Sunday, June 08, 2014

Poem for Sunday, Homestead Farm Strawberries, The Lone Ranger

The Bee
By James Dickey

to the football coaches of Clemson College, 1942

One dot
Grainily shifting   we at roadside and
The smallest wings coming   along the rail fence out
Of the woods   one dot   of all that green. It now
Becomes flesh-crawling   then the quite still
Of stinging. I must live faster for my terrified
Small son   it is on him. Has come. Clings.

Old wingback, come
To life. If your knee action is high
Enough, the fat may fall in time   God damn
You, Dickey, dig   this is your last time to cut
And run   but you must give it everything you have
Left, for screaming near your screaming child is the sheer
Murder of California traffic: some bee hangs driving

Your child
Blindly onto the highway. Get there however
Is still possible. Long live what I badly did
At Clemson   and all of my clumsiest drives
For the ball   all of my trying to turn
The corner downfield   and my spindling explosions
Through the five-hole over tackle. O backfield

Coach Shag Norton,
Tell me as you never yet have told me
To get the lead out scream   whatever will get
The slow-motion of middle age off me   I cannot
Make it this way   I will have to leave
My feet   they are gone   I have him where
He lives   and down we go singing with screams into

The dirt,
Son-screams of fathers   screams of dead coaches turning
To approval   and from between us the bee rises screaming
With flight   grainily shifting   riding the rail fence
Back into the woods   traffic blasting past us
Unchanged, nothing heard through the air-
conditioning glass   we lying at roadside full

Of the forearm prints
Of roadrocks   strawberries on our elbows as from
Scrimmage with the varsity   now we can get
Up   stand   turn away from the highway look straight
Into trees. See, there is nothing coming out   no
Smallest wing   no shift of a flight-grain   nothing
Nothing. Let us go in, son, and listen

For some tobacco-
mumbling voice in the branches   to say "That's
a little better,"   to our lives still hanging
By a hair. There is nothing to stop us   we can go
Deep    deeper   into elms, and listen to traffic die
Roaring, like a football crowd from which we have
Vanished. Dead coaches live in the air, son   live

In the ear
Like fathers, and urge   and urge. They want you better
Than you are. When needed, they rise and curse you   they
scream
When something must be saved. Here, under this tree,
We can sit down. You can sleep, and I can try
To give back what I have earned by keeping us
Alive, and safe from bees: the smile of some kind

Of savior--
Of touchdowns, of fumbles, battles,
Lives. Let me sit here with you, son
As on the bench, while the first string takes back
Over, far away and say with my silentest tongue, with the man-
creating bruises of my arms   with a live leaf a quick
Dead hand on my shoulder, "Coach Norton, I am your boy."

--------

Paul and I got to see Gblvr, Wolfshark and Greyloch for breakfast after long absence, yay! We met at a diner in Gaithersburg, and after the other three had to go do chores, Paul and I walked partway around Lake Whetstone to see the wildlife. Then we came home to meet up with Adam, who got home from the beach around lunchtime, tired but very happy with his trip. We took him and Daniel to Homestead Farm to pick strawberries and see the goat walk:















Adam's girlfriend came over in the evening and they went for a walk, then came home very tired (I suspect there was very little sleep during Beach Week) so he went to bed very early. The rest of us decided to watch The Lone Ranger, which really is as bad as you've heard...not just the racial stereotypes, which really don't come across as parodic (you may as well watch Blazing Saddles, it does the Western much better) and is at least six hours too long. Helena Bonham Carter is the only high point.

2 comments:

Gin G said...

Nice to have your family around you this weekend. The strawberry looks delicious! I found the Dickey poem interesting but slow going. He is such an interesting poet. I read one about a stewardish falling out of a plane at 30,000 feet...maybe you have read that one, too. Keep smiling! I like seeing it.

Michelle Erica Green said...

I have not read that poem, will have to track it down! My family is very in and out this summer (younger son leaving for college in the fall and doing lots of things with friends before that, older one coming home on weekends to learn to drive)!