- Suspect, 17, charged in Halloween hit-and-run in Roscoe
- Saint Anthony College of Nursing president to retire
- Man found guilty in deadly August 2013 crash at Mulford and Garrett Lane
- ‘The Price is Right Live!’ at Coronado March 1; tickets on sale Nov. 21
- Rockford’s E. Faye Butler to perform at Ten Chimneys in Wisconsin
- Stockholm Inn to be honored by Illinois Office of Tourism
- Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office to be out in force during Thanksgiving holiday
- Wallace co-sponsors bill to increase minimum wage
- Stadelman’s measure to prevent layoffs passes state Senate
- More than 46 million Americans to travel for Thanksgiving, most since 2007
Literary Hook: Poem inspired by an antique store in the great American West
By Christine Swanberg
Author and Poet
In keeping with the theme of the great American West, here is a poem inspired by a painting in an antique store in Port Townsend, Wash.
Sparrows Falling from the Sky
The soprano, whose voice is brilliant
as fire, sings the aria from Madam Butterfly
on the radio in the Port Townsend Antique Store.
The notes build like snow before an avalanche
on Mount Baker across the bay.
This could be heaven, I am thinking
examining the quirky Nippon vases
I have grown fond of: the ardor of their attempts
at European Baroque foiled
by the ever-graceful elongated necks
of snow geese, the calligraphy of stylized trees.
How I love this upstart marriage of East and West.
The aria reaches its zenith when I enter
booth No. 23, a dark cove devoted to things Nippon,
the era before Pearl Harbor,
before the high society ladies scratched off
Nippon from the bottom of tea sets,
delicate and filigreed as small, old hands.
The aria reaches its zenith, which
would have been enough to fog my glasses,
enough to flood my eyes.
There on the wall a strange painting startles me.
It is so topsy-turvy, so incongruous
I am drawn into it —
a cacophony of bird wings, helter-skelter
like a firestorm, in faded red and muddy charcoal.
Birds adrift like autumn leaves!
It reads: Sparrows Falling from the Sky.
Hiroshima. Artist Unknown.
It grips me by the throat — rain on my face.
First published in Out of Line literary journal and The Alleluia Tree, Puddin’head Press.
This poem was first published in Who Walks Among the Trees with Charity, Wind Pubications, 2005.Christine Swanberg is a local author and poet. She received the Lawrence E. Gloyd Community Impact Award at the 2012 Rockford Area Arts Council State of the Arts Awards.
From the Oct. 23-29, 2013, issue