On her blog, New Jersey poet Adele Kenny has challenged her readers to write a weather poem. Kenny writes, “We don’t have to be meteorologists to have an interest in the weather, and we all talk about the weather often enough (for some, it may be the easiest topic of conversation). Weather certainly happens to all of us, making it something that all people have in common. Weather may not be the only determinant for our emotions and moods, but it does seem to play a role, and it really can affect our thoughts and productivity. People who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) experience moods very strongly associated with the weather. Think about it: how do you feel on a rainy day, on a sunny day, on a snowy day, and when severe weather is in the forecast?
This year there has been an abundance of rain in my corner of the world. A hot, humid summer, and days of rain again this week with unseasonably warm temps, and high humidity (just as I was ready for some crisp, clear autumn air). With global warming, hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods so often in the news, I thought it might be interesting to write about weather conditions and how they make us feel. Extending that thought, I wondered how we might use “weather” to write poems that go beyond the obvious. That’s this week’s challenge!”
Here’s my answer to that challenge. My poem, not particularly focused on any element of weather, is weather infused. Kind of, anyway.
And all the days of Methuselah
were nine hundred and sixty nine years,
and he died.
Methuselah knew how to build a good fire,
how to scrape the scales
off a trout without bruising its flesh,
and to rise as the sun spilt
over eastern hills
because dawn was the best time
to grapple with the grief of dead sons.
Methuselah avoided stepping on ants,
understood the worth of a thick beard.
His memory pocketed friends
like specks of jasper and gypsum.
He polished them at twilight
recalling the strength of their handshakes,
the slant of their smiles.
He knew to sit patiently on tree stumps
amidst the birch and sycamores,
to munch on almonds and peer
through the wood waiting
for tomorrow to cover him like moss.
Slow and silent.
Lost to the world.
At ease with his ghosts.
Perhaps tonight, I’ll take off my shoes,
let the backyard grass seal
the gaps between my toes,
hum a song I’ve never heard,
and toss acorns at the moon.