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26 SEPTEMBER 2016

Here is an early draft of the poem I’m composing for the Breathing These Words project affiliated with Breathing Lights.

I’ll be revising this poem until November 4th, when I’ll read it aloud on the streets of Albany, New York, the city in which I live.

I structured this poem with sturdy, utilitarian, four-line stanzas in order to create in readers and listeners a sensation of stability and proportion — desirable qualities of houses and other buildings that have been skillfully constructed, that will remain standing for a long time.

I’m investing this poem with Spanish-language words and images. I often hear people speaking Spanish in my city’s public library, commercial gym, grocery stores, businesses.

POEM DRAFT

by Therese L. Broderick

DAR LUZ

~ to give birth (literally, to give light)

 

I stand with friends to face the vacant

Threshold at the foot of this front door,

This once-upon-a-time dwelling,

Our tomorrow’s casa con vistas.

 

From an upper window is lullabying

An illumination, bulbs whose soft throats

Pulse bright & dim as if breathing in sync

With the flashing reds of nocturne airplanes

 

Or with the flaring greens of lightning bugs

Who lease the grassy orphan lots stretching

From the Hudson River to the Mohawk,

Sand Creek to the mouth of the Normanskill.

 

I stand with friends to offer this place

My words, las palabras, my voice, la voz

Let us assemble, together, a radiant shrine

To be called Nuestro Santuario:

 

Silver frames that harbor photos or sketches

Of the people who inhabited

These rooms, stairwells, porches, roofs;

Who died in the front parlor, who gave birth

 

To children in a wallpapered third-story

Bedroom. Let us offer a gold-ribbon bow

For every soldier who kissed his mother

Goodbye from this sidewalk; and a vase cut

 

From crystal, or a shiny bottle of brown blown glass,

Filled with tap water and the stemmed

Blossoms of tulips or storm cellar roses—

For every warrior missing in action;

 

Let us set down a notebook of scrawled recipes

For every housewife who had to leave behind

A flaming kitchen, departing too frantically

To rescue her mother’s cookbook;

 

Let us place here a worn wooden toy or rubber ball

For every child who ever yearned to crawl,

Stand, walk, run, skip, hopscotch, or jump over

Ropes held taught by friends living down the block.

 

Let us be quiet, too—un silencio nocturno

Inviting the placid moon, la luna de paz,

Phase by phase to occupy evening’s cradles.

Door wells, window sills, altars, welcome mats.

 

 

 

About ThereseLBroderick

Independent community poet living in Albany, New York USA.

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