By Scott Cairns
What I notice first within
this rough scene fixed
in memory is the rare
quality of its lightning, as if
those bolts were clipped
from a comic book, pasted
on low cloud, or fashioned
with cardboard, daubed
with gilt then hung overhead
on wire and fine hooks.
What I hear most clearly
within that thunder now
is its grief—a moan, a long
lament echoing, an ache.
And the rain? Raucous enough,
pounding, but oddly
musical, and, well,
eager to entertain, solicitous.
No storm since has been framed
with such matter-of-fact
artifice, nor to such comic
effect. No, the thousand-plus
storms since then have turned
one of them—a numbing burst.
And today, from the west a gust
and a filling pressure
pulsing in the throat—offering
little or nothing to make light of.
Source: Poetry (April 2011)
Scott Cairns was born in Tacoma, Washington. He earned a BA from Western Washington University, an MA from Hollins College, an MFA from Bowling Green State University, and a PhD from the University of Utah. Cairns has taught at numerous universities including University of North Texas, Old Dominion University, and the University of Missouri. He was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship in 2006.
More By This Poet
Possible Answers to Prayer
Your petitions—though they continue to bear
just the one signature—have been duly recorded.
Your anxieties—despite their constant,
relatively narrow scope and inadvertent
entertainment value—nonetheless serve
to bring your person vividly to mind.
Your repentance—all but obscured beneath
a burgeoning, yellow fog of frankly more
conspicuous resentment—is sufficient.
More Poems about Nature
What Women Are Made Of
We are all ventricle, spine, lung, larynx, and gut.
Clavicle and nape, what lies forked in an open palm;
we are follicle and temple. We are ankle, arch,
sole. Pore and rib, pelvis and root
and tongue. We are wishbone and gland and molar
Of Tribulation, these are They,
Denoted by the White.
— Emily Dickinson
in the split geode
a Santa’s grotto
every surface —
like sea urchins’ —
in the doorways
sleepers from the womb
to make of anything succulent