Sunday, August 28, 2011

Thirteen Ways

Less than a day's drive
from the Sierra Nevada
sits the city of San Francisco.

Water has three states,
a secular trinity
that provides life.

The autumn winds pull the fog
through the Golden Gate.

Hydrogen and oxygen
are one.
Liquid and ice and vapor
are one.

I do not know which to prefer,
the beauty of thirst
or the beauty of slaking it.
Lifting the full glass
or emptying it.

Icicles filled the picture
above December's grid,
those barbaric teeth
of old man winter,
or are they instead
translucent carrots
growing in the sky?

Oh bachelors of the city
surrounded by golden-skinned birds,
do you watch them as they sip
so delicately their vitamin waters
after their runs along the bay?

I know the taste
of accented water-
the teas and coffees
and their rhythms
of afternoon and morning.

As the fog burned off,
its disappearing edge
was natural magic.

At the sight of the marine layer,
giving everything a gray hue,
even the purples of pigeons
were a welcome flash of color.

He walked across the bride,
stopping to look out at Alcatraz
-no glass cage for him-
and the fear
of too much freedom
and too much restraint
was the fog's shadow on him.

The sixteen rivers are moving.
The bay must be alive.

In the morning, the family left the city
for afternoon snow-
it was going to snow
they said on the news-
to watch the evergreens turn white.

/ / /

This is a poem I originally wrote in April 2010 for Poetic Asides. I don't think I've posted it before. (I couldn't find it on this blog, even using a search.) I did revise a couple of the stanzas, but otherwise, it is as I originally wrote it.

I submit it in response to the Thirteen Ways of Looking prompt at We Write Poems. This is an idea I've used before. I learned it from Susan Sibbet, a poet who comes to my school from California Poets in the Schools. But I'm glad that Margo suggested it for all of us.

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