Happy Birthday, Emily Dickinson!

ed birthday 12092013

The words we read,
the lines we write,
are gaps in time,
that soon take flight –

poetry has that property
transporting us through space –
we write a word and make a rhyme
and aim it to its place –

if accurate, we hit the mark,
we reach the goal we seek –
but if precise, we claim the prize,
and scale the highest peak –

the words and rhymes unwind, divide
with measured purpose, need –
then seek to replicate the thought
and shape the world of deeds –

The message in
the poems we write
is free, yet hidden
in plain sight.

This poem started its life as a sonnet,
but grew into its own raison d’etre –
just like poems used to be my secret place,
but then long walks became my safe harbor –
a refuge from too many random thoughts.

I’d briskly walk down 23rd and cast
a furtive glance at the factory where
I once worked, abandoned when its widgets
ceased to shine; and the place is overcome
by snakes and mice – feeding on each other –
a fortuitous disassociation.

Now I walk a different path: the river
curves with the earth, and bends, and pulsates,
like blood coursing through America’s veins.
I cross the river and see images
of monuments, framed by highways and trees.

It closes with a line from fifty-five:
“Which then of God’s favors will you deny?”


Author: Raymond Maxwell

https://raymmaxx.wordpress.com/ Librarian, archivist-in-training, retired foreign service officer and Navy veteran.

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