Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tasting The Dust -- Poem by Jean Janzen

The way he brings it in,
leaves falling from his hair,
then kisses me, you would think

that gardening is pleasure,
which he says it is, digging deep
to kill bermuda roots, piercing

his hands on roses.
Sweat drips into my eyes
from his forehead, physician

curing himself with soil.
Sometimes I join him, raking
the pages of leaves, but the garden

is his, the place which gathers
struggles from his hands
and returns its own --

the story of dust, an origin
so deep and dense, it rose
like fire to make the mountain,

a narrative of tumble
and breakage from its sides
the wet roar of ages

under the slow beat of the sun.
The mountain offering itself
in mud, sticks and stones

for his space, his touch,
to make of it a shape and fragrance,
to taste the center of this earth.


Pam said...

Have you read Louise Gluck's collection 'the wild iris'? This poem made me think of Gluck's poems (from the garden).

Benjamin Vogt said...

Pam--Are you joking? Of course I've read her book, I've even taught it before. It is LOVELY, isn't it?

Liisa said...

Lovely poem, Benjamin. I think I will share it in my creative writing class today.

Benjamin Vogt said...

Liisa--Glad to be of service. It's a nice simple, yet imagistically tight poem. Where do you teach?

Liisa said...

I could only wish to be so good as to TEACH creative writing. I am but a mere student. Truth be told, I really enjoy writing, but have not had much in the way of training. I have really been enjoying my class, although it is a bit of a bummer that my fellow students are really just taking the class for the credit, and don't really appreciate the class. Do you have any suggestions on books that one might find beneficial to develop their skills?

Benjamin Vogt said...

If you want to stretch your muscles, the anthology An Exaltation of Forsm is great. If you want to read poems I think teach you about what makes poems awesome, James Wright's The Branch Will not Break, maybe W.S. Merwin's The River Sound, and I've always liked Louise Gluck's The Wild Iris. If you like sonnets and stuff that sound contemporary, Rafael Campo's What The Body Told is very much so. Watch out.

Liisa said...

Great!! Thank you so much. I am definitely going to look into all of these. :)