Thursday, November 08, 2012

that loud hub of us


is my heart. A stranger
berry there never was,

Gone sour in the sun,
in the sunroom or moonroof,

No poetry. Plain. No
fresh, special recipe
to bless.

All I’ve ever made
with these hands
and life, less

substance, more rind.
Mostly rim and trim,

but making much smoke
in the old smokehouse,
no less.

Fatted from the day,
overripe and even
toxic at eve. Nonetheless,

in the end, if you must
know, if I must bend,

to that excruciation.
No marvel, no harvest
left me speechless,

yet I find myself
somehow with heart,

With heart,
fighting fire with fire,

That loud hub of us,
meat stub of us, beating us

Spectacular in its way,
its way of not seeing,
congealing dayless

but in everydayness.
In that hopeful haunting
(a lesser

way of saying
in darkness) there is

for the pressing question.
Heart, what art you?
War, star, part? Or less:

playing a part, staying apart
from the one who loves,

—Brenda Shaughnessy

From Our Andromeda, Copper Canyon Press
Copyright © 2012 by Brenda Shaughnessy

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

I read this poem when it was published in The New Yorker this summer. It's the kind of poem that sticks to you, like tiny seed-burrs on the legs of your pants in the summer. It's been murmuring in the back of my head: artless, tartless, waistless, dayless. Pointlessly because I didn't know why, or from where. E. E Cummings? And then it popped up again in a book review somewhere, perhaps also in The New Yorker. And then today, featured on a blog at the Poetry Foundation website.

Poems usually don't follow you around, jumping out of corners: Heart, what art you? Poems languish in obscurity for decades, lifetimes, before lodging themselves into the fabric of language. War, star, part? or less! In some kind of surrender I publish it here since it will not leave me alone. It's the silencelessness in my mind, on some sort of repeat: That loud hub of us, / meat stub of us, beating us / senseless.

{ p o e t r y  w e d n e s d a y }

No comments: