Saturday, December 8, 2007

Looking up

This is my mom when she was 16. She grew up in
Waban, Massachussetts.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Liz Southwood at 16 in New England

This is my mom when she was 16.

Tea Time

//tea time

Teatime, rain pours on roof,
lit lamps reflect in crystal bowl
hugging pomegranites,
persimmons, which also glow
like a bowl of embers by the green tea,
the Imari plate with chocolate chip cookie.

New Dress

//new dress

You should look like a poet,
wherever you go,
I read somewhere
in a book of
advice to poets.
How do poets dress?
I do not know.
In a black velvet beret
and flowing white silk blouse,
Usually I go to three or so
stores, try on
a few dresses,
decide my jeans
and silver earrings
will do after all.
stepping off a store escalator,
I saw a plain and simple dress.
It was my size,
it was my blue,
my length,
my material,
unpressed linen.
I fell in love
and put it on.
Three salesladies
“It’s your color.”
“It fits you perfectly.”
“It looks wonderful.”
It’s true.
I feel like a poet,
in my dress of linen, blue.

My Recorder Choir

//my recorder choir

Early Hints of Heaven

The recorder music we play is so heavenly -

Ancient church music like Pachelbel’s “Canon in D.”

Wearing bleached surplices over black cassocks we glance

Between our music and the choir leader’s hands which dance

The time. My hands start to shake when I begin to play

But calm down as I am suddenly carried away

And am caught up in the melodic musical wave

As our recorders’ birdsongs swell, sweet pipes, through the nave.

And the music seems to have been already there

As if waiting for us to pluck it from the air.


//hurt working on
Yesterday, we four,
who’ve lunched
regularly for years,
met in a chic French restaurant,
charming with tiny lamps,
a vast mahogany armoire.
Over the doorways
were dried flowers
dyed scarlet and French-ultramarine blue,
arranged into Seurat-like parasols,
frothing with shiny white ribbons.
Through the doorway to the kitchen
I glimpsed gleaming copper pots,
from which delicious fragrances flew.
In a half hour or so
the small, tres agreable French waiter
produced three bries en flaky croute,
a muddy green, fresh vegetable soup,
chewy bread and an immense salad.

We four old friends
talk each other through life’s hurts,
the latest, newly diagnosed breast cancer,
Stage 2.
Earrings and three wedding rings flashing,
one sips wine, the rest drink water.
We do not dwell
on old losses,
but coo gently,
soothingly, trying
to HELP her deal
with this new problem.
Hearts aching,
we offer dinners,
to the doctor.



In a bleak moment of despair,
as prayers rise like doves in the air,
and of rushing wings, you’re aware,
then hope’s suddenly everywhere.