Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunday Morning Poetry

True Story
In Berkeley, I walked in gloom,
As if I had eaten a bowl of ashes, with ash milk,
With a spoonful of sugary ash.
I walked until my body began to crumble,
And a Volkswagen beetle, a rag-top,
Chugged up the hill, also made of ash,
With daffodils in these homely yards of ash...

Like a prophet, the driver had long hair and a beard,
And his companion in the passenger seat
Was a dog eating an apple, turning it over in its teeth
To get all sides, the entire world of sweetness.
When the dog viewed me from the corners
Of his eyes, I couldn't help but touch my heart.
I was grateful that I lived in his consciousness,
Even these brief seconds, which, in dog time,
Is something like twenty minutes in human time.
The blink of his eyelashes blew away the ashes,
Blew away my gloom.

The Volkswagen popped black exhaust,
Rattled up the street. In my happiness,
I went home and lay on the couch, hands behind my head.
I ate an apple, rotating it to get all sides
By juggling it in my teeth,
And thought, yes, this is a dog's life devoured
To its core and three seeds.
~ Gary Soto

Vintage image spotted here.


Debby said...

Beautiful story and picture. There is something "happy" about those VW Bugs. I have a green one and feel happy just driving it.

Suz said...

Relyn, Oh Gary Soto!

I loved how this poem stopped me at the line:
When the dog viewed me from the corners of his eyes, I couldn't help but touch my heart
..I had to reread it..was confused by the word order..maybe you typed it wrong..should say but HE touched my heart..but no
Oh I love poets and the way every word counts and is a bearer of emotional or visual weight
Re read it I said ..and then it opened up to me
I couldn't help but touch MY HEART
Oh yes,,,I get it..funny how i stopped at the line that was so when this happens
Great choice of poem
OH and how he repeats ashes...oh this poem

HKatz said...

For me the poem picked up in the second stanza, at that image of the dog:
Was a dog eating an apple, turning it over in its teeth
To get all sides, the entire world of sweetness.

(and I think actually that the heart of the poem is right there in that second part - the other stanzas seemed to just slide past, but that one stuck.)

It reminds me of how a contented moment can come from small things - when for a minute our whole world becomes a delicious apple, or something else that we attend to that our eyes ordinarily just slide over when we're busy and anxious. And I like how he considers the dog's POV, what he must look like in that creature's eyes, considered and regarded.

HKatz said...

Forgot to add - that's a really fun photo.

Jaime said...

I'm with HKatz.....those two lines are so wonderful. Don't you just love what people can do with words? Sometimes I think that the english language just doesn't have enough words, that we have used all of them over and over again so many times that how could we possibly do anything original with them anymore....and then you read a poem like this, where the words are so perfectly blended together...poetry is such a beautiful form of expression.

And you Relyn...I wanted to come and thank you so much for taking the time to visit, not only my blog but my new site. Your comments felt as though I received a great big hug from you. Thank you so much for being there...for always being there. You are so thoughtful.

much love xo

Meri said...

I missed coming to visit while I was in Italy. It's funny how cut off you can feel when you can't visit friends and are traveling alone. I shall have to linger a while and see what I've missed.

Marilyn said...

The poem reminds me of a time gone by when I lived with the flower children in San Francisco.

smith kaich jones said...

What magic in an apple and written words and I pretty much loved it all, loved the picture it painted, loved the brief seconds being maybe 20 minutes in human time. Loved it!


Christina said...

the poem, the photo, it all fits so perfectly, on this sunday.

jynene said...

...i've been listening to your playlist. i adore that you have the "Anne" music. i recognized it immediatly. enjoying!

dutchbaby said...

I immediately had the image of Ashby street in Berkeley, but then got swept inside that car, thinking about how the dog rolled the apple. Did the narrator copy the dog's style?

Jeanie said...

What a fabulous illustration! You?

Oldies, but Goodies