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Elizabeth Reninger

Rain & Rooster

By November 8, 2012

Follow me on:

There was a period, in the late 90's -- when I was living in Madison, Wisconsin and then Santa Fe, New Mexico -- when I was in the habit of once a year creating a small chapbook of poems: a collection of what I considered to be my best work of the year.

It was an entirely cut-and-paste hand-production kind of project: two poems per each side of 8.5 x 11 sheets of paper, plus a table of contents, photocopied, folded down the middle and stapled, with heavier-grade colored paper for the cover. A labor of love, really -- thirty or forty copies which I'd offer as gifts to friends, during the holiday season.

I recently came across some remaining copies of these chapbooks. Reading through the poems, I noticed how they are, on average, much less well-crafted than something I might write today -- yet express an innocence, freshness and daring that I very much like.

I guess that's the dance, perpetually, with any art-form: how to cultivate one's technical skills, without losing the capacity to perceive with the kind of naked immediacy that allows the juice, the essence of a poem to flow.

Anyway, what follows are a sampling from a chapbook titled Red Sky. The first of the poems -- "Rain & Rooster" -- was inspired by waking one still-dark morning -- in my guest-house in the foothills outside of Santa Fe -- to the sound of a steady rain, and a rooster announcing the coming dawn ...

Rain & Rooster

Still a damp mystery,
the world outside my window
is an ink-well, a fluid darkness
not yet emptied by our
sun's fluent poetry

the rain I know
like an old friend -- less
by appearance than by the cadence
of her voice, the rhythms established
within her sounds and silences

and this young cock
-- a rising masculinity --
also a mystery, struggles and struggles
with his song: a hackneyed version
of Bruce Lee, a leap and cry

each morning to new heights
a cadence in turns reminiscent
of a carnival's din and exclamation
and the punctuated wailings
of a funeral pyre

yet I cannot fault him
for his effort -- gallant and
staunchly undistracted by the weather
I admire, in fact, that
unabashed expression

that total dedication to
bringing forth the truth
of his existence, irrespective
of its seeming imperfection
or the brilliant eloquence

someday soon forthcoming .....

 

***

Quatrain

A slow
overflowing
of the honey jar

the sun spills
her golden light
all through the valley

becomes
a meadow filled
with small yellow flowers

becomes the fluid
of heaven spreading
onto the earth this human waking

 

***

Crescent Moon

... how that bright
sliver of manifestation rubs against the vast
circular unseen, creating

a cricket's song of praise:
the transparent
wing rubbing against its willing

grateful body .....

 

***

First Scent

of lilac in the Spring:
immediately
I become her disciple

 

*

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