Often I have stood under the falling sky
dark with its plentitude of stars
and listened as my father called them out,
Orion and the seven sisters of the Pleiades;
Antares, huge and crimson in its dying.
The only star I know for sure
from all my father's lessons
is the North Star, cardinal star of every wanderer,
and beyond that single blaze it's all a guess.
Now he shuffled between his frailties,
his sideways gimp from falling off a horse,
the raspy draw from years of smoking,
his stubborn, hillocked laborer's hands
still seeking out their tools. It's the simple bones
beneath the sun-burnt skin,
the missing finger on the right,
I'll miss the most among my
multitude of longings.
"Let's go outside," he says.
"I want to show you something."
We turn our faces toward the sky.
Editor: T Clear
I've long enjoyed Kathryn Hunt's work, beginning ten+ years ago when she joined my writing group. There exists in her work an elegance and richness that defies her unadorned use of language. In this poem, especially, we are asked to examine the close-at-hand details of a life lived in intimate contact with the earth -- from "his sideways gimp" to "the missing finger" -- while at the same time standing in awe of the greater vault of the nighttime sky and the profound mysteries it offers. It's a modern and yet age old interpretation of Blake, where he impels us to "Hold infinity in the palm of your hand."
Please visit my blog here for another poem by Kathryn Hunt.
Kathryn Hunt is an American writer and filmmaker and makes her home in Port Townsend, Washington. Her stories and poems have appeared in Rattle, The Sun, Willow Springs, Crab Orchard Review, and Open Spaces, among other magazines. She is a director and producer of documentary films, including Take This Heart, a feature-length documentary that was honored with the Anna Quindlen Award for Excellence in Journalism. She has recently completed a memoir, The Province of Leaves. When she's not at her desk she can be found in her garden, trying to stay ahead of the weeds and the deer.
This week's editor, T. Clear, hails from Seattle, US. She is a founder of Floating Bridge Press, and her work has been widely published. Currently she manages production and shipping for a Seattle glass artist. She is enamored of blue flowers, cats, Ireland, slow food, her multitude of sisters and her two sons.
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