Poems from Carrying Water

August 16, 2010

Here is the title poem from this chapbook, and the poem that follows it. To order, contact me at wmwalker@earthlink.net

Carrying Water

Pure & simple, this is your chance
to rub elbows with your daily miracle,
which waits for you at the well a hundred paces
past the outhouse and down the dune.
Priming the pump, an act so full
of symbol and abundant reward,
brings forth a gush
of the substance you can’t live without:
God’s love–it might as well be
God’s love you funnel
into your plastic jugs,
which you fill to overflowing,
then cap off to tote them
step by step, up
the steep, unsteady path
of crumbling dune.

Launching It Again

We joke about it as we lift:
the boat feels heavier now,
though it’s the same
small hull of fiberglass, sea-blue,
topped with a tiny gull-gray deck.
It’s the same cockleshell of a craft
we almost swamped off Wellfleet,
the same light skiff we sailed home
through a thicket of fog
on a phosphorus wake.
This is the damp shallop
we drove through the waves
under the sway of an oversized spinnaker
with a power great as love.
In this unsteady sloop
I’ve bucked through seas
with lovers, family, and friends–
layered with the light haze
of twenty years of memory.
Out of the water,
this still hull strains our backs
as if we’re lifting
the weight of a leaded keel.
But when we set it in the waves
that are quick with sunlight, winking
with the glint of schooling minnows,
it bobs and weaves and rides the sea–
feather-light, confident–
fresh as a new believer,
baptized and born again.

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Poems from Wednesday after Lunch

August 16, 2010

Free samples! These are the last two poems in the book. Hard to get all the line breaks in this space, but the words are all there. If you want to contact me, I’m at wmwalker@earthlink.net

HAPPINESS

Usually it’s simple, like today
when you find a small brown feather
with muted, rising white stripes while walking at the beach.
You bring it home in your sunglasses case
and prop it up on the upper shelf of her compact wooden desk,
behind the starfish dried in the shape of a camel.

You’ve washed the dishes and they’re stacked
in the rack by the sink like smooth stones
in a jar. The house is filled with the sweet
smell of her cooking. You open a bottle of red wine
and pour two glasses, then walk down the hall
at dusk as the pale green paint on the walls

fades to gray. In a moment your heart overflows
as brightly as the last hour of sunlight gilding
the eaves of apartment buildings in your neighborhood,
suddenly striking in their elegant silence. This,
it turns out, is all you’ve ever wanted.

WEDNESDAY AFTER LUNCH

The pain in my head stops me on the street.
This could be it, I think, this spot of sun
on the northwest corner of Page and Masonic,

by the brick building the color of nicotine stains,
next to the nameless tree with the dusty green leaves
like bamboo, right here on this sidewalk

with its gray patchwork of workaday concrete.
No last words past See you after lunch to my wife,
and then I’ll have the Cobb salad, and Thank you.

The light now seems bright enough to live by for one
last instant, and aneurysm an intimate new thought.
Then, like a cop car speeding by with a single siren beep,

my private moment of emergency is gone.
As the light turns green again, I take
one more cautious step, and then another.

November 8, 2009

Hello world!

September 14, 2009

To view Wednesday after Lunch, go to Amazon and search the book title. There you’ll find a photo of the cover (so nice; wish I could figure out how to import it to this site), blurbs by Marie Howe, Gail Mazur, Peter Money, and Thea Sullivan, as well as several enthusiastic readers, and of course easy ordering instructins.