Friday, May 20, 2011

Poetry Friday: Bone

Found this in the pauper' section at the old Irish Cemetery where I walk Cooper. 

Is it a heart?

  It is indeed -- as porous as old bone.


It was first dark when the plow turned it up.
Unsown, it came fleshless, mud-ruddled, nothing
but itself, the tendon's bored eye threading
a ponderous needle. And yet the pocked fist
of one end dared what was undone
in the strewing, defied the mouth of the hound
that dropped it.
                The whippoorwill began
again its dusk-borne mourning. I had never
seen what urgent wing disembodied
the voice, would fail to recognize its broken
shell or shadow or its feathers strewn
before me. As if afraid of forgetting,
it repeated itself, mindlessly certain.
I threw the bone toward that incessant claiming,
and watched it turned by rote, end over end over end.

                                -- Claudia Emerson

I have been told that sometimes the earth pushes out old bones, but never thought I'd see it for myself. Woman or man or child? It is so much of a size like my own kneecap, I think it must be that of a woman.

I am curious about the mechanics of soil, and the reasons the earth chose this particular bone to return to daylight. 

I thought about reburying it, but no. This is what I would want for one of my bones -- to rise up on its own, to rest prettily on moss and pine needles, to feel again the gray fox trotting past as dusk settles onto my deeply shaded hillside.  

*            *              *           *           *

You can read more by Pulitzer Prize winning poet Claudia Emerson here at Poetry Mountain.

And you can read more poems from today's round up over at The Drift Record. Julie's hosting today, so take a walk over there and check out today's offerings.


Andrea Murphy said...

Oooo! I like this! Thanks, Janet. Andy

Robyn Hood Black said...

Lovely and powerful and offering much to think about - thanks for sharing!