Saturday, March 5, 2011

Two Poems by NANCY SIMPSON from Living Above the Frost Line

Water On the Highway
Water on the pavement moves before me,
Witch Water, I say, as though some sorceress waits
snapping her crooked fingers to make it disappear.
It is real I tell you. It evaporates,
or seems to, and it is always there.
Last night a friend talked about going home,
the roadmap she followed, the bridge she had to cross.
As I listened, I studied her words on paper
describing a house with stained glass windows,
a wicker chair, her father’s face.  I want to believe
poets who say this is the way home, who go and come
traveling lines as concrete and safe as any interstate.
The sun is hot today and my map is marked, open.
I drive home, knowing as I go,
I will have to cross water to get there.

Previously published in The Georgia Review
Reprinted in Living Above the Frost Line
New and Selected Poems, the first book by 
Carolina Wren in their laureate series.

We ought to be thankful it grows wild
on road banks, sometimes blond and curled.
It holds earth together and still,
we hear Earth is falling.
Sink holes in the south swallow cars.
We do not doubt, but can we help wonder
what happens when the bottom drops?
Maybe clumps fall with the Jeep
and the Porsche, forming the shoreline
of a lake in some post suburb.
Grass has a right to be cherished,
Crowning Glory, clipped to perfection.
No matter where we sleep we live
with threat hanging over our lawns.
Who says we need more weapons?
We want to know what will happen to grass,
grass everywhere, amber savannahs,
sacred as the hair on our heads.

Previously published in Southern Poetry Review,
reprinted in SPR 50th Anniversary Anthology
Don't Leave Hungry and reprinted in
Living Above the Frost Line, New and Selected Poems.

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Glenda Beall said...

I have always loved both of these poems, Nancy. They are well loved and well published. I'm glad they are included in Living Above the Frost Line, your terrific book.

Nancy Simpson said...

Thanks for the comment Glenda. I appreciate it.

Joan Ellen Gage said...

I enjoyed these two poems, Nancy. I had not heard of witch water before.

I do agree we cherish our grasses.

Anonymous said...

Nancy, I was reading your book last night before I went to sleep. Your poems are the kind that I don't tire of. Just wanted to stop by and say, "Hello."
All the best, Glenda Barrett

Nancy Simpson said...

Thanks to Joan Ellen and Glenda Barrett for stopping by.