Sunday, November 18, 2018

Avis D. Matthews and the Fall

This summer Avis D. Matthews (whose poetry you may know if you've been following this site) joined the poetry workshop that my husband and I started.  Here is one of her poems from the workshop.  Avis wrote that she "wrote the poem from a fall state of mind."

A Dog Man

Damp and cloudy,
cool and quiet,
the morning shore 
is an invitation 
to the solitude seeker.

A glimpse of the dogs 
down on the beach draws him 
from the warm kitchen 
onto the concrete balcony
suspended in a frame of mist
six floors up.

Hopeful for adventure,
a long-legged pup charges out 
from behind a dune,  
dashes ahead, 
romps, wags, spins, 
his own playmate. 

An older dog, 
bony and not at all 
ready for morning, 
lags behind like a 
half-hearted chaperone.

On the beach this morning
it's a dog's world.
The man on the balcony
retreats to the soft heat
and his guitar.

- Avis D. Matthews
June 30, 2018

Although we are past 9/11 and even what used to be called Remembrance Day, I would like to post another poem by Avis, "Quiet Skies."  Let's not forget those lost on 9/11/01.  The ending is also very timely.

Quiet Skies
by Avis D. Matthews

Were the clouds so quiet 
in the days before there were no planes
gliding through them;
before that morning,
that bright new day,
which, suddenly, 
was both an end 
and the beginning of 
a long sorrow
that commenced 
on bridges, 
roads and highways,
in meetings interrupted
and routines aborted.

An undeletable sorrow
that first pinched 
in the panic
of unanswered phone calls,
anxious pleas:
Where are you?
Call us back.
Call back.
Call back... 

A desperate sorrow, 
remembered as: 
burning trees and 
flying metal,
smothering heat and 
smoking clouds and 
collapsing walls,
blood and cries 
and courage.

glued inside the American scrapbook,
of last hugs,
last blow-kisses,
last grins,
last gulps of coffee.

Until our memories,
like thunder and lightning,
but sometimes like birthday cake,
cause us to remember 
that they lived before they died.

But is remembering enough?

What could honor them
but a nation where children are fed;
where grungy sidewalks  
don't pass for living rooms;
where justice isn't muddied
with cowardice and greed.

We honor them if
we squash cruel authority,
callous leadership,
and heartless despotism;
and if we echo the poetess Gwendolyn Brooks 
and proclaim to those would slap the sun:
It will not always be night. *
* Inspired by Gwendolyn Brooks' poem "Speech to The Young Speech To The Progress-Toward (Among Them Nora And Henry III")

This evening I was playing Charles Fambrough's The Proper Angle Album.  It wasn't quite right for grading papers, but perhaps it is better for reading poetry.

The album started off with "Don Quixote":

YouTube chose Miles Davis' "Autumn Leaves" to follow:

I'll finish with John Coltrane's "Equinox":

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