Sunday, April 29, 2018

In The Dry Year


In the tavern,
their glasses are full of sand--
they are as thirsty as widows,
eyeless starfish stranded and reaching.


Mrs. Jeffers keeps all weathers in a box
that closes with a clasp made from metal and bone.
The war is over--
her son lives in the shrubbery now,
beneath her shaded window,
saluting the rain.


All hymns began as drinking songs.
In biblical deserts they use whips and wooden wheels
to build women who wear
bonnets made from corn husks
in the dry year
of splinter and wasp.


In the tavern,
they have sung so much
that the beach is down to bedrock.
Mermaids drunk on moonlight come in on
wine-tides,
and the silver of their scales signals to distant ships
outlined against the moon,


Carrying tongueless sailors
who wave tasseled caps,
hoping their journey
is through.
______

8 comments:

hedgewitch said...

Shay as you know, I am burned out on all these poem-a-day writes--my brain just can't process them, along with the other things it's currently having to handle. But this is just exquisite. I don't know when I've read a finer stanza *anywhere* than the third one here; it has everything poetry can do, done at the top of its form. I have no more words for this that I haven't said a million times to you--gorgeous writing, full of mystery and meaning.

said...

You are a brilliant, beautiful poet, and this is one of my favorites of your masterpieces. I hope you will never stop writing.

the second and third stanzas ... oh, and the fourth and fifth ... but then I keep going back to the first; I'm so trapped in this piece, I keep looping it

Thank you for blessing me with your words day after day. You are a gift to me and so many others.

qbit said...

Agreed, all your poems are great, but this is exceptional. "All hymns began as drinking songs. / In biblical deserts they use whips and wooden wheels" -- wow!

Other Mary said...

Wow, this is almost too good to be allowed! Love it! I like the drinking songs line, and so many others, but the absurdity, and the despair of the lines, "The war is over--/her son lives in the shrubbery now," delights me more than I can say.

Sherry Marr said...

The "women who wear bonnets made from corn husks in the dry year of splinter and wasp" really stands out for me, in a poem full of standout lines.

Cloudia said...

OMG

PERFECT. So many great words and syllables! And intimations....and...

LOVE this, Shay!

Kerry O'Connor said...

This is so beautiful.. what a farewell to April, in equal measures of bitter and sweet.
This stanza really touched me, given all I have written about war this month:
The war is over--
her son lives in the shrubbery now,
beneath her shaded window,
saluting the rain.

willow_switches said...

As others have noted, the third stanza is outstanding, but then, so are the others, each with lines, phrases and images that startle, and reveal yet never quite too much - just enough to tease us in our thirst, as we travel and wonder. The mystery is a story - well translated, in fine tradition - as in the "old ways" - as the ancients "spoke" the words, which we later learned to write down. Well done. Clearly, the muse had strong ideas about delivery - glad that you were there to receive and speak. This is just richly satisfying. A fine way to offer us dessert this month's end.