Poetry

Wednesday’s Child; A Morning Lake, an Evening Pond


Wednesday’s Child

 

The mother said
Sometimes it’s good to be sad,
her brogue a poem,
an answer to her daughter’s words:

 

I want to die.

 

How many centuries of sadness,
pockets full of barley
growing out of graves?
Who would this child, this mother be

 

without their grief?

 

The only private place for her—
a car beside a field
of maybe mums or daisies,
delicate as Iceland poppies,

 

ruffling in the wind.

 

Is it the flowers,
or the wind that stirs
the flowers like a movie scene
of peace before a war,

 

or peace after a war,

 

that brings the daughter comfort?
And the daughter weeps.
She weeps
her mothers’ tears—

 

and gives them back to her.

 

A Morning Lake, an Evening Pond

 

Why does a clear reflection
of oak trees and rushes on Boronda Lake
bring so much joy? a family of wild turkeys
brunching on a dry-thatched bathroom roof?
Why does it feel so biblical to walk with you
at Renzel Pond— white thistle fluffs,
dried anise silhouetted on a twilit sky?
a flock of mallards taking to the air
on sudden wings?
Not far away,
a forest fire goes wild. La Niña
promises another winter without rain.
It’s dangerous to hug the ones we love.
Our country cracks and breaks like glacial ice.
But my child-heart has no resistance
to earth’s catechism:
Question the beauty of the earth,[1]
Question the beauty of the sea,
Question the beauty of the air . . .
All respond, “See, we are beautiful.”

 

[1] Italicized lines are from St. Augustine, as quoted in the Vatican’s Catechism of the Catholic Church.