Tuesday, September 21, 2010


This morning my morning glories are at their peak of glory. It's the time of year for glory--one last big explosion of it before the frost... come to think of it, it's almost time for northern gardeners to be getting out the insecticidal soap before bringing in the potted plants. Always something to do besides dream the autumn away. Those of us who are "not very high up on the vocational chart," as the poet Mary Ruefle puts it, have a little time for reverie, not to mention obsessional posting of autumn poems all the way up until the equinox:


The autumn aster, those lavender ones,
and the dark-blooming sedum
are beginning to bloom in the rainy earth
with the remote intensity of a dream. These things
take over. I am a glorifier, not very high up
on the vocational chart, and I glorify everything I see,
everything I can think of. I want ordinary men and women,
brushing their teeth, to feel the ocean in their mouth.
I am going to glorify the sink with toothpaste spat in it.
I am going to say it's a stretch of beach where the foam
rolls back and leaves little shells. Ordinary people
with a fear of worldly things, illness, pain, accidents,
poverty, of dark, of being alone, of misfortune.
The fears of everyday life. People who quietly and secretly
bear their dread, who do not speak freely of it to others.
People who have difficulty separating themselves
from the world around them, like a spider hanging
off the spike of a spider mum, in an inland autumn,
away from the sea, away from that most unfortunate nation
where people are butterballs dying of meat and drink.
I want to glorify the even tinier spiders in the belly of the spider
and in the closed knot of the mum's corolla, so this is likely
to go on into winter. Didn't I say we were speaking of autumn
with the remote intensity of a dream? The deckle edge of a cloud:
blood seeping through a bandage. Three bleached beech leaves
hanging on a twig. A pair of ruined mushrooms. The incumbent
snow. The very air. The imported light. All autumn struggling
to be gay, as people do in the midst of their woe.
I met a psychic who told me my position in the universe
but could not find the candy she hid from her grandkids.
The ordinary fear of losing one's mind. You rinse the sink,
walk out into the October sunshine, and look for it
by beginning to think. That's when I saw the autumn aster,
the sedum blooming in a purple field. The psychic said
I must see the world glory emblazoned on my chest. Secretly
I was hoping for a better word. I would have chosen for myself
an ordinary one like orchid or paw.
Something that would have no meaning in the astral realm.
One doesn't want to glorify everything. What might I actually say
when confronted with the view from K2? I'm not sure
I would say anything. What's your opinion?
You're a man with a corona in your mouth,
a woman with a cottonball in her purse,
what's your conception of the world?

What is your conception of the world today? Are you having one of those days when a pleasant feeling casts a glow on everything else you do? A landmark day when you're doing everything in honor of a birthday or anniversary? A day when some trouble shadows your attempts to get everything else done?


FreshHell said...

What is this "rainy earth" of which she speaks? I am sad because it's now officially autumn. There are some outdoor chores that I am looking forward to accomplishing but I'll miss my buzzing, happy garden.

Marie said...

I think I'm having a peaceful day so far but that could change at any minute, LOL!
Seriously, I feel like today is going to be a good day :-)

Avid Reader said...

This is a beautiful piece and perfect for my day, which is shrouded in tragedy. A friend of my husbands, who was only 27, died this week and we are attending the funeral tonight. They have no idea what happened, she just dropped dead and it's heartbreaking for their whole family.

Jeanne said...

FreshHell, we've had rainy earth here, although it's drier than usual even in swampy Ohio.

Marie, I hope it was... Sometime having that feeling is enough to make it true.

Avid Reader, sorry to hear it, but glad you read the poem on a day that sounds almost literally colored by an event.