Two Poems by Cass Dalglish
sometimes I think I ought to call you the Queen of the May –
the way you toss light, like yellow dandelions out of a basket,
here and there; or maybe I should call you god, the way
you’ve wrapped the laws of heaven and earth around your waist
like a belt, the way you skim over chaos like a quicksilver river.
But I call you Sister because you’re like the rest of us, opening
like a pale morning, swelling like a storm, clutching the torch
of longing to your breast until you feel life at your throat, until
you’re all dressed up in flames. Sweet Sister, you know it
all. A woman’s desire is deep, and you’re the measure of it.
* * *
You play the evening rain like a sacred harp
plucking sighs, striking close, weeping for the heroes. It’s you
in the roar of the storm, your thunder echoing from every corner,
you flooding over the people, soaking them in the earth. You open
a pocket for air, then you fill the people’s gasps with rain.
And this storm is no quick bath; the land will be mud; the soil
will be worm eaten. And then you’ll lift your restless feet and slip back
into the sky with the troubled breezes. You’ll share their impatience,
you’ll fly here and there with the furious and splendid winds until
your storm has conquered everything, until – like a singer humming
the blues – you moan twice, quietly at first, as though your voice were
shackled, then loud and brilliant, tinged with the sound of horns,
filled half with laughter, half with sorrow.
Both poems from Humming the Blues (Calyx Books, 2008); both used by permission of the author.