Thank you to Veronica Patterson, Loveland’s first poet Laureate, for sharing my two poems, “To Three Ducks Flying Beneath the Dog Star” and “Waking After Eighteen Hundred Dead,” as part of April’s National Poetry Month, on her Loveland Poet Laureate facebook site.
TODAYS POET ♦
Today’s National Poetry Month poet who read in Loveland as part of the Poets in the Park series is Kathryn Winograd. The poems presented are *TO THE THREE DUCKS FLYING BENEATH THE DOG STAR* and *WAKING AFTER EIGHTEEN HUNDRED DIE.* Of the latter, Kathryn writes, “This poem I wrote after the rising of the pink moon and one of our terrible nights of so many dead.”
TO THE THREE DUCKS FLYING BENEATH THE DOG STAR
So little you know, wild-winged
and unshaken beneath a dog star,
half-grazing the pines, the bare winter
aspen I stand in the dark wash of
waiting for the tip of a yellow moon.
In Ohio, girlhood, these April stars
circled a pond bull-dozed
by my father, a raft of cattail
where the red-wings spun their nests
above the scrim of caught water.
Tonight, in this near dark, so close
my hand could circle it,
Sirius hovers above the red factory
lights of Pueblo and the Sangre de Cristo
blue-washed in this hour.
I am cold in this wind, in this spine
of the Milky way,
these blue white stars named
for a bear or a lyre or a woman
weeping her dead into a river.
I think I was still half-sleeping
in a field of grass, in a haze of stars,
in a far and nameless country
you care nothing about,
burying and unburying those I love.
Such quiet, the mining trucks
to the north stalled
and the little generator of a shed
where no one lives in winter
shut down. And then, your wings,
almost, against the moon.
Why am I always alone,
searching for something beautiful?
WAKING AFTER EIGHTEEN HUNDRED DIE
Prayer began early
before the sterling jays
dove, then clattered
at our window,
flicked the blue dark
storm of their tails.
Our pale trees bow down
and a nuthatch
teeters upside down
from the post of the birdfeeder
I buried with stones
his thin straight beak
tapping at the seed
I leave out all night.
how lightly it floats
in this chill spring
like a delicate frost
I can walk through.
I take the wood axe
from our tool shed
to split the old wood we felled
and stacked years past.
Last night I stood alone
in the deepening dusk,
in the silence,
as if I could rename each
splinter of star
I did not know.
And then the pink moon
soft as the fingertips
of the dead
slid over the mountain
and I lit fires
beneath a moon
of far blossoms.
How long ago it seems,
when we could just count
the catkin on the budding aspen
and step so carefully
through the winter grass
so as not to crush
the white globes of the wind
flowers lifting themselves
from the cold earth.
~ Published in Colorado, Write On/The Colorado Sun
PROMPT: In her poem “Waking After Eighteen Hundred Die,” the poet does not write directly about this time of the corona virus. And yet the details and images of the poem embody it. Try writing about what you observe in the world now and letting the poem’s title, which the reader will return to, be an anchor.
Kathryn’s new book of essays, *Slow Arrow: Unearthing the Frail Children,* has recently been released. Here is a trailer for her new book: https://www.youtube.com/watch…
Here is a link to more about Kathryn Winograd and her work: kathrynwinograd.com.