Ode to Spring
Ode to Spring — Black Angels
hover. I just
saw six of them in a film clip of Townes Van Zandt,
who, like all of us, trudged through the last half
of a violent century — furies dive-bombing
every spring flower and autumn painted forest.
The purest fresh snow blanket was drenched in
blood no one could escape.
Even those of us who swilled soda pop and electrolytes
could not forge sanity, stop the collective atrocity
of war after war after war — It was years
before we even understood it. But
the black angels that fluttered behind Townes
Van Zandt were private too, star struck and adoring.
They doted on syncopated sour notes, swallowed bad chords
in a gulp, were the ghosts of tribal ancestors, feuds,
dead rivers on the prairie, soul shades, hunger,
the dumb, blunt cruelty of addiction.
We never met, but graduated from high school
in the same small, rich, suburb of Chicago.
Townes was unaware of me. I was horrified
by his reality, would have labored to fix
each note, glue wrong cords to a scheme of things
that made life, babies, family, love, hope — possible.
He'd steer clear of that, later keel over,
break a hip, die of systemic infection and exhaustion,
be scooped up by the black angles I saw flapping
just off his right shoulder in a film clip yesterday.
Now on the first day of Spring,
it doesn't take much imagination to see voracious,
black angels looming on the horizon of the planet,
but Time is private, a different reality beckons.
Each shining instant is tempered by star light
in the midnight black light of the soul,
and I have promised to find time
for the miracle of grandchildren,
love in the morning, magenta Cyclamen
on the porch, invention.
©Susan Bright, 2005.
Susan Bright is the author of nineteen books of poetry. She is the editor of Plain View Press which since 1975 has published one-hundred-and-fifty books. Her work as a poet, publisher, activist and educator has taken her all over the United States and abroad. Her most recent book, The Layers of Our Seeing, is a collection of poetry, photographs and essays about peace done in collaboration with photographer Alan Pogue and Middle Eastern journalist, Muna Hamzeh.