Before the Flood

In the kitchen, I look through the window
On the east wall and see the sun
Hazy behind the new curtain of honeysuckle
On the barbed wire fence
And through the window
On the west wall, the grey sky
And the rain creasing brown oak leaves
In the ditch where the dandelions
Are sprouting. But there is no divide

In this secretive earth, where you can
Bury yourself in cardinal feathers
Beneath the cedar tree at the pond,
Become a new species of turtle,
Become a land bird with delicate eyes
And the call of an ancient season
Lodged in your throat
Like desperation, like a jumble of weeds.
There is no divide.

–Shaun Perkins

NOTE: I wrote this poem this morning, 3-19-12, as it began to rain. It was inspired by Anne Sexton’s lovely mad poem “It is a Spring Afternoon.”

It is a Spring Afternoon

–Anne Sexton

Everything here is yellow and green.
Listen to its throat, its earthskin,
the bone dry voices of the peepers
as they throb like advertisements.
The small animals of the woods
are carrying their deathmasks
into a narrow winter cave.
The scarecrow has plucked out
his two eyes like diamonds
and walked into the village.
The general and the postman
have taken off their packs.
This has all happened before
but nothing here is obsolete.
Everything here is possible.

Because of this
perhaps a young girl has laid down
her winter clothes and has casually
placed herself upon a tree limb
that hangs over a pool in the river.
She has been poured out onto the limb,
low above the houses of the fishes
as they swim in and out of her reflection
and up and down the stairs of her legs.
Her body carries clouds all the way home.
She is overlooking her watery face
in the river where blind men
come to bathe at midday.

Because of this
the ground, that winter nightmare,
has cured its sores and burst
with green birds and vitamins.
Because of this
the trees turn in their trenches
and hold up little rain cups
by their slender fingers.
Because of this
a woman stands by her stove
singing and cooking flowers.
Everything here is yellow and green.

Surely spring will allow
a girl without a stitch on
to turn softly in her sunlight
and not be afraid of her bed.
She has already counted seven
blossoms in her green green mirror.
Two rivers combine beneath her.
The face of the child wrinkles.
in the water and is gone forever.
The woman is all that can be seen
in her animal loveliness.
Her cherished and obstinate skin
lies deeply under the watery tree.
Everything is altogether possible
and the blind men can also see.


2 thoughts on “Before the Flood”

  1. Truly enjoyed your poem. Thanks so much for sharing. I’ll read it to Phillip and send it to a few others.

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