While the Rain Came Down and Your Baggage Rode Your Back

By Annette Marie Hyder

The house was dark and empty
lit only by the flashings of the storm
and I knew that you were getting lost
’cause I am your protector
even now you’re gone.
I wept for your figure disappearing in the storm
while the rain came down
and your bags rode piggy-back.

Parents and defenders didn’t hear my call
as I ran through muddy mazes
to come between your fall
and you — determined to be gone.
Your footprints left their say
in a hurried message on the lawn
while the rain came down
and your bags rode piggy-back.

They rode your shoulders like a child
and I knew that you’d be gone
my sorrow at your going
was that you were not yet ready
for the darkness and the storm.

My sorrow was for you
and for the appearance of a train
while the rain came down
and your bags rode piggy-back.

It could have been the lead car
in a funeral procession
for all the joy it lit the night
despite circus curlicue moldings
and gold glitter painted bars
and you were in it like an animal
settling in its straw
and I wept though I understood
the lure of its draw
while the rain came down
and your bags rode piggy-back.

They rode your shoulders like a child 
and I knew that you’d be gone
my sorrow at your going
was that you were not yet ready
for the darkness and the storm.

The promise of adventure
and the hint of being free
were almost just enough to also get to me
but I saw that there were bars
in front of the stars that were in your eyes
and I couldn’t rattle through the night
in a train-car strewn with lies
while the rain came down
and your bags rode piggy-back.

They rode your shoulders like a child 
and I knew that you’d be gone
my sorrow at your going
was that you were not yet ready
for the darkness and the storm.

I woke like Seger to the sound of thunder
and a cry upon my lips
your image still before me
my heartbeat racing glyphs
with the rain in abeyance
and your bags around my hips.

They sway when I walk

hold me back apace
but I will never give up
on the winning of this race.
I will never give up
on the winning of this race.

Sunday Things: Rain and darkness fall

By Annette Marie Hyder

The rain rides the night’s shoulders
like Puck riding the back of a great owl
that sweeps the sky with the absence of light,
off the moon and covering up the eyes
of all the stars. The shadow of
night’s dark wings falls
while Puck shoots all the arrows he has
and the
feathered raindrops spin
like fishermen’s lures
in the eddying stream
flowing down my window.
pages of the book that I am writing
are paper curtains that I draw
against the dimness
outside the lamp-lit room that is my mind.
But paper loves water, will
drink it thirstily, and I
find myself making curtains into boats
to launch on a rainy sea.

Links of interest:

Character analysis of Shakespear’s Puck
Puck Mythology
Puck (A Midsummer Night’s Dream)

Wind on the Grass

By Annette Marie Hyder

The grass trembles tympanicly
stretched across the ear of the earth
and shakes like a thunder sheet —
the kind used to make sound effects
for old-timey radio shows.
And the grass bows its many heads
then raises them and sings
as the wind whispers accompaniment
and promises seedlings wings.

Natasha Trethewey is named 19th poet laureate of the US

Natasha Trethewey photo courtesy of AP files

The Huffington Post reports that Natasha Tretheway, Emory University Writing Professor has been named the 19th US poet laureate:

“A poet-historian representing a younger generation of writers will soon take office on Capitol Hill, overlooking the politicians in a lesser-known post enshrined in federal law.

The Library of Congress named Natasha Trethewey on Thursday to be its
19th U.S. poet laureate with a mission to share the art of poetry with a
wider audience. The 46-year-
old English and creative writing professor
at Atlanta’s Emory University distinguished herself early, winning the
Pulitzer Prize in 2007.” Read more here.

Are you wondering what a poet laureate does? They are basically poetry ambassadors, liaisons between the ivory tower and the person on the street, between academia and the general public. Here is an overview from Wikipedia:

“Currently, the laureate receives a $35,000 annual stipend; it was originally funded by a gift from Archer M. Huntington. On October 3, 1985, the U.S. Congress passed legislation, authored by Senator Spark M. Matsunaga of Hawaii, to change the title of the position to Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry. The Library keeps to a minimum the specific duties in order to afford
incumbents maximum freedom to work on their own projects while at the
Library. The laureate gives an annual lecture and reading of his or her
poetry and usually introduces poets in the Library’s poetry series, the
oldest in the Washington area and among the oldest in the United States.
This annual series of public poetry and fiction readings, lectures,
symposia, and occasional dramatic performances began in the 1940s.
Collectively the Laureates have brought more than 2,000 poets and
authors to the Library to read for the Archive of Recorded Poetry and

Each consultant has brought a different emphasis to the position. Maxine Kumin started a popular series of poetry workshops for women at the Library of Congress. Gwendolyn Brooks met with elementary school students to encourage them to write poetry. Joseph Brodsky initiated the idea of providing poetry in airports, supermarkets and hotel rooms. Rita Dove, considered the first activist poet laureate, brought together writers to explore the African diaspora through the eyes of its artists, championed children’s poetry and jazz with poetry events and read at the White House during Bill Clinton’s first state dinner. Robert Hass
organized a “Watershed” conference that brought together noted
novelists, poets and storytellers to talk about writing, nature and
community, and co-founded the River of Words K-12 international children’s poetry and art contest. Robert Pinsky initiated the Favorite Poem Project.”

Sample poem by Natasha Trethewey
(you can read more of her poetry here):

Kitchen Maid with Supper at Emmaus, or The Mulata     
by Natasha Trethewey

    —after the painting by Diego Velàzquez, ca. 1619

She is the vessels on the table before her:
the copper pot tipped toward us, the white pitcher
clutched in her hand, the black one edged in red
and upside down. Bent over, she is the mortar
and the pestle at rest in the mortar—still angled
in its posture of use. She is the stack of bowls
and the bulb of garlic beside it, the basket hung
by a nail on the wall and the white cloth bundled
in it, the rag in the foreground recalling her hand.
She’s the stain on the wall the size of her shadow—
the color of blood, the shape of a thumb. She is echo
of Jesus at table, framed in the scene behind her:
his white corona, her white cap. Listening, she leans
into what she knows. Light falls on half her face.

Ray Bradbury dies at 91

Photo courtesy of AP photo file

Ray Bradbury, whose writings are mindfire packaged in elegance, has passed away. An American fantasy, horror, science fiction, and mystery writer, Bradbury lifted those genres to literary heights.

You’ve got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down. — Ray Bradbury

Probably best known for his dystopian novel, Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury opened up worlds of imagination with such writings as The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, and Something Wicked This Way Comes. His works were translated into more than 40 languages and sold tens of
millions of copies around the world. Despite the speculative fiction he wrote, creating new technical and intellectual ideas, he had never driven a car. He was too busy jumping off metaphorical cliffs and building metaphorical wings with which to soar. His wings were dusted with star dust.

R.I.P. Ray Bradbury.

Illustration via stevey.com

Links of interest:

Slate Article
Ray Bradbury Website
R.I.P. Ray Bradbury

Venus in transit: spectacle on high

Brightest and most beautiful

Venus is named after the Roman goddess of love. It is considered the brightest and most beautiful object in the heavens
next to the sun and moon, and is far brighter than any star. Read more about Venus at space.com

The transit of Venus in 2004 as seen from the Royal Observatory
Greenwich in London.
Photograph: Ian
Waldie/Getty Images

venus in transit
By Annette Marie Hyder

photos make it look like the black navel
of the most delicious orange
in the universe

in my mind i always pictured it
as a tiny jeweled hummingbird
gliding across the giant blossom of the sun

but now i see it as venus waltzing
across a ballroom
whose floor is waxed with flame

she is hot (867°F) and sultry
as she gets lost in her lover’s gaze
until the two seem one

There wont be another one for a hundred years

Check out today’s “Venus in transit”. There wont be another one for a hundred years. Here in Minnesota it should be visible a little after 5:00 PM.

The Northfield Patch reports:

“A little after 5 p.m. on Tuesday, residents in southern Minnesota
will have an opportunity to witness one of the rarest predictable
celestial events: a transit of Venus.

Often referred to as the “Evening Star” or “Morning Star,” Venus is
the brightest natural object in our sky after the Sun and the Moon. As
the second planet from the Sun, it’s closer to the Sun than the Earth

A “transit” of Venus occurs when Venus passes between us and the Sun
in such a way that we can see Venus’s silhouette backlit by the Sun’s
brilliant light. It last happened in 2004, but it won’t happen again
until 2117. Unless you plan to shatter some human longevity records,
this is probably your last chance.

Were Venus either large enough or close enough to block out the Sun’s
light as it passed, we would call this event an eclipse, as we do when
the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun. Venus, however, is a
little bit smaller than the Earth and about 27 million miles away. When
its tiny silhouette is viewed against the Sun, which lies another 66
million miles beyond, it can offer viewers a dramatic sense of the
solar’s system’s vast scale.”

“There’s a little black spot on the sun today” — King of Pain, The Police

Listening to King of Pain, The Police:

Links of interest:

i09: Everything you need to know to catch Tuesday’s rare transit of Venus (This piece is awesomely informative.)
The Washington Post: The last Venus transit for 105 years