December 7, 2011

Some thoughts about fiddle music and swimming

Very infrequently I try to write a poem about something and even though I know it is so blindingly romantic (my default style) and has so far to go, it often stirs me because it makes me think and feel more deeply about a certain thing. So it was with this poem below, which needs a title...

And why does the fiddle music strike
At the very heart and soul of me?
How can the small band by the fire
Send my spirit leaping to the raftered roof?
A cool evening with the four strings dancing
Transports me over the lake, over the snow-clad mountain.
A viola and a player with a new song
Plants me with such deep contentment in my chair
That I think I will stay there forever.

If I feel all is not lost, it is because of this family music,
An absolute affirmation, a blood memory coursing far back
To the poor days when so much was desirable
And so little was possible, possibly
As far back as a Russian village in the evening
When the fiddles came out.

This music is mine. There is no note too humble
That it does not please me
Beyond reason.
Beyond the moment, beyond all cultural memory,
That it does not catapult me, in fact, into deep delight.

I called this one "King of the World" just because in spite of James Cameron's famous faux pas when he won for Titanic, there is some chutzpah in it that I like and it's kind of the way I feel when I'm swimming at Sarson's all alone on a summer evening. But I guess it needs a better title, seeing as how I'm female and all.

I swam as the sun set
And the moon rose over the smoky hills
I rested my cheek on the smooth skin of the lake
As I stroked –
Pick an apple, put it in the basket –
Until only a rosy glow was left of the sun
Then gold, then apricot in the darkening sky
I lay arms outstretched on the liquid gold, glossy with sunset
Its palette of blues washed onto the evening hills.
Things happened:
Boats roared back to the launch for the night
A family posed for photos on the beach
A dragonfly bisected the sky briefly, then a gull
But they were for context only, stage business,
As the world revolved
Slowly around the water and me.


  1. Both of these poems bring me great delight, resonating. Now that you've made each of the kids their book, perhaps your next project should be personal -- your stuff only.

  2. A wonderful challenge, and thank you. Funny how much harder it is when there's no one else to "lean on" literarily. Feels very exposed. I was trembling just a tad when I'd finished writing the fiddle one. I'm glad you like it.

  3. WOOOOOOOW!! I never knew you were a poet...beautiful! here's my latest 2 attempts at poetry:
    I assembled the ingredients, all 'round us in a pile;
    flour sugar,eggs,vanilla, sour vinegar so vile.
    And why, I ask,could such a sour thing
    find a place,
    in this cake,sweet as anything?
    The answer lies within the milk: the cake wouldn' puff
    and the cake wouldn't fluff
    Without the vinegar to sour it.
    Why does the soured milk poof
    up a cake?
    I do not know.
    Do you?
    I with my brother mixed
    a chocolate cake
    I with my brother spattered
    (all over my shirt)
    a chocolate cake
    I with my brother baked
    a chocolate cake
    I with my brother,and sister,and,father, and mother, ate
    that chocolate cake
    (but not all of it.....i'll email you the "punch line" picture that goes with it)

    -love+spelty chocolate cake'
    from ivy

  4. I love your poems, Ivy - two poems to match the two I wrote! Once again we inspire each other. Thanks for reading my blog.

  5. You two both amaze me, busting out the legit poetry about real stuff from daily life. Fantastic!

  6. Holy canoly! Calling all poetry book publishers!

  7. Thanks Ang. Maybe a grandma/granddaughter book of poetry!