Friday, April 3, 2009

The Toad Mother and the Cemetery:

The Toad Mother and the Cemetery:

Last night on a tv documentary
About the amazon I saw
One of those toads that lays eggs
On its own back. The skin grows
Over them, and then, after telling this
They showed the toadlets emerging
From the holes, their tiny fingers
Splayed in the first water.

So it is with the graves
On Dutton Hill – we put them in
And the grass grows, like a skin
Until the green is smooth as a back,
And just
so
the larval ghosts emerge, waving their
new spectral fingers and toes
in the ether of thought, darting out
of their snug holes
into an amazon of time.

They buried Mary first. It must be a
Strange sensation to begin a cemetery - climbing
A slope and knowing, by some occult art,
That this is the spot to break the turf,
To start the nursery of the dead, all raw with grief,
Or, and usually, relief, when the strength of the body
Outlasts the mind, and nature’s force
Shows its hand.

I needed some watercress, and that
Was an excuse
To descend again, down the flank
Of the hill, to the hidden hollow
Where they lived. I found the feathers
Of a crow, and of an owl,
Crouched in a ditch
By the remains of their wall, and sang
To myself, or to them, as though
The murmur might
Also penetrate the skin
Of the past they’re now living in.

Oh grandparents
That I never knew, the wild plums
Are still blooming
And the creek flows on. Clouds, of
A strange azure
Brood overhead, full of amphibious
Drops, eager to leap down
And hop across the sod.
Can you hear me there,
Inside your pods? Are these
Delicate tendrils,
Poking from the mold,
Your new hands?

8 comments:

Kim said...

so touching . . . and oddly comforting.

Mary Beth said...

Thank you for healing magic.

William said...

What are you smoking?

Dan Dutton said...

Hee! No smoke without fire.

Spend a year working on "You'll Always Come Back" & you'll need no extra hallucinogen! (I hope the performances will be as potent.)

Apifera Farm said...

I love the last stanza. I've always been drawn to cemetaries even as a child. While I don't want my body buried, I find that as a human having a place to go, or know where someone is buried, comforting. The process of 'starting' the family plot is interesting too. I wish my Dad were buried here. I scattered some of his ashes in the rogosas, and around Ward 's and Pumpkinheads graves, so it helps. It's true, when the tiniest tendril comes up, they are entwined in it. This is a beuatiful poem, Dan.

Dan Dutton said...

Thanks K.! I think maybe we talked about this a little when I was at your place, or it seems like we did. The more I've started to learn about my ancestors, the closer to them I feel, & it is comforting that they are in a certain place - like the center of an axis of a certain thought.

Nancy said...

David wound my Daddy's watch the other day, and it started to tick, and immediately I felt Dad prescene with me.

Dan Dutton said...

I think that sometimes objects and places, evoke the imagination of a person as strongly, or stronger, than the living person did - maybe because they contain the seed of the sum of parts.