Saturday, April 02, 2005

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.


Blogger Charlie Loving said...

Forget all the Blackness and look at the flowers. Sit back and ponder the beauty and forget all the blather that eminates from people. Think like a Huitchol in the spring and look toward contentment and how pleasing things CAN be if we look in the right direction.

5:28 AM  
Blogger hopstarr said...

Nothing can survive without an opposite. There are buffalo and there are wolves. Jack rabbit's lot is to feed coyote. They depend on one another. Neither should one forget the Blackness nor focus on it. Rather, keep things in perspective. Maintain balance. Then look towards improvment for all concerned.

6:51 AM  
Blogger Urban Denizen #512 said...


I sit down at a table and open a book of poems and move slowly into the shadows of tall trees. They are white pines I think. The ground is covered with soft brown needles and there are signs that animals have come here silently and vanished before before I could catch sight of them. But here the trail edges into a cedar swamp; wet ground, deadfall and rotting leaves. I move carefully but rapidly, pleased with myself.

Someone else comes and sits at the table, a serious looking young man with a large stack of books. He takes a book from the top of the stack and opens it. The book is called _How to get a High Paying Job_. He flips through it and lays it down and picks up another and pages through it quickly. It is titled _Moving Ahead_.

We are moving ahead very rapidly now, through a second growth of popple and birch, our faces scratched and our clothes torn by the underbrush. We are moving even faster now, marking the trail, followed closely by bulldozers and crews with chain saws and representatives of the paper company.

- Louis Jenkins

10:07 AM  
Blogger oZ said...

Its a pleasure and an honor to have SB's poetry with us. thank you all for your thoughts and musings.

11:17 AM  

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