Friday, December 09, 2011

Poem: Dark winter morning with the dogs

Dark winter morning with the dogs

Dog stars Sirius and Aludra gnaw
the bones of the black locust trees;
a rout of coyotes behind the woods
barks and sings a round for the chickens,
gone these three years from their shallow roosts;
a meteor falls like a seed of fire
into that sleeping corner of the barn
and lights up its empty boxes; see
the straw mixed with chicken guano
that remains after three summer gardens, ablaze
and still abundant on the floor; my sleeping husband
dreams of the next planting, starting with the shovel
and the shit, the wheel barrow, the eternal stew;
Murzim howls, Muliphen listens, and Aludra,
a virgin, hungers with everlasting heat.

Poetry should be heard.

Quite literally the other morning, a shooting star fell behind the barn, right there, while coyotes clamored, either after, or in preparation, for their early morning hunt.

Hubble image of Canis Major's "evil eyes" found here.
For information about Canis Major and the stars that shine in the constellation, go here.


The Broad said...

I love this poem! For some reason when I saw the picture, I was reminded of the opening shots in 'It's a Wonderful Life'. I was also reminded of the sounds of coyotes in the night heard from our bedroom at my parents home in north western Connecticut during the long cold sub frozen temperatures.

Thanks for your visit to my blog! I should say, however, that the grandmother written about is the other one, my mother's mother! Some day I will have to write about my father's mother -- but that is more complicated for my psyche!

Brendan said...

Like Mary Oliver, your raptures aren't afraid to show their teeth. What a terrible beauty in those paired dog stars' glare, constelation of the coyote and the hard winter just beyond the last light of the farm. Like the old Japanese folk saying goes, "love and happiness is rooted in piss and shit." Where would be the delight of a hot Sunday morning omelet without all the ghosts of that chicken house? Coyotes are a strange ubiquity across the southeast -- they're everywhere, venturing into suburbs to eat small dogs and cats (we lost one of our strays to one, we believe, and the neighborhood for a time saw a dramatic reduction in the number of outdoor male cats). Dark winter morning indeed, though it shines. - Brendan

Ralph Suarez said...

Gosh Ruth, this is got me with the line that reads: "a meteor falls like a seed of fire"
I don't get to visit you every day but when I do, you make such an impact upon my day!
Thanks so much for all you do to make this world a little brighter.

Louise Gallagher said...

Good morning Ruth -- it was hard, while On the Roof, the visit my friends in cyberland -- which seems odd as I had nothing but time... but it was hard none-the-less.

So I was very happy this morning to have a quiet corner in my living room to sit and relax and spend some time with you.

What is wonderful about the time after being away is that fact that I get to immerse myself in the hot and cold ruminations you share. The wintry footprints, the tales of meno-synapses firing, and the beauty of the night sky firing off bursts of light that ignite your inspiration and imagination.

What a wonderful gift you are in the still dark morning.

And what Ralph said, about making the world brighter, so true!


missing moments said...

another great one Ruth!

Maureen said...

Marvelous poem, Ruth.

Miss Jane said...

I do hope you record a podcast of this. I liked the cadence, language, and line breaks.
I esp. liked the juxtaposition of the guano with the sleeping husband!

gnaw bones rout round
I like this stew

Grandmother said...

This amazing poem brought two images to mind- the meteor falling like a seed of fire reminded me of your poppy seed as his own little seed of fire. And the hungers with everlasting heat linked to your last poem mentioning menopause and the mystery of heat in our bodies.

erin said...

i don't know how to respond but to say, look, look at what your world offers. it is pounding poetry into you, your husand, the shit, the chickens and coyotes, the falling shards of sky. how can you not be the poet you are? it is impossible in this eternal stew for you to be otherwise. i am happy for crops rendered. yes, but perhaps more happy for ruth:)


hedgewitch said...

Always amazing how the stars tell us their stories, or bark them down at us in this case. There's supposed to be a very visible lunar eclipse Saturday at moonset in the WNW sky--hope I'll be up to see it, as you were to grab these words out of the nebulae for our breakfasts.

George said...

Somehow, this new poem about a dark winter morning seemed connected with your last poem about hot and cold ruminations. I liked the wonderful imagery of the meteor falling from the winter sky like "a seed of fire," and the subsequent light in which the straw and chicken guano are ablaze while your husband dreams of the next planting. Once again, there is the miracle of movement and life occurring in the stillness and seeming deadness of winter.

Susan said...

Has it really been three years since the chickens "left" the farm? Time is flying by at the speed of a meteor, isn't it?

Love the imagery.
Love you.

The Solitary Walker said...

Fabulous. I love this poem.

Ginnie said...

Has it really been 3 years, Ruth??? Are you sure it wasn't just yesterday!

Ruth said...

Thank you so much, Everyone, for reading the poem and for your wonderful comments. These are happy days, sitting on under a winter sky, in the stillness.

I am limiting my computer use at the moment, partly because my hands are needing some rest. Forgive me for not answering each of your comments separately.

Loring Wirbel said...

A work full of mystery, at once as small as a dark room and as large as a galaxy.

Margaret said...

ha... starting with shovel and the shit (a farmers "gold")

The image is awesome and reminds me of a "mad" owl.

ds said...

Oh, my. Word, image, imagery...awe.
And this:

In the long winter nights, a farmer's dreams are narrow.
Over and over, he enters the furrow.

--Robert Hass