POET'S CORNER by Jeff Hartzer #005: October 2004
First/ brought rain and the soft scattered sound of geese,
fifty-four in flying vee; / chaotic wings / black against
a sky of soft rain.
came to me in 1981 after moving to the Pacific Northwest from
Florida. Seasonal changes in my native state were inconsequential.
Autumn meant that red fish came upriver chasing shrimp and
that hurricanes or Noreasters might blow. My heart is
with Floridians this year. One hurricane is enough, four hurricanes
... apocaplyptic. At night in the high desert, vistas are
akin to those on the ocean. Wherever you go, there you are.
now into a dark season of the year. It can be a good time
for poets. A time for inside things like hot chocolate,
television, or good books. A time for going inside metaphorically
as well. No small coincidence that we go to school in wintertime.
The light of summer balances the darkness of winter. The full
moon and the dark moon equally move the tides. This is a goes
within time. Many love this time of year; many do not.
Happens. The advantages of this are more brilliant stars to
light our night skies and crackling fires to warm our hearths.
Did you know that just before an orange tree dies, it blossoms
more fully than ever before? Deciduous tree leaves flash their
most brilliant colors before falling off the tree.
On the last
day of September, I was cruising down Interstate 25 near the
Avenida César Chávez exit, when a most unusual
end to the month literally exploded in front of me. A semi-truck
hauling a long concrete barrier jack-knifed and lost its load,
which plunged into the dividing median, causing a giant cloud
of dust, dirt, and pulverized concrete to explode across and
over all three lanes ahead of me. There was a huge cloud of
confetti-like debris, rising up in slow-motion like Mt. St.
Helens erupting. It seemed unreal and much like a mass of
papers blowing in the breeze. Meteors of debris showered down
on me, tearing into the hood, windshield, and driver door
with the force and sound of shotguns. Made me thankful that
I am not in Iraq with our troops. Made me thankful, period.
It was my first accident ever. It shook me to
the core. In a split second, all changed. Those moments ended
an already tough month marked by a death in the family. Those
moments began a swing toward a new season. I have work to
do on those lines about those geese in the soft rain. In so
many ways, October First has come and gone with all the magic
of Albuquerques hot air balloons. Already changing leaves
fall. Soon Kookooee burns. Día de los Muertos and All
Hallows Eve will precede Thanksgiving time. Already
the aisles of Wal*Mart are packed with Holiday Gear.
a time of harvesting; a time for looking back. Take time to
enjoy where you are coming from and embrace where you are
going. Soon after you read this our country will be embarking
on a journey of its own. Not in my lifetime has there been
an election year of such electric magnitude. Our country is
split like those Mt. St. Helen fissures with deep down possibilities
for serious explosion. America will harvest what it has sewn.
We will all become a part of that harvest. These are dark
times. There will be lighter times. We move on through the
light. We move on through the dark. Though our confidence
may be shattered, it doesnt matter. Poetry can help.
Poetry encompasses both the light and the dark. Dont
be afraid of it. Poetry is a magical gift waiting for you
to open it.