Friday, April 10, 2009

A poem appropriate to the day

I was going to put up Donne's poem, but that seemed too obvious.


"Goodfriday"

It is true: the thunderhead hoists its wet anvil aloft.
Swifts buckshot out before the downdraft.
The basin gasps, sage exhales, smelling of iron.

Westbound, the hightop two-lane wavers
under early-season heat, asphalt takes
the thinnest shine, first drops hiss.

My truck blows a white wake through roadside
weeds, radio snaps electrically. It is true.
But it is a horror. It is a viper fanged, this verb

that forward thrusts the moment eternal, nails
each thing to its present. Truer still
I should write the thunderhead converges, lifts, rides

the steep low, butts the front range, bunches like shoved
fabric, blisters, throws up lightning thirteen miles,
lets down rain in ribs, bubbles under the afternoon...


An endless poem of thunder. But who can dwell
with thunder? The moment’s span
would whelm the longest page, its magnitude

of too much weight for me. (The leader forks, drops,
attracts the charge from earthward, the molten air
expands, chills, slams shut, a riot of electrons...
)

But God, I love the verb. I verb impenitent,
luxuriant, altaring up truth for immortality, for
the pleasure of unlikeness, the prick

of unlikeness! O happy deformation,
spunky verb, I embrace you in my
degradation, my shoddy embodiment

making thunder endless: impossible: sublime.

--Kimberly Johnson

3 comments:

Ink said...

I love this: "An endless poem of thunder."

Nice choice!

Moria said...

Oh oh oh oh fun and I have no time to read properly but "Westbound" surely a reference, lovely, appropriate, and more later.

dkm said...

Lovely poem. I also like Johnson’s “Easter, Looking Westward.”