Saturday, May 2, 2015

Pamela Herron: Poetry

Swans

Swans
mate for life,
they say.
What biological imperative
demands
Monogamy?

Humans,
on the other hand,
desire
Monogamy,
but cannot
get it right.

The swan,
neck curved,
watches
over her
grey, fuzzy
cygnets.

While the male
wings outspread,
defends his
battleship group
from perceived
danger.
A child kneels alone to watch.
The small armada sails home.
Bread cast upon
still water
unseen,
unwanted.





Mocking Bird

I never understood my father,
except perhaps
when I was a child.
Then he was
protective
all-powerful.

Snow drifts
against
cold grey stone.
A bit of ribbon,
faded
plastic rose.

Mockingbird
swoops, dives,
wings splayed
tail spread.
A fat robin
has ventured too close.

His mate
hovers near
their nest
watching every move
prepared to battle
if needed.

Summer
will come.
Nestlings will fly.
I hear the mockingbird
morning song until
time to build again.

Outside my childhood window
the mockingbird sang
morning awake
I walked the fields
with my father
once again.

Bright
warm nest
with bits of ribbon
and faded
flowers.
Mockingbird sings.





Keeping Time

my mother watched
kept time for the family.
rising from her rocking chair,
She picked up Big Ben,
and told us good night,
go to bed.

Sometimes she fooled
herself and set the clock
ten minutes fast as
though she could
cheat time.
She never could.
There were other Big Bens.
Little ones, then bigger ones
with bigger numbers
glowing softly through the night.

She wound the clock for
the factory whistle,
the school bus,
for early rehearsals,
and me.

She never
wound the clock
for herself.

She kept time
faithfully.
Waiting, watching
the morning dawn
on a tipsy daughter,
the one who slipped away,
the man who stayed out
too late for no reason.

And we all came home.
And she would wind
the clock for another day.
Our house never needed an electric clock.
One with a snooze alarm
or a radio
to wake us with music.
I remember
she never slept.
No need for a clock
ticking forward to a milky dawn.
None of us ever had our own
clock to wind and wake
us in the morning.

But every evening,
she rose from
the hand-woven reeds of
the wooden rocking chair,
walk to the tall table
with the bills
and the Bible,
and wind the clock

Today the clack
of a winding clock
brings me back.
But of course,
no one winds
clocks today.

Numbers glow
red and evil
throughout
the night and
I wonder
how could she
sleep with that damn
Big Ben ticking away
the hours at the head of her bed.

Marking time
for all of us.
My dual alarms
wake us all,
separately, and
no one
winds the clock.
Nine volts
watch the time
even in a storm.

My pink
cell phone
has an alarm,
numbers that
glow in the dark, and
music.
To remind me
of meetings,
names and numbers
of my friends
and family.
Never needs winding.
It doesn’t tick.
When she died,
I kept her watch,
the Timex,
the one I bought her,
with the big numbers,
after the little ones
danced and drifted
before her eyes.
I wore the watch,
big black numbers
marking time
for me,
until it stopped.