Thoughts in Early May
I can still outrun my children
but the race has to be very short
or very long. And the middle space
widens every day,
We drove out of town in early spring
to visit a friend of my daughter
whose family makes church organs
among the folded hills of Virginia farmland.
There the metal is boiled and poured
in a long flat trough, so thin it can
be rolled into the pipes that channel
air into faith-appropriate pitch.
The cows leisurely await their doom
in the fields all around.
The sharp shinned hawk flies low
across the field and alights on an old post.
The family’s house is a crossroad of winds–
every stiff breeze in the valley seems to force
its way toward the house, from every direction,
speeding through foothill and gap,
funneled by finely ill-mapped roads,
reaches their yard finally as a constant gale
ripping the voice from trees and shrubs as we stumble
to the side door. My daughter’s friend
is used to it, she shouts from the porch, it never ends.
I think it is all the winds of the world auditioning
for a chance to flow through those pipes
and into the shadows of stillness
and be heard as something straight from God.
At home it is calm as a confessional.
The library across the street is closed.
We always have books to bring back,
and we always find them when the library
is closed. The silver maple next door
is so covered with English ivy it should be dead
but it has bloomed again this year,
enough to make the blue jay invisible.
I recognize his pitched query as others recognize
in the church organ the vowels of God.
I hear, in my own breath as I stand on the porch,
that same fierce longing as those winds
to become somebody else’s voice.
“finely ill-mapped roads” — one of the many terrific images in the poem. Excellent, Jeff!
🙂 Just so lovely —
You are the voice of us all, Jeff.
That’s pretty much the best comment a poet could get. Thank you.
Jeff, I’ve ordered two poetry books from one of the best poets I know but I never received them. Can you help me read your voice ?
Transported me to the porch beside you.
This is perhaps one of my favorite poems from anything I’ve ever read.