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The Intersection

The two paths that crossed in the woods
a couple hundred years ago
became the wagon paths
when the trees were cut for farmland.

Now, the commuters pause at the four way stop
deciding whose turn it is to go next.
The schools buses cautiously proceed
and others stop on the way to the store.

The widow pauses, waiting for her turn
as she remembers being a young mother
on the way to school or the shops.

A visitor passes through
never even thinking
of the lives that cross this intersection.

The fashions have changed
as have the seasons.
The poet still pauses
to ponder Whitman’s friends
in the usual costumes,
and the day comes to an end.

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About "The WInd"

This is a comment I wrote for an online class on Emily Dickinson I'm taking right now, which formed the starting point for "The Wind".

I find the search for Biblical references interesting. The first few times I read the poem, it didn't really resonate with me. Then, I started to pick up on the feeling of the coming storm. I remember storms like that growing up in Western Massachusetts. I remember, even more vividly, storms like that when I was in college in Ohio.

Then, the Biblical references started to jump out at me, a storm of Biblical proportions. Yet I had to pause. When I was young, one of my favorite poems was Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening. I, too, had often stopped in the woods on a snowy evening. In my case, it was often after a day of sledding on trails in the woods. I would wonder who owned the land I was on, and as much as I wanted to stay and enjoy the snow, I knew I had to get home to dinner.

In junior high school, I bristled at those who said the poem was about death, and I would quote Frost saying, "If that poem's about death, than I guess all poems are about death and all poets murderers who should be hung."

So, is Dickinson just sharing a childhood memory of a big storm, perhaps a storm of Biblical proportions? Is it, somehow, and apocalyptic poem? Would she have said something similar to Frost, "If that poem is apocalyptic, all poems are apocalyptic and all poets are hertics who should be hung"?

As an aside, for my Lenten discipline this year, I am seeking to write a draft of a poem each day. I may follow Dickinson's lead and never seek to have the poems published, but these days, I can simply post them online.
So, I used "The wind begun to rock the grass", together with my thoughts above, for this evenings poem, "The Wind"

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The Wind

The ripples rose on the reservoir,
and the leaves on the trees rustled.
They sky was darkening
and in the distance, thunder.

There was electricity in the air
and you could feel the storm coming.

I thought of the meteorology classes
the difference in air pressure.
On the simplest, scientific level
it was all easy to explain.

There was electricity in the air
and you could feel the storm coming.

I thought of theology classes
of Ruach, of the Spirit of God
moving over the waters,
and the awesome Day of the Lord.

There was electricity in the air
and you could feel the storm coming.

And so I read the poets
who has seen the wind?
the wind begun to rock the grass
out of the cradle, endlessly rocking.

There was electricity in the air
and you could feel the storm coming.

A childhood memory?
Science? Religion? Poetry?
Some combination of all?
Or something more?

There was electricity in the air
and you could feel the storm coming.

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A Long Week

It is the first day of spring
and snow is falling.
It’s Friday evening
and I’m too tired to care.

Friends have braved the slippery roads
and headed to the local joint
When I was young
I longed to run with the crowd
on a Friday Night.

Instead, I am home,
with things to read
and things to write
and chores to do.

I close my eyes
and try to gather strength.
I yawn
and think about bed.

Most of the chores,
the reading
and writing
can wait til tomorrow.

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Falling

My fortune cookie said
success is getting up
one more time
than you fall down.

Though there are times
when you just don’t want
to get back up.

Especially when facing
a blank page
and a commitment to write.

It sounds a bit
like Sisyphus’ fortune.

It seems to go
hand in hand
with,
“If you don’t fall down,
you’re not trying hard enough.”

And then, there’s learning to fall.
I remember learning to fall
as part of the exercises
for a fight scene
in a play
in college.

Later, a friend with Lou Gerhig’s disease
sang about learning to fall,
and perhaps that sums it all up.
We’re all just learning to fall.

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