  2. The kickstarter for this poem was a quote by Adrienne Rich who said: Nothing changes. The bones of the mammoth are still in the earth." That got me thinking about how we scour the earth for artifacts in an attempt to learn about people who came before us. Out at our cabin on the Copper River, I've dug up old wine jugs, plates, and a skillet. Very interesting finds.