Literary Hook: A poem for New Year’s

Happy New Year! It has been a pleasure writing and editing “Literary Hook” for all of 2006. Plans for 2007 include a focus on “green” issues, and other peace and social justice issues as seen through poetry and prose, as well as publishing the remaining pieces from last year’s Rock River Poetry and Prose Contest. As usual, literary events and contests will continue to be printed.

I would like to begin this year with a poem I wrote five years ago. After seeing Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, as well as exploring the numerous excellent organizations dedicated to helping planet Earth, I am compelled to share work I have written about these issues.

January Rain, 2002

Zen rain on cedar shingles.

January in the Midwest.

Winter has not yet come

With its down comforter of snow,

Its peace like a pleasant dream

Piped on a clear, cold night under Antares.

Rain scratching its talons

On the skylight, where an ash

Small as a cabbage moth lands.

No one, not even the cat

Craning to see it from above,

Knows what this renegade filigree

Might be, blown in from the Northeast.

Perhaps it is the heart of a computer wizard

Cremated in a stairwell on September 11.

Is this too morbid? Then let’s talk

Of the gibbous moon last November,

How it drooped like a storm cloud,

The way you feel when the blues

Blows its bitter wind against your temple.

It’s raining in January.

A wise man returns from his morning walk

With rain on his boots

And a mouth like a waning moon.

Seeing his frown, his wife asks, “What’s wrong?”

“Global warming,” he says. “If you look deeply,

you will see Illinois turning into Mississippi.”

That’s how the blues hits

This January when it’s raining,

Here in the kitchen,

Where you slice an apple in half

To find a perfect starburst of seeds.

Christine Swanberg is a local poet. Her “Literary Hook” column appears every week.

From the Dec. 27 2006-Jan. 2, 2007, issue

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