The Family is All There is

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April is National Poetry Month, and I plan to post one poem per day, every day, this month (If you have a favorite poem that you'd like me to share, feel free to email it to me). Today's poem was suggested by my friend, Professor of Poetry at KSU, Elizabeth Dodd.

The Family Is All There Is

Think of those old, enduring connections
found in all flesh -- the channeling
wires and threads, vacuoles, granules,
plasma and pods, purple veins, ascending
boles and coral sapwood (sugar-
and light-filled), those common ligaments,
filaments, fibers and canals.

Seminal to all kin also is the open
mouth--in heart urchin and octopus belly,
in catfish, moonfish, forest lily,
and rugosa rose, in thirsty magpie,
wailing cat cub, barker, yodeler,
yawning coati.

And there is a pervasive clasping
common to the clan -- the hard nails
of lichen and ivy sucker
on the church wall, the bean tendril
and the taproot, the bolted coupling
of crane flies, the hold of the shearwater
on its morning squid, guanine
to cytosine, adenine to thymine,
fingers around fingers, the grip
of the voice on presence, the grasp
of the self on place.

Remember the same hair on pygmy
dormouse and yellow-necked caterpillar,
covering red baboon, thistle seed
and willow herb? Remember the similar
snorts of warthog, walrus, male moose
and sumo wrestler? Remember the familiar
whinny and shimmer found in river birches,
bay mares and bullfrog tadpoles,
in children playing at shoulder tag
on a summer lawn?

The family -- weavers, reachers, winders
and connivers, pumpers, runners, air
and bubble riders, rock-sitters, wave-gliders,
wire-wobblers, soothers, flagellators -- all
brothers, sisters, all there is.

Name something else.

-- Pattiann Rogers, Splitting and Binding (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press; 1989).

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Thank you, G/S, for making me aware of this poem.

By biosparite (not verified) on 02 Apr 2008 #permalink