We’re enormous Christopher Walken fans in our house. My husband and son often (often) do impressions of him, even when ordering food in public (aside: zero students working at area fast food restaurants find this amusing). So when I heard this lovely reading, the perfect pairing of material and performer, I thought I’d like to share it with you.
To tout the beauty of a brown December
I am not capable.
I, the bright side looker—
I, the silver lining finder—
Even I cannot sing
the snowless ground,
the naked trees,
the coughing leaves
still blowing down the road.
Winter without snow:
the bride without her train—
no gossamer veil,
just a sodden sheet of rain
to screen her ruined face
and balding pate
from jaded eyes
in want of ceremony
on these bleak days
of grays and gray-greens and gray-browns
that lean in on you from all around
to snuff out what light you might still carry,
which the snow would have reflected—
were it present—
and done much to make hearts merry
despite the early nights
of thin starlight
and thinner moon.
with a light breeze
and spring comes more to mind
and yet not ten days stand
between now and then,
when cars are packed
with presents stacked
so recently beneath the tree
and gifts unwrapped with studied glee
become the things surreptitiously
exchanged for items more in keeping
with one’s style.
And so I pose the insolent question
that’s been floating round my head:
Can I return this brown month and get a white one instead?
To which God answers, after a beat:
Do you have a receipt?
This past week I was pleased to open an email from the nice folks in charge of the East Lansing Poetry Attack that read in part, “Your poem Alison’s Poem is destined for a tree in East Lansing.” Readers of my old blog may have seen this before, but I couldn’t find it anywhere here at A Beautiful Fiction, so I’ll share it now. I wrote “Alison’s Poem” on the morning of my sister Alison’s March 24th birthday a few years back. Older than me by less than two years, Alison is the firstborn of the family, but not the first conceived. I was thinking about how my mother must have felt to see her after a miscarriage during her first pregnancy, and so I wrote this…
Clear dawn over the snow-dusted lawn
Deep gray gives way to a subtle ray
Then bright and vibrant hues chase the night
Sweet pink, then yellow—orange—green, I think
So fades cold evening to the next day
So things of winter melt into spring
The poem will be displayed this Sunday, April 26th, at 1-4 PM in the trees in front of the East Lansing Public Library as part of the 3rd Annual East Lansing Poetry Attack. Some of the poems will later be moved to city hall and displayed during the East Lansing Art Fair, May 16-18. More details on their Facebook page.
These are the first lines of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Aurora Leigh, a poem in nine books which was particularly beloved of Emily Dickinson. I’m just diving in to my copy, an 1884 printing of the 1859 text. This quote strikes me, a professional copywriter who is ever writing for others, as a lovely, selfish thought. That is what my fiction is–writing for me, for my better self.