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.
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.