A Handful of Dust, A Sijo Sequence
'I will show you fear in a handful of dust."
"The Waste Land," T. S. Eliot
Hello there, magnolia tree, shall we spend the day together?
if you shade me from noonday sun, I will relish your flowers.
My verse will sing how great you are, but don't drop those big leaves.
Welcome weeds, didn't I see you
last year in my garden?
I remember pulling you then composting your next season.
When I am pulled from this garden,
will I find another spring?
The seed brought me in budding time, but spring slipped away unseen;
summer would be faithful, but then autumn left me dry.
Withering into winter, even my gray hair is leaving.
Sijo West #1, Spring 1996
Grampa built this old rocker with cherry from our orchard.
Forty years on the front porch before he left to be with God.
Fifty more have come and gone; still I rock with him at sunset.
So, the chair is ninety this year, still hewn
cherry thru and thru
except one rocker Grampa broke and made again with maple.
Small, I guess, for modern rears,
but it holds the whole family.
We had a yard sale yesterday -- someone asked to buy it:
a dealer from Atlanta
who knew good wood and craftsmanship.
Wood he knew all right, but not Grampa, nor me, nor memory.
Out of the Dead Land, Lilacs
"April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire."
..."Spring," T.S. Eliot
If we say the star is there
when we see only ancient light,
if we say fading photos
bring forth spirits of those now gone,
then your scent on my pillow
turns each absence to illusion.
If we say the wind lives
when we see the pines bend under it,
if fragrances on the wind
keep the cherry blossoms blooming,
what should I say of the scent
of your hair on the winds of change?
All right, wind, you can stop now,
the autumns colors have fallen.
Raking works well without your help,
and snowfalls do not need you.
We'll call for you when April comes
and women dress for spring.