A Day at the Pond Without Geese
A good day for late wildflowers--daisies and burrs
leaned out into the path for a better view, brilliant
blue somethings with tiny blooms on tall stalks.
A good day for a young dog's yapping, the splish
of a muskrat, thin gold of poplar leaves screening
the low sun. At the end of a lush summer, not much
has changed. The latest suicide bomber was nearly
done with law school. The enemy shot her brother.
Afterwards her head was found on the floor
of the restaurant in Haifa, black hair still flowing.
Like most men in such times, I want to give advice.
The pond is pretty in its small way, trees still green,
a bank of cattails, water echoing blurry greens and sky,
for once no geese to harry and complicate things.
Two quiet wrens, that dog yelping stupidly,
and a crow way off to the east. Like most men,
I think I'm smarter than most men. I dream of women
even when I'm awake. If I sit long enough, the trees
or the water will surely tell me something. A woman
passes, explaining to her cell phone as she walks.
As far as I can see, everything is calm as Eden.
Her black hair, flowing like the night.
- Jeff Gundy
From Spoken among the Trees (Akron, 2007).
Used by permission.
Jeff Gundy's eight books of poetry and prose include Spoken among the Trees (Akron, 2007), Deerflies (WordTech Editions, 2004), and Scattering Point: The World in a Mennonite Eye (SUNY, 2003). He teaches at Bluffton University, and was a 2008 Fulbright lecturer in American Studies at the University of Salzburg.
Gundy appeared on the panel "The Peace Shelves: Essential Books and Poems for the 21st Century" during Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness 2010.
Monday, October 4, 2010
Jeff Gundy's "A Day at the Pond Without Geese"
Jeff Gundy's wily poems have the echoes of the ancient Chinese poets, who were living in their own empire--full of taut observations of the natural world, of the world of human desire, and of the worlds outside the safer worlds of the poet's "pond without geese."