Monday, November 24, 2014

After Visiting Jack London’s Grave on the Day of his Death, November 22, 2014

For this week's prompt, we were to write off of Mary Oliver's poem "August".  I had the incredible experience this past weekend of getting to read one of my poems at Jack London's grave at a ceremony remembering his death.  It was an incredibly moving experience.  This poem is written in response to that experience and Mary Oliver's poem.  It's only a draft, but it is a step toward my new project: writing a book of poetry about Jack London. 

After Visiting Jack London’s Grave on the Day of his Death, November 22, 2014
There are gates, once redwood strong, we have left to rot as evidence of our departure and return.

There is the way the wind roars in the trees like a ravenous sea when we speak, shipwrecked from the dead.
There is the weight of the urn Charmian carried the day of his funeral.  How it became heavier with silence every step she took closer to the wagon. 
There is the first stone barn lost to our eyes that is folding back into itself.
There is what remains inside.  What remains unclaimed in darkness: a lost wagon, perhaps?  The rotting hull of the Snark?
There are the voices of strangers we sew together in order to find the story we can’t feel with our hands in this dark.
There is the seam where what we know welds smoothly into what we feel.  A new, steel gate that will not rot.
There are the phone numbers to the dead written on a cedar plank wall in a closet now empty of a phone. 
There is the desire that opens up like a mountain view that was lost to nearly a century of brush.
There is what opens up when we finally see into it:

A valley of murmurous air.


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