EIGHT AT THE EQUINOX
by Nancy Scott
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. Indian Summer
2. The Light
3. Dover Beach
4. Monday Morning
and all the leaves haven’t fallen.
The maple’s still green.
Afternoon drops slowly into our laps
the ripened apples.
Songbirds have flown,
the shrill drilling of insects dies down, and everything goes quiet all at once.
Wild geese are leaving the lake;
all night long we lay awake listening.
The light has changed,
though I can’t say exactly how,
and buzzards float on air soft as gauze.
wildness comes to the back door—
fox, bear cub, little orphan doe—
and holds us spellbound in luminous eyes.
When I was a girl and lived in the city, I got up early to stand at the window of my tiny room and watch dawn break over the tall buildings.
I called my ritual “welcoming the light,”
and I loved doing it,
loved letting the day come to me with whatever it had to give, loved letting it happen.
Now that I’m older,
I spend many evenings on the screen porch watching the sun set over misty mountains.
Buddhists call this practice “sitting with the dying day,”
and I love this meditation, love doing it, observing the mellow light for as long as it lasts, then letting it go, letting that be okay.
my friend and fellow poet were
discussing Matthew Arnold’s famous poem; how moving it is and how modern, though it was written in the nineteenth century.
Do you know what the last line means? she asked.
Of course, I lied.
She was better educated and I sometimes resented it.
Swallow your pride, I urged myself whenever we talked, ask her about the “ignorant armies” that “clash by night.”
But I didn’t, and now she has Parkinson’s and can’t speak to me at all.
I could Google it of course,
or ask someone else,
but I don’t.
That wouldn’t be fair to Peggy.
Once a week I go through this:
I wake up and ask myself what I’m doing here.
I question my purpose in life
now that the children are grown and I have no grandkids nearby.
I wonder why I’m still hanging around,
when so many “significant others” have gone on.
I ask myself what my job is,
now that the house and garden are maintained by someone else and my husband does much of the cooking.
Who am I when I can’t put pen to paper
because my muse is out of touch,
or when I can’t find anything in the library to read and there’s nothing I need or want to shop for?
Once a week I go through this,
and every time, right no cue, the answer comes to me.
I’m here on this Monday morning, and every other day of the week, to simply be who I am, and to know that the earth, with all its pain and problems, is still as good as God said it was when She made it.
He was very good at leaving.
It’s what he did best and
he did it all the time.
Leaving from the bathroom,
shutting off the water.
Had he nicked himself?
Better get the alcohol.
Leaving from the bedroom,
finding a coat, matching pants,
selecting a tie,
catching his act in the full-length mirror.
Leaving from the kitchen,
no time to eat.
Maybe some orange juice,
forget the vitamins.
In the hall now,
I remember him from behind,
the nape of his neck,
the back of his legs,
his step, one heel lifted,
car backing out,
He was very good at leaving—
daily, weekly, monthly—
it’s what he did best,
and he did it all the time.
sparrows at the feeder-
hungry hawk watching from the
tall pine tree
all night long
apples pelting our tent’s roof-
in my hand
abandoned cicada husk-
that curious silence
I studied poetry at NYU and worked on the editorial staff of the New York Quarterly,” the world’s most beautiful poetry magazine.” My work has appeared in numerous print magazines and anthologies, has won some prizes and been translated into several languages. I have read my work in bars and coffeehouses, on street corners and in homes, on radio and audiotape, in libraries, bookstores and theaters, in lofts and basements, and once in a chocolate factory, and once on the Brooklyn Bridge.
Thanks to editors Annmarie Lockhart and Jeanette Cheezum for publishing my poems.
“The Light” and “Indian Summer” first appeared in Vox Poetica.
“Dover Beach”, “Monday Morning” and “Ex-Husband” appeared first in Cavalcade Of Stars.
The three haiku first appeared in my self-published collection “Rappahannock Moment.”