A Nearly Perfect Morning

Jessica Greenbaum on

Published in Poem Of The Day

It was a nearly perfect morning-bucolic, pastoral-
so I found myself cataloguing my past humiliations.
Really, there was no reason for it! I might as well have
looked for an ant hill to lie down on in a meadow
of goldenrod. I can't explain it but perhaps I thought
that with the rising sun as my witness, with the catbirds
crows, and whizzing hummingbirds my soundtrack
that I could ameliorate them, neutralize their charges
against me by holding them up to the woods now in wait
for the light to balance on their individual leaves, on
the absorbing vastness of my fortune. The concentric rings
of the spider web have the wiry shine of guitar strings
there's been so little wind it seems the trees have not
yet shook themselves awake, but we are moving around
this light at such a pace that by now the sun is nested
in the crook of two thin branches that could not hold
anything else. I was barely up to the third count
against my integrity when the whole lake turned white
but I decided it was not aghast, just trying to erase.

About this poem
"It's funny what good fortune does in the wrong mind! I mean, I try to catch myself when I'm giving my own good? luck short shrift. The poem falls in that category of my preoccupation in poems (and not in poems) with the relativity of sorrow and how to find a place for it. I'm thinking of the stellar, oft-cited poem by Jack Gilbert, 'A Brief for the Defense,' in which (to be crassly reductive) he talks about the need to genuinely praise delight so that the depth of real suffering has its own integrity. How does the luxury of serene beauty-a commodity so out of reach for so many-sometimes serve as a backdrop for our self-destructive, fortune-destructive tendencies? And how can we manipulate that? How can we interpret our contextual surroundings in order to best respect the richness of what we have in the world and in ourselves? And then, how to complain?"
-Jessica Greenbaum

About Jessica Greenbaum

The Academy of American Poets is a nonprofit, mission-driven organization, whose aim is to make poetry available to a wider audience. Email The Academy at poem-a-day[at]poets.org.

(c) 2015 Jessica Greenbaum. Originally published by the Academy of American Poets, www.poets.org. Distributed by King Features Syndicate




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