Saturday, August 16, 2014

Chiaroscuro, a poem


Out on Peanut Road the trucks are rolling,
rumbling, basso continuo in the dark.

Dawn is half an hour away and the dogs
are eager for me to fill their bowls. They hear

the musics of the morning, mist-diffused,
rise from these fields, dewed webs of night time humming,

pulsing, pianissimo in tremulous
resonance, in tensions of light and dark.

The sun will sing its way into the day
as every voice of dawn joins in the chorus,

cardinal and mocking bird take up
the tune, rising, rising, on the stillness

to skies of promise. I am hidden here,
in chiaroscuro of my own hand,

the semblance of a man rapt in his shadows.
Fog and trees obscure the light of headlamps;

soon, those who hurry to a job somewhere
will be on the road, and tractors making

their way to fields of cotton or of peanuts.
Whether they spread poison or fertilizer

this day, I do not know. Sometimes both
at once, life and death together sprayed

up and down the rows, the farmer a god
handing out salvation and damnation

to those below his wheels. When the sun
has burnt away the mist, where shall we hide?

Out on Peanut Road, the traffic murmurs
of morning. There is coffee in the kitchen.

Stephen Brooke ©2014

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