Wednesday, April 5, 2017


At the Store

Clumps of daffodils along the storefront
bend low this morning, late snow
pushing their bright heads down.
The flag snaps and tugs at the pole
beside the door.
The old freezer, full of Maine blueberries
and breaded scallops, mumbles along.
A box of fresh bananas on the floor,
luminous and exotic…
I take what I need from the narrow aisles.
Cousins arrive like themes and variations.
Ansel leans on the counter,
remembering other late spring snows,
the blue snow of ‘32:
Yes, it was, it was blue.
Forrest comes and goes quickly
with a length of stovepipe, telling
about the neighbors’ chimney fire.
The store is a bandstand. All our voices
sound from it, making the same motley
American music Ives heard;
this piece starting quietly,
with the repeated clink of a flagpole
pulley in the doorway of a country store.

I am not a fan of free verse poems that seem to be sentences broken down and stacked phrase upon phrase, or chunk upon chunk. They tell no story, paint no pictures. This poem, as with much of Jane Kenyon’s poems, paints a picture, sets a mood, and tells a story – a in the space of a few lines. It is lyrical.

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