Friday, March 6, 2009
Poetry Friday: Mary Cornish
Mary Cornish is one of my favorite poets. Her intelligence shines through in every poem she writes, but it doesn't rule her exclusively; rather, her heart and her intellect share the responsibilities and they manage to get along well! That kind of balance is rare. Billy Collins says of her work, "She takes us by the hand and leads us into rooms of wonder." Her book RED STUDIO is simply stunning -- she has such a painterly eye, she always manages to set the scene beautifully as if composing a picture, and yet she makes us see even the absence of objects and people, and she turns us toward memory. The poems in the book deal with both her grief at the loss of a beloved husband and her delight in the real, physical world. Here's one of my favorite poems from that book. In it, Cornish talks about a children's game but manages to say so much more.
Five pears in a wooden bowl,
sun on the table-- cause enough
for celebration or defeat: the skin
of fruit, the flesh of trees.
Out of such ripening, the self
could step from the bowl of the world
into light on pears--
as when children
play Hide the Thimble: the object
always hidden in plain sight,
the search that turns a solid house
quicksilver. Rain falls on the glass
in every room; a curtain flickers
over the sink; the sill moves
in and out of shadow.
And the children say,
You're getting cold,
you're getting very hot.
Now leaves fuse
on the window, shimmer
from a moving branch outside.
Light breathes on the table
across my husband's hand--
it is smoke
and a cloud, and a fugitive servant...
The flame of five pears, gold
as honey, the stillness of the bowl
that holds them in plain sight.
In the wheel-fire of the world:
We're getting hot. We're burning.
Poetry Friday today is being hosted by Anastasia Suen over at Picture Book of the Day. Thanks, Anastasia! (And hooray, hooray, hooray, it is MARCH!!!!)
at 12:01 AM