Still Life with Cabbage and Clogs, by Elisabeth Weiss
Nights, the artist and the cook
dream the same dream of blooming roots
in simple vessels, of blood pudding,
pails of cool water, cold milk.
All winter the chirr of the artist’s scissors,
his pencil marks erased, mistakes
on creamy Ingres paper.
The cook wears handkerchiefs,
feathers of earliest birds too weak to fly.
When the sharpened cleaver meets
the groove between
stalk and flowering head
obsidian clouds thrust forth.
Small particles coat the frosty air.
The cook warms herself with brandy.
Her granite fingers sigh.
She closes the shutters, mutters
strains and tosses, peels potatoes,
then staggers fireside, serves with honey
and salt on baked clay platters.
She thrusts her feet into wooden clogs,
removes her tattered linen apron
and steps outside the doorframe.
Each evening she feeds scraps to hogs
crisscrosses cow paths
tousling tufts of onion grass.
She walks past the cottage on the heath
the meadow, the elm trees in the churchyard,
the barn with the thatched roof
while the artist studies how
layers peel, bones discard,
and patterns of fields appear in
the eggshell cabbage sprawled wide.
This month, I am a feature poet in the latest issue of Muddy River Poetry Review. In their words:
Elisabeth Weiss, our other feature poet in this issue, teaches writing and literature at Salem State University and North Shore Community College. Her commitment to poetry includes teaching in prisons, nursing homes and other venues. Her MFA is from The University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop, and she is widely published in leading poetry magazines.
Visit the Muddy River Poetry Review site to view my featured works, or view the PDF here.
Today as I glance out at January’s first whiteout, obliterating the world from my window, I happily nestle back under blankets to recharge with Nick Flynn’s first book, Some Ether. First books read as coming of age novels in that they make a stake in outlining a poet’s primary obsessions and concerns. In Some Ether the poems ache for interconnectedness and express fear of drowning in that need. Full of uncertainties, Flynn longs to find beauty in what is often an ugly and terrible world.
Lis Weiss Horowitz: The Bicyclist
Ondar Goekce 1952-1995
We buried you on the hottest day
while your children, impatient with grief
and the long ride in the limousine,
jumped through the fluid hoop
the sprinkler cast in the neighbor’s grass,
the sun directly above. The sermon
on how briefly we love meant nothing
when the priest in his Turkish folds
opened the top of your pine box
and rolled you onto your side,
turning your weight to face Mecca.
My envoy, who slipped off your bicycle
on a clear day without traffic, as you were turning
to your wife to say something, could anything
have broken your fall? Did you know
you were pedaling away from us forever?
She said the bike sailed out from under you
as if it had a mind of its own.
You who go before us, at the turn
of the block, a turn we all have taken,
where houses begin again after the marsh
where will you be this winter while we skate
on the strange calm of the time we have?
republished from MassPoetry Poem of the Moment