Thursday, March 16, 2006

Wolves

On the last day of AWP, as I was taking a break before the big final reading, I spotted on an otherwise empty table in front of me the 2005 issue of The Evansville Review. Opening it, I was delighted to find a wide spectrum of excellent poets, including Richard Wilbur, C.P. Cavafy (translated by A.E. Stallings), A.E. Stallings, Rilke (translated by Willis Barnstone), Lyn Lifshin, and many others. There was also a poem by Lois Beebe Hayna titled "Red Alert," which appears in her latest book, Keeping Still. I read with Hayna up in Denver in January, and recall her reciting this poem, which was a sure hit with the audience.

So, with no one around and the journal sitting all alone, I did what any respectable poet would---of course---do: I swiped it.

Following from yesterday's Marie Howe posting, I thought it might be fun to post this poem, and then in turn a poem from each of the collections I brought back with me. But since time is short, as they say, I'll present two or three poems from different collections at a time, and may or may not get to all of them. Let's start with Hayna's, and then one from fellow Salmon poet Marck L. Beggs, from his book Libido Cafe:

Red Alert

My mother surely knew the wolf
lurked along that path.
She had to know the world's
filled with wolves, that their special
habitat is a forest
where little girls walk alone.
She dressed me
in the color of raw meat, she filled
my basket with warm-scented goodies
and sent me specifically
into the woods. A long way
into the woods. For years I believed
it was wolves that I had to beware.

-- Lois Beebe Hayna


Wolves

When he was very young,
he dreamt often
identical dreams
of hovering
over the world
as a cord unraveled
from the small
of his back
and the planet
yawned to swallow
the breath
of his lungs.
The boy awake
and violated
against flannel sheets.
He dreamt
also of wolves
and, finally,
they came, skulking
out of the trees
as he shovelled
snow, singing,
"Closer, closer
to my home,"
when he glanced
back at the asphalt
into the yellow
blaze of eyes,
hunger-fed and foaming
at the mouth.
Next summer
wore raw, straight
into the winter
when the boy
would say, "I'm not
sure," to a minister
dripping holy water
down his fingers
onto the boy's
golden skull,
the wolves
burrowing his hair
matter under
the rain.
-- Marck L. Beggs

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