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November 8, 2008 The New School, New York City From the Academy Audio Archive

About this poet

Cecily Parks is the author of the poetry collections O'Nights (Alice James Books, 2015) and Field Folly Snow (University of Georgia Press, 2008) and the editor of The Echoing Green: Poems of Fields, Meadows, and Grasses (Everyman's Library, 2016). She teaches in the MFA program in creative writing at Texas State University.

How from Politeness to the Trees

Solstice dabbles behind the hills, whitefire at the horizon well into what should be evening, well into after, meting out to what should be the privacy of night illumination enough to fray the sky.   

Black wings snuff out the owlish air in the cottonwood’s elephant silhouette, readying a backlit section of branches for the wind’s beckoning, the shush of each restacking wing not an endearment exactly, but close.

The one track mind combs the mown meadow for the word bristling beneath cut tongues of grass, which is the word of the scavenging animal whose prayer is most like the light’s gestures on the seventh longest day of the century’s seventh year, which undo themselves expertly.

Lightning precedes thunder the way the river precedes stone through untrammeled channels of interface, visitors and visiteds and the rain, pricking.

To the voice that calls in the woods, Come back, I’ll throw the stone you whimpered for, the animal demurs, is perfection, is diminishing, does not pause to look back.

This earth-in-paragraph recovers its fathomlessness subsequent to jackknifing grass.

Copyright © 2008 by Cecily Parks. “How from Politeness to the Trees” originally appeared in Field Folly Snow (University of Georgia Press, 2008). Used with permission of the author.

 

Copyright © 2008 by Cecily Parks. “How from Politeness to the Trees” originally appeared in Field Folly Snow (University of Georgia Press, 2008). Used with permission of the author.

 

Cecily Parks

Cecily Parks

Cecily Parks is the author of the poetry collections O'Nights (Alice James Books, 2015) and Field Folly Snow (University of Georgia Press, 2008) and the editor of The Echoing Green: Poems of Fields, Meadows, and Grasses (Everyman's Library, 2016). She teaches in the MFA program in creative writing at Texas State University.

by this poet

poem

The grackles plummet down to pierce the lawn

For seeds and fat brown live oak acorns and

Ignore the orange plastic watering cans

My daughters drop in the cold grass, my daughters

Saying, Goodnight grass, as if the blades they’d watered

By hand were their daughters, as if the grass

poem

            Fort Bonneville, Wyoming

Along the highway there’s a place
where nothing’s left: suggestive mounds of dirt,
a marker to commemorate abandon

inside this elbow of the Green. Bristly
cottonwoods abound in serpentine, bound
by water to the banks their roots uphold—

2
poem

Stone path, oat grass, stray cat, snare,
feather drift in feather air.
Laurel, anthill, train horn blare,
pecan shell shards on the stair.
One cat gnaws,
one wing tears.
Less song for the power line to bear.
Coo-OO-oo she sang, my dear.