The Yard Of Childhood Memory

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Poetry  |  House: Booksie Classic

A representational poem

Say, man, have you have you ever experienced the scent of catalpa

that fills your nostrils and courts your senses

like the Great Sadness serenading you, alone, unlonely,

with the brief, late-spring Catalpa Blues,

absorbing, while filling you, with that which is too great to hold

and deeper than what you can speak?

because, you see, man, I'll never forget the catalpa trees

growing in our yard when I was a child in a small, prairie town,

Perhaps their subterranean tendrils drank from it...

... five or six miles to the north

lay the Arkansas River,

the trees were along the south side of the yard,

Once each morning and late afternoon

my dog disappeared and returned past the place

where they stood before they were wrenched from the soil

to make way for my father's church,

Before that, though, they'd reached toward the sky like giant weeds

of pith, sap,

branches, giant leaves and strong-smelling beans,

candelabras of crazy patch-work wizardry,

They weren't entirely an escape

but a place where I haltingly conversed with myself

and realms beyond,

their trunks in a row the honor guard of my dreams,

They weren't pretty

like the sugar maples that replaced them,

yet each stood with a gnarled dignity of stubborn grace,

and as summer ripened beyond its youth and prime,

they littered the ground beneath with a patch-work harvest of beans,

drying, turning brown and cracking open to cottony cores of seed,

I remember, one time, I soaked a bean in water,

tied strings tightly around its wet ends,

cut matchsticks into proper lengths to fit like seats in a canoe

and let the bean dry before removing the strings,

and the bean looked like a miniature canoe,

In late spring before that, though,

I climbed into branches bowing with offerings of flowers,

The leaves were dark-green and large,

reminding my boyish mind

of the footpads of fairy elephants,

and the frolicking, giggling memory-spirits of Merlin elves, gnomes

and fairies

still live in the menorahs of branches, leaves and knotholes

where in late-May

the air lay seduced by an aroma as mysterious

as the snow-petals,

a feathering of golden-yellow and purple gracing the cup of each,

common children of giant weeds

touched with wizard, elfin royalty

and the rich odor that - even then - I wished I could distill in the

budding of

summer heat,

essence of childhood night,

and now wish I could distill in wine,

because, you see, man,

the secret ecstasy is perfumed with the madness and the Great Sadness,

communion of the Catalpa Blues,

bittersweet serenade of the unknown

from the yard of childhood memory,

absorbing and filling me, alone, unlonely,

with that which is too great to hold,

still deeper than what I can speak

Submitted: September 11, 2014

© Copyright 2022 Wrulf. All rights reserved.

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