Poem of the Week, by Margaret Hasse

Steuben, looking northOld friend, it has been decades since that last summer before college, the last time I ever lived at home. But when I return to visit my parents and drive by the street where you once lived, I remember you. I remember rain on a canvas roof, darkness all around, the silent sleeping breath of other friends. I remember how surprised I was that someone wanted to kiss me –me?–and I remember your gentleness. Let me tell you now that you were the one who first showed me how touch could open up a new world. At seventeen I could not have known how the memory of that fleeting sweetness would sustain me in future dark times. This achingly beautiful poem brought back the memory of you.   

 

High School Boyfriend, by Margaret Hasse

You are hometown.
You are all my favorite places
the last summer I grew up.
Every once in a while
I write you
in my head
to ask how Vietnam
and a big name college
came between us.
We tried to stay in touch
through the long distance,
the hum and fleck of phone calls.

It was inevitable
that I should return
to the small prairie town
and find you
pumping gas, driving a truck, measuring lumber,
and we’d exchange
weather talk,
never able to break through words
and time to say simply:
“Are you as happy
as I wanted you to be?”

And still I am stirred
by musky cigarette smoke
on a man’s brown suede jacket.
Never having admitted the tenderness
of your hands, I feel them now
through my skin.
Parking on breezy nights,
in cars, floating passageways,
we are tongue and tongue like warm cucumbers.
I would walk backwards
along far country roads
through late evenings cool as moving water,
heavy as red beer,
to climb into that August.

In the dark lovers’ lanes
you touched my face
and found me here.

 

 

For more information on Margaret Hasse, please click here.

Website

Blog

Facebook page

@alisonmcghee

Poem of the Week, by W.S. Merwin

Istanbul, D and pigeonsMy daughter and I were in Istanbul for a week, our first time in a country where the call to prayer sounded five times a day. I remember sitting by the window at sunset as the song of the muezzins rose in the air. It was beautiful and unearthly and I wanted to hold onto it so it would never end. It’s an almost panicky feeling, that wanting to hold on. Long ago, as a means of coping with it, I began to tell myself that You can always come back, Alison

In my heart, pigeons are still fluttering around my daughter on the cobblestones, and we are still wandering the shore of the Bosphorus, and we are both looking up, up, up at the dome of the Hagia Sophia. And then back, back, back I go in time, to the magical moment when she first opened her eyes. Every minute of being alive is its own first and last. You can’t go back.

 

Youth, by W.S. Merwin

Through all of youth I was looking for you
without knowing what I was looking for

or what to call you I think I did not
even know I was looking how would I

have known you when I saw you as I did
time after time when you appeared to me

as you did naked offering yourself
entirely at that moment and you let

me breathe you touch you taste you knowing
no more than I did and only when I

began to think of losing you did I
recognize you when you were already

part memory part distance remaining
mine in the ways that I learn to miss you

from what we cannot hold the stars are made

 
 
 
 
 
​For more information on WS Merwin, please ​read this.