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Gray Jacobik Celebrates Spring

Hartford Courant

This month's poems by Gray Jacobik celebrate the publication of her 10th book, "The Banquet: New & Selected Poems." Like many of her earlier books, it has won an important award, in this case The William Meredith Award for Poetry. Poems from the new book presented here in honor of the spring equinox, demonstrate a unique ability to combine sensual abundance with luminous spirituality. Jacobik lives in Deep River.

— Rennie McQuilkin, CT Poet Laureate


Before breakfast I pick about thirty, and,

for the kitchen table, toss them in a short

aqua vase: white blooms with large

white cups, yellow with short orange cups,

and four other kinds that, like women's

bras, come in various shades and cup sizes.

The name comes from asphodel, those

small white harbingers of spring

the Greeks planted on graves. They

thought the dead liked to eat them,

but this small lily originates in Wales

where Saint David, conceived through

rape, was born on a cliff top in a violent

storm. He founded an order of monks

whose first rule was that they must pull

the plough themselves, without the aid

of draught animals. The daffodil is

David's flower, the national flower of Wales,

where wilted daffs are worn on lapels

March 1st, Saint David's Day –– these earth-

crowded winter survivors, bright light-

tossers, first throb of the resurrected garden.

Prayer For A Late Spring

Let wasp nests hang from their flexible filament

as delicate as an optic nerve.

May the susurrus buzz of the bees sail over

my windowsill, but not the bees themselves.

Let ants circle about and not enter baseboards.

May tulip petals drop to the ground

like red and orange dories put to sea.

Let dandelion puffs that whiten the air

find fertile resting places.

Let iris bloom and lily-of-the-valley.

Before they are slaughtered, let the veal calves

drag their small plastic hovels

across the muddy fields, a migration

of a mournful horde; let them

drink from their mothers' udders once more.

Let the rabbit the cat decapitated freeze

in perfect profile in the tall

tender grasses of heaven.

Let Connie's mother plant forget-me-nots

around the base of Connie's magnolia tree.

I am waiting for a steady perfection. It has

almost come into view.

Let my ancestors speak to me when I step outside

to listen to the peepers.

Let them say what the long-buried always say

about rebirth and life everlasting.

Let me be ready to hear their voices. Let me pray.

Partly Sunny

One second shadows of trees vein the field,

whirl into invisibility the next. The day is

mottled as a thrush's belly, snow melting

quickly to a rush of spring. Surveyors

are out brandishing the orange plastic tape

they tie around trunks and twigs or double

over and nail to stakes. Cans of orange

spray paint dangle from their belts.

More houses, I suppose, a new road

to service them, and I can see summer's

going to stumble drunken with noise,

trucks and heavy equipment rattling

the road, weaving commotion through

my garden's latticed sleeves. Oh well.

Disruption, interruption, progress to swell

a scene. If only the lulls in things would

grow, and the harried craziness of daily life

dry into dust the wind lifts and carries

long distances. Where is the omphalos

of the universe that I might sleep there

curled on a stone spiral, migrating with

the blessing of the gods to a quieter world?

Where is berry-shine among tall ferns?

A downpour that encases one in glass?

Copyright © 2016 by Gray Jacobik

CT Poet Laureate Rennie McQuilkin selects work for CT Poet's Corner by invitation.

Copyright © 2018, CT Now