Friday, April 11, 2008

Poetry Friday

I was looking for a poem about sunflowers because it is April 11, and we have a Winter Storm Warning in Minnesota (six months of winter and counting), and spring break is gone, and testing begins next week. Yesterday, as the sleet shot at my windscreen, and the windshield wipers worked overtime, I tried to describe a field of sunflowers in France to my daughter.
Anyway, as you will see, I did not find that poem this time (though some of you may be able to point me in the right direction). I was intrigued by this title. Mostly because doing laundry reminds me of my mother, who loves nothing better than to hang white cotton sheets out to dry on the line on a windy day. This may be a well known poem but it is my first encounter and I am warmed by it. So many beautiful images. But best of all, the last two lines describes what I would like to be able to do.
Roundup is at A Wrung Sponge


Doing Laundry on Sunday
by Brigit Pegeen Kelly

So this is the Sabbath, the stillness
in the garden, magnolia
bells drying damp petticoats

over the porch rail, while bicycle
wheels thrum and the full-breasted tulips
open their pink blouses

for the hands that pressed them first
as bulbs into the earth.
Bread, too, cools on the sill,

and finches scatter bees
by the Shell Station where a boy
in blue denim watches oil

spread in phosphorescent scarves
over the cement. He dips
his brush into a bucket and begins

to scrub, making slow circles
and stopping to splash water on the children
who, hours before it opens,

juggle bean bags outside Gantsy’s
Ice Cream Parlor,
while they wait for color to drench their tongues,

as I wait for water to bloom
behind me—white foam, as of magnolias,
as of green and yellow

birds bathing in leaves—wait,
as always, for the day, like bread, to rise
and, with movement

imperceptible, accomplish everything.

6 comments:

writer2b said...

This is my first encounter with this poem, too. I agree with you, beautiful. There's a quiet strength all through it.

(My mother-in-law told me once that if she could afford one luxury, she'd hire someone to wash her sheets every day and hang them out on the line, just for the smell.)

Sara said...

Never seen this before either. A great progression of stanzas---as if she were hanging each image out on the line for you to admire. So lovely.

jama said...

Lovely poem! So glad you featured it. Great images.

TadMack said...

Oh my word, this is beautiful. The Sabbath, the bread, the breasted tulips, the scarves of iridescent oil, the birds, and then the bread again... and the laundry just fades in the beauty of the rest of the day. I really love that.

Cloudscome said...

I don't remember reading this before but I am completely taken with it today!

"wait for color to drench their tongues"

Ooo la la. I am all about that kind of waiting. Every part of this poem celebrates!

Mary Lee said...

Minnesota really is getting slammed by winter this year. Makes you wonder a little about global warming. Must have passed you by. Send a little of your weather to the glaciers, please.

Your poem is a lovely antidote for your weather.