Monday 9 May 2022

Four Poems by Sara Clancy


Driving to Music in Philly, 1970

 for Bill

The things I mean to tell you
you already know. You took that turn
down the West River Drive a hundred times
and can still see those three angels dancing
to some stone melody in their fairy ring.

On that road you'd keep your cool
better than I could when, say, a powder blue
El Dorado with gemstone windows
and Jersey plates cut you off at the intro
to Ticket to Ride. My talent was anticipating
the clunks in your 8-track tapes.

I'd slam home the white plastic brick
that was Let It Bleed, light a Lucky
from the passenger seat of your Cougar
flashing down the passing lane
of the Schuylkill Expressway on the way
to Earth Day at Robin Hood Dell.

I won't forget a single song.

Fifty years later we pulled our ten
favourite Beatles tunes out of the liquid
past and let them float across
the internet, joining and overtaking
each other like lanterns
on a creek by the highway.

Wait, you forgot Help!
Help, I forgot Wait.



Poem for a Misunderstood Cat


The medieval woodcut is not a slander,
its stylized cat reaching into an open cage
hoping to nourish its malevolence
on the glimmer of a bird inside. My tabby
is not quite its opposite but has lost
the imperative for malice in the parody
of an easy life. Her round-eyed wonder
might pass for good will in the moment
before she is startled back to her true nature.
My arm, the bird. My cage, her caprice.
My soul, hers.



She's not all there


they often tell me.
Sometimes in kindness
to temper expectation,
but in frustration, too,
as if naming the bird
at her feeder is worth more
than recalling its red
against winter.

I believe she is whole
despite what we think
has failed, that value does not
only live in the lost linear
arc of her memory, but also
in the surprising curl
of its flights.

So I will honour
the coffee ice cream
she liked today,
the way she still feeds
her dog under the table,
that she hums along
to any tune.



If I wanted to block out the world tonight


I would fashion a room
like a fairy tale brook that would ebb
over worry, then wade
into its current.

I would close the back door against
each new outrage and fill the whole house
with the testimony of Turkish coffee
and a charm of challah bread.

I would let the terrier sleep
on the furniture and the cat
track chickadees from the glass
kitchen door.

I would remember to leave
a leather bound locked door mystery
splayed spine up on the cherry table
by the couch.

I would light the rooms with oil lamps
throw a sprig of sage in the woodstove
and fill the whole bay window
with falling snow.

By Sara Clancy 


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