Friday, July 27, 2007

String theory

There's a certain quality of light in the kitchen
At eleven a.m. on a mid-summer morning
That makes me wish my mother and father
Were still alive.

We could sit and drink coffee while the light
Plays out glossy gray over the walnut table,
Their hands would be old and wrinkled now,
And their hair completely white.

We could talk about what my life would be like
If either of them had died when I was so young--
If they weren't here to drink coffee with me
And watch me wonder at the quality of light.

But I know what that's like.
I drink my coffee alone while the late morning
Light shimmers, iridescent, over its surface


  1. beautiful last lines

  2. Sometimes you can miss your parents before they are gone.

  3. after delivering a sermon x 3, and laboring over it for a week, + or - a few days, it is refreshing to read your poem. It has a sad and hopeful flavor to it.

  4. And, not to be too much the lit crit guy, but the opening line is a nice allusion (intended or not) to Emily Dickinson. "There's a certain slant of light/winter afternoons/that oppresses like the heft/of cathedral tunes."

    I like the contemporary recasting of the line and the sentiment. Dickinson's sense of heft is, as always, theological. Your's is familial, more intimate.

    Anyway, there's my reading of the first line.

  5. Yeah after I wrote it, I remember that Dickinson poem. I wanted to keep it, however, because it also alludes to science and quality sounds a lot more like quantity (which I toyed around with in one version.) I also just like how "There's a certain...." rolls off the tongue.

  6. Oh and I might note, that the Dickinson poem readily rattles about in my noggin. I guess it finally came out in the contrast.n