POET'S CORNER by Jeff Hartzer #005: October 2004
Darkness Happens

October First/ brought rain and the soft scattered sound of geese, /
fifty-four in flying vee; / chaotic wings / black against a sky of soft rain

Those words 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 Nor’easters 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.

We move 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.

Darkness 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 Albuquerque’s hot air balloons. Already changing leaves fall. Soon Kookooee burns. Día de los Muertos and All Hallow’s Eve will precede Thanksgiving time. Already the aisles of Wal*Mart are packed with Holiday Gear.

This is 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 doesn’t matter. Poetry can help. Poetry encompasses both the light and the dark. Don’t be afraid of it. Poetry is a magical gift waiting for you to open it.

Jeff Hartzer
copyright 2004




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Written by Jeff Hartzer , The Poet's Corner appears monthly in Albuquerque's South Valley Ink.



Jeff Hartzer, MEd. presents a unique view of poetry as a magical gift waiting to be opened . Jeff is a poet, writer, teacher, and the Executive Director of the AirDance ArtSpace. ( 1-505-842-9418).

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