Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry: Burning in the Rain
Edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine Poet Laureate
Since January is a month for new year’s resolutions, we begin 2014 with a poem by Richard Blanco of Bethel about a resolution.
Burning in the Rain by Richard Blanco
Someday compassion would demand I set myself free of my desire to recreate my father, indulge in my mother's losses, strangle lovers with words, forcing them to confess for me and take the blame. Today was that day: I tossed them, sheet by sheet on the patio and gathered them into a pyre. I wanted to let them go in a blaze, tiny white dwarfs imploding beside the azaleas and ficus bushes, let them crackle, burst like winged seeds, let them smolder into gossamer embers -- a thousand gray butterflies in the wind. Today was that day, but it rained, kept raining. Instead of fire, water -- drops knocking on doors, wetting windows into mirrors reflecting me in the oaks. The garden walls and stones swelling into ghostlier shades of themselves, the wind chimes giggling in the storm, a coffee cup left overflowing with rain. Instead of burning, my pages turned into water lilies floating over puddles, then tiny white cliffs as the sun set, finally drying all night under the moon into papier-mâché souvenirs. Today the rain would not let their lives burn.
Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2012 by Richard Blanco. Reprinted from Looking for the Gulf Motel, University of Pittsburgh Press, 2012, by permission of Richard Blanco. Questions about submitting to Take Heart may be directed to Gibson Fay-LeBlanc, Special Consultant to the Maine Poet Laureate, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-228-8263. Take Heart: Poems from Maine, an anthology collecting the first two years of this column, is now available from Down East Books.