My grandson’s mantra
after seeing the wave-tossed cradle
of a baby lost in a storm in the movie
The Secret of Roan Inish,
was, Who will rescue the baby?
We cued up the end of the film
to try to ameliorate his real concern
by explaining the boy on screen,
just a bit bigger than he himself
was the baby grown, rescued
by his mother, a selkie,* who led him
back to his human family that nestled
him in a blanket and fed him soup.
Shortly thereafter my grandson’s father
overheard him whispering into a box
that housed his plastic tiger,
I’ll take care of you. And so he does
with blanket and thimble of soup.
*selkie = a Celtic mythological creature
that is both human and seal
Black-flies enter my writing house.
Too numerous to count, they hurry
across and up and down the window panes
fitfully seeking escape, unaware of the spider
two panes over, watching to see how well
its webbing will work.
The black-flies flew
through the open door. Granted they didn’t
know of the spider, but fly they did, and walk
they will into the webbing. The room throbs
with inevitability. They will be etherized
like Eliot’s patient upon the table, as will we
for better or worse in the end.
My world is filled with hanging things––
pots and pans and cutting boards
sifters, spoons, and time-dried apples––
Things. And people too are hanging,
ancestral pictures nailed on walls.
Surfaces. Flat faces. No depth but then
move on to the eyes and there reflections are
of pots, pans, cutting boards
time-dried apples pungent with hidden life.
Judith Robbins will read from her second collection of poems, The Bookbinder’s Wife, on Sunday, May 27 at 1 p.m. at Barnes & Noble, Augusta.
The Bookbinder’s Wife will be available, as will be her first collection, The North End. There will be time for discussion during and after the reading.
I skirt the violets
careful not to crush their delicate faces.
In so doing,
I step on dandelions,
an imposition of caste under my foot.
Easter is three weeks old,
old enough to stand on its legs
and walk the landscape speaking life
into dead grasses, reluctant buds
icy hearts of men who have given up.
Easter is what it does:
renews to left, right, and center.
Its seamless garment passing over,
the grass goes green.
Off you go on your tractor to split the wood.
Seems I’m always hailing you from a distance,
you at your work, I at mine watching you,
recording your work on a day in spring
that is already looking through summer
to the cold trap of winter beyond, knowing
the flare of color in fall a brief fire
that will not last but will end as we will––
brown and sere––pushed off our branch
by the buds of another spring.