Thursday, April 21, 2011

"Sunday Discordancies" by Jim Harrison

Sunday Discordancies

by Jim Harrison

This morning I seem to hear the nearly inaudible
whining grind of creation similar to the harmonics
of pine trees in the wind. My outrageously lovely
hollyhocks are now collapsing of their own weight,
clearly too big for their britches. I'm making notes
for a novel called "The End of Man, and Not Incidentally,
Women and Children," a fable for our low-living time.
Quite early after walking the dogs, who are frightened
of the Sandhill Cranes in the pasture, I fried some ham
with a fresh peach, a touch of brown sugar and clove.
Pretty good but I was wondering at how the dogs
often pretend the Sandhill Cranes don't exist despite
their mighty squawks, like we can't hear
the crying of coal miners and our wounded in Iraq.
A friend on his deathbed cried and said it felt good.
He was crying because he couldn't eat, a lifelong habit.
My little grandson Silas cried painfully until he was fed
macaroni and cheese and then he was merry indeed.
I'm not up to crying this morning over that pretty girl
in the row boat fifty-five years ago. I heard on the radio
that we creatures have about a billion and a half
heartbeats to use. Voles and birds use theirs fast
as do meth heads and stockbrokers, while whales
and elephants are slower. This morning I'm thinking
of recounting mine to see exactly where I am.
I warn the hummingbirds out front, "just slow down,"
as they chase me away from the falling hollyhocks.

--from The Best American Poetry: 2009
for National Poetry Month

©2011 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery and Babble or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.


  1. I loved this, and am so glad that you posted it. The imagery is just fantastic. I am off to see if I can find more poems by Harrison today.

  2. Don't know if it is just my computer or what, but your entry is a jumble of wingdings. No words at all. Is it supposed to be like that?

  3. Erin,

    Nope, it's a poem. Shows up fine on mine. I'm clueless.

  4. I'm not a huge fan of poetry but this is really cool! What imagery! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Erin,

    I've changed the font, just in case there was something about it that didn't work for you.

  6. One of these days I hope to understand poetry. It's been fifty years, and still, I've not made much progress. But, with people posting on it I may pick it up eventually.

    I'm better with photographs. ;)

  7. Bellezza,

    Me, too! Honestly, though, the book that this poem came from was very, very helpful. In the back of the book, there are bios of each of the authors and then the authors talk about what their poem is about or why they wrote it, what got them started. One thing I discovered from reading each poem followed by its author's bio and explanation is that not all poetry actually *means* something. It can be abstract, like painting, with random thoughts tied together. I had no idea!

    I can't remember what the author said about this one (will have to look that up) but I liked the poem because it sounded a like he was rambling but when he talked about it, I thought, "Oh, I would like to know this guy." That's part of what drew me back to it when I was choosing a poem to share. I'm still trying to spot the imagery Jenny and Zibilee mentioned. *blush*

    Haha, yeah, I'm definitely better at translating photography, too!

  8. While exploring for some different book blogs I came across yours. I love the variety I found here and awarded you The Stylish Blogger Award in a post on my site. If you are interested in passing the award along to others or would just like to find another book blog to follow, I hope you will stop by. I read literally everything (as the reviews on my site show) and also do some galley reviews.

  9. Care Burpee,

    Thanks for the award! I tend to be really bad about passing these things on because I have trouble finding time to post about everything, but I'll try to remember! I'll drop by your blog shortly. Gotta run to the library and gym, first! It's nice to meet you!


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