Hit-and-miss at poetry
I’m a hit-and-miss poetry reader but must have very similar likes to Garrison Keiller who publishes something poetic in his daily email from The Writer’s Almanac. I’ve recommended the Almanac before, and it’s certainly worth dropping off your email address for. I like lofty poems with words that catch me off guard and lift my thoughts higher than the ceiling of my office, but, more than that, I like poems of the commonplace, of everyday things, of dirt and blood. These words and word combinations remind me that there is no commonplace, and no such thing as everyday things. Life and love and beauty are all in the framing. Sometimes I wonder if heaven is a place where these labels are peeled away – commonplace, everyday, dirt, blood, lofty – and we see things as they really are, except for my sin. This poem, Bumblebee in the Basement, by James Silas Rogers, does just that: it reminds me of the magnificence of the world around me, and the beauty, and how what I think of as mundane is only so because I say it. That only the labels and words I use limit my senses.
Bumblebee in the Basement
James Silas Rogers
When I went for a crowbar downstairs
a bee big as a wine cork
was batting the floorboards and joists,
having come through the cracks
in the limestone foundation
to nest in our musty basement.
I emptied a jar of nails, cupped
it over her buzzing form: a snow-globe
whirring with frustration.
Outside, I turned the jar over.
Captivity cast aside, the bee
rose like a spark flying upward.
She lifted toward the sky
like a balloon released
from a child’s grasp, then halted
On an apple blossom.
I stood and watched,
forgetting why I needed that crowbar.
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