Friday, November 19, 2010

Veil -- Poem by Todd Davis

Been a while since I posted a poem (been in nonfiction mode), but this one blew me away. What do you think? Subtle, understated, complex, elegant--lyric with a juicy touch of mercurial narrative?

Veil

In this low place between mountains
fog settles with the dark of evening.
Every year it takes some of those
we love—a car full of teenagers
on the way home from a dance, or
a father on his way to the paper mill,
nightshift the only opening.
Each morning, up on the ridge,
the sun lifts this veil, sees what night
has accomplished. The water on our window-
screens disappears slowly, gradually,
like grief. The heat of the day carries water
from the river back up into the sky,
and where the fog is heaviest and stays
longest, you’ll see the lines it leaves
on trees, the flowers that grow
the fullest.

3 comments:

Susan in the Pink Hat said...

Yeah, I don't know. It's not doing it for me for some reason. It is understated; perhaps too much for me at some points. For instance—
"The water on our window-
screens disappears slowly, gradually,
like grief."
He's just giving it away there. It would have been stronger if he had made you work for the connection.

But what do I know. Kudos to poets for having the cajones to make an attempt at anything. The rest of us are complacent cowards.

Benjamin Vogt said...

Susan--I might agree with you. I've been going back and forth, perhaps cut "like grief?" And as far as kudos, kudos mean nothing. Attempts are little, silly things. The rest are complacent cowards? We all are. Do or do not, there is no try.

Susan in the Pink Hat said...

Yoda wisdom. Mmmm...mmmm....

I would cut "like grief" also rework first two lines. "fog settles with the dark of evening" sounds clich├ęd.

People often ask me if I write poetry and are surprised when I tell them I don't. I don't dare; I'm much to critical. I'd start writing and get discouraged or I'd pick the thing to death for months.