by What Light: Linda Back McKay
September 3, 2008
This week's poem, "The Times Were Not Much Different When" by Linda Back McKay was selected by poet Carol Muske-Dukes.
THE TIMES WERE NOT MUCH DIFFERENT WHEN
I was more of what I am, with all the sorrow.
I was what I saw in the pond and the pond
was gravely literal. It insinuated itself into my
dream. I dreamed of my grandson
as the night slid away and the sky
lightened and memory faded with the stars.
Here is some of what I was and with the sorrow
as he learns his colors and letters. Soon
he will examine cells under a microscope
and familiarize himself with a motherboard.
He may have what I never had. Scaffolding,
infrastructure, blueprints to navigate
a mountain range. He already knows
he will really be something. I know
shades of orange and gold and the star
above him. Now and then someone persuades
the sun, like an old-fashioned parasol,
to close and fold itself behind a muff of clouds.
The times were not much different when
I decided to turn here instead of going there.
When his turn comes, he will pop the top
and let loose the fireflies.
Poetry is a wild pony refusing to be tamed. Poetry is a generous mountain grandfather, an evocative smell, the sight of an eagle, the taste of earth. I write to make sense of things. I write the way I ride motorcycle -- into the fear and through to the other side.
Linda Back McKay
is a poet, author and teaching artist. Her latest poetry collection, The Cockeyed Precision of Time,
along with her other books and information, can be found on her website