Monday, January 15, 2007

Poetry I like

Has nothing whatsoever to do with MLK Day, but I saw this poem this morning on Poetry Daily and thought it was so, so sweet. Not syrupy, but filled with resonant imagery -- at least for me. I hope you can appreciate it, too.

A Gentle Man
by Elise Partridge (1923-2005)

Barely nineteen, volunteered for the war.
On a sweaty Pacific island
monitored radar,
hearing pilots rumble off
into black;

silently noted
which friends didn't come back.
One August dawn,
only wind-rattled palms.
He was grateful just to sail home.

Later, with wife and sons, he'd scan the sky
for blips of green—
hummingbirds swooping to his feeder.
Methodical at every task,
each dawn, for them, he'd daub it clean.

Always the right word, or none;
a grin and a nod meant good.
Helped before he was asked.
Read to his sons, dried dishes,
cleared neighbors' drives, hewed their wood.

At eighty, quavering hands;
teetering on each threshold.
Tenderly he'd loop
his wife's last dahlias with string
so they could stand.

No comments: