Saturday, 23 October 2021

American Life in Poetry: URN

Kwame Dawes. Courtesy photo.

Dorianne Laux is one of our treasured poets. Her elegant poems grow out of the familiar.

“Urn” is beautifully inventive in the way she connects the moment of uneasy childlike delight in the inexplicable “magic” of a light switch (“I didn’t know/ where the light went”), with her struggle to face mortality.

Laux’s new collection of poems, from which this lovely elegy comes, “Only as the Day Is Long: New and Selected Poems,” appeared in 2020.

URN
By Dorianne Laux

I feel her swaying
under the earth, deep
in a basket of tree roots,
their frayed silk
keeping her calm,
a carpet of grass singing
Nearer my god to thee,
oak branches groaning in wind
coming up from the sea.

We take on trust the dead
are buried and gone,
the light doused for eternity,
the nevermore of their particulars
ground up, dispersed.
As a child I didn’t know
where the light went
when she flipped the switch,
though I once touched
the dark bulb that burned
my fingertips, studied the coiled
element trapped inside
seething with afterglow.


American Life in Poetry does not accept unsolicited manuscripts. It is made possible by The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2020 by Dorianne Laux, “Urn” from Only as the Day Is Long: New and Selected Poems (W.W. Norton & Company, 2020.) Poem reprinted by permission of the author and the publisher. Introduction copyright ©2021 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Kwame Dawes, is George W. Holmes Professor of English and Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner at the University of Nebraska.

Upcoming Calendar

23Oct
10.23.2021 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Rodman Preserve Saturday self-guided walks
23Oct
10.23.2021 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Prescription Drug Take Back Day
23Oct
10.23.2021 11:00 am - 3:00 pm
Northshore Fall Festival
23Oct
10.23.2021 5:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Luau on the Lake
25Oct
10.25.2021 5:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Lake County 29'ers Cribbage Club Meeting
26Oct
10.26.2021 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Rotary Club of Clear Lake
27Oct
10.27.2021 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Thompson virtual town hall
28Oct
10.28.2021 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
30Oct
10.30.2021 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Rodman Preserve Saturday self-guided walks
31Oct
10.31.2021
Halloween

Mini Calendar

loader

LCNews

Responsible local journalism on the shores of Clear Lake.

 

Memberships:

 

Newsletter

Enter your email here to make sure you get the daily headlines.

You'll receive one daily headline email and breaking news alerts.
No spam.
Cookies!

lakeconews.com uses cookies for statistical information and to improve the site.