Friday, May 23, 2014

Poetry Friday: Josephine Jacobsen's "Birthday Party"

I've posted this week over at Books Around the Table, the blog I contribute to with fellow writers Julie Paschkis, Margaret Chodos-Irvine, Laura Kvasnosky and Bonny Becker. Please head over there to see my thoughts on a writer's relationship to delight, despair - and musical chairs! I love Josephine Jacobsen's work and hope to have an essay up sometime in July over at Numero Cinq about her. Will update here with a link to that essay as soon as it gets posted. 

The Birthday Party

The sounds are the sea, breaking out of sight,
and down the green slope the children’s voices
that celebrate the fact of being eight.

One too few chairs are for desperate forces:
when the music hushes, the children drop
into their arms, except for one caught by choices.

In a circle gallops the shrinking crop
to leave a single sitter in hubris
when the adult finger tells them: stop.

There is a treasure, somewhere easy to miss.
In the blooms? by the pineapple-palms’ bark?
somewhere, hidden, the shape of bliss.

Onto the pitted sand comes highwater mark.
Waves older than eight begin a retreat;
they will come, the children gone, the slope dark.

One of the gifts was a year, complete.
There will be others: those not eight
will come to be eight, bar a dire defeat.

On the green grass there is a delicate
change; there is a change in the sun
though certainly it is not truly late,

and still caught up in the scary fun,
like a muddle of flowers blown around.
For treasure, for triumph, the children run

and the wind carries the steady pound,
and salty weight that falls, and dies,
and falls. The wind carries the sound

of the children’s light high clear cries.
The Poetry Friday round-up this week is being hosted by Violet Nesdoly. Head over to her blog to see what other people have posted.