Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tuesday Poem: Sycamore Tree

see me see me
by the sycamore tree
each child a propeller
sorry each child has a
propeller and is throwng
it up and the dead seeds
spin and spin and spin
& they shriek my
little ones & pick up another
one & anothe one & spin & spin
& spn sory I was right
at th beginning each child
is a propeller & I
stand at th still point on
th warm path & th world
spins round me shoutng
& whoopng & spittng
its ends tied up in its
beginnings & bits & pieces
lost in the spinnng
I know yu’re watching us
frm a room with a desk
by the window usualy we
jst pass by sometimes u wave
today we’ve stopd here right
n front f you
but I can’t move the childrn on
not while they’re spnnng
like little propellers like
little worlds
fallng over & gulping &
laughing & spinning agin & I
& I know you’re watching
can see you’re there frm
the way the light settles
inside th glass & I
& I guess u must be writng
& I have no idea what it is
you write bt I wish I could see
those whol words those
complete sentences laid out
neatly on a page like seedlngs
in soil with all
their beginnngs & end-
ings &  all their tendril possibilities
I can – shh – see the hush
around you – smell the
coolness of your room – feel
the pen in my hand rubbing
that callus I've had since
primer 2 & I pic up
a handful of seeds throw
them highr than the childrn
cn go faster than the children
cn go & the childrn
fall ove themslves & ove me
& they shriek
do it agen do it agen &
I’m maddened with
the spinnng & the shriekng
& the sun & th warm path
& the seeds in m hands &
th vegetable love
I hav for thm & I want nthng
els right thn
nthng else wll do but somthng
happens wth th sun cmng
throu the leaves & fallng
on the glass & I see
your face in th window lit
frm brow t chin stretchd
in its own wild shriek  
& I throw the sycamor seeds
one  mor  time as high as
they can go & wish

Mary McCallum

I was sorting through things the other day and found an old poem I don't remember writing called Sycamore Tree. It's scrawled on the page as if I barely had time to write it, which I didn't with two small children - which is what I had then.  What I wrote was skimpy and traditional in its language and form. It captured a moment. I decided to write it again yesterday - and this is what came out - the poem behind the poem, the real poem, winded and spinning. And the wish at the end? Your guess is as good as mine. 

Do check out Tuesday Poem this week. Such a stunning long poem by a poet doctor and a write-up by Tuesday Poet Renee Liang. Worth every second you spend reading it. 


Michelle Elvy said...

I like how this turned out, the spinning and shrieking and the vegetable love... that is an interesting turn there.

Elizabeth Welsh said...

Yes, throwing the seeds into the air seems such an act of liberation. Isn't it wonderful digging up old treasures and working through them again - it's like saying 'hello' to an old self :) Thanks, Mary - always wonderful stuff!