for Rose and Pete, my parents
The flower clung on to the wind,
dreaming itself a swallow.
The wind held on to the branch
and stilled. The branch itched,
bent a little and caught
a glimpse of the frog pawing a leaf.
The leaf severed its limb
and fell to the ground. The pebbles
inched a bit to give the leaf
some room to dream itself
A flower. The forest, or what
remained of it, laughed
at its children. But there
was little room for laughter.
It could not even command rain.
This was written in 23 September 1990 and was part of my first poetry book, Beneath an Angry Star (Anvil, 1992). Even back then I seem to have been very conscious of time. The notes I have managed to recover indicate it was written 7:08-7:27 in the evening in my parents’ home. I can remember nothing of that night. This poem survived it.
I had no computer then, but I did inherit a typewriter from my sisters. Very likely I wrote this in a cheap spiral notebook about the size of my hand. No one else could read my handwriting then. People always complained about that.
Now, with my reliance on the keyboard, I myself struggle to make out what I scratch on paper just a few hours earlier. In a lot of ways I miss those times. The touch of paper. The sound of a pen scarring what was once the belly of a tree.