Best Famous Norman Dubie Poems
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Best Member Poems
Norman Dubie | |
Here, on the farthest point of the peninsula
The winter storm
Off the Atlantic shook the schoolhouse.
Of tuberculosis, said it would be after dark
Before the snowplow and bus would reach us.
She read to us from Melville.
How in an almost calamitous moment
Of sea hunting
Some men in an open boat suddenly found themselves
At the still and protected center
Of a great herd of whales
Where all the females floated on their sides
While their young nursed there.
The cold frightened whalers
Just stared into what they allowed
Was the ecstatic lapidary pond of a nursing cow's
One visible eyeball.
And they were at peace with themselves.
Today I listened to a woman say
That Melville might
Be taught in the next decade.
Another woman asked, "And why not?"
The first responded, "Because there are
No women in his one novel.
Whitimore was now reading from the Psalms.
Coughing into her handkerchief.
Snow above the windows.
There was a blue light on her face, breasts, and arms.
Sometimes a whole civilization can be dying
Peacefully in one young woman, in a small heated room
With thirty children
Rapt, confident and listening to the pure
God-rendering voice of a storm.
Norman Dubie | |
The flock of pigeons rises over the roof,
and just beyond them, the shimmering asphalt fields
gather their dull colored airliners.
It is the very early night,
a young brunette sits before the long
darkening glass of the airport's west wall.
She smells coffee burning
and something else-- her old mother's
bureau filled with mothballs.
Her nearly silver blouse smells of anise
and the heat of an iron.
She suddenly brushes sleep from her hair.
I have been dead for hours.
witness to nothing studies her new lipstick
smeared on a gray napkin.
The fires of a cremation tank are rising.
she descends into Seattle
nervous over the blinking city lights
that are climbing to meet her flight.
The old man seated next to her closes his book.
He has recognized her.
And leans into the window
to whisper, nothing happens.
Norman Dubie | |
In seventeen hundred, a much hated sultan
visited us twice, finally
dying of headaches in the south harbor.
Ever since, visitors have come to the island.
They bring their dogs and children.
The ferry boat with a red cross
freshly painted on it
lifts in uneven drafts of smoke and steam
devising the mustard horizon
that is grotesque with purple thunderheads.
In the rising winds the angry sea birds
circle the trafficking winter ghosts
who are electric like the locusts at Patmos.
They are gathering sage in improvised slings
along the hillsides,
they are the lightning strikes scattering wild cats
from the bone yard:
here, since the war, fertilizer trucks
have idled much like the island itself.
We blame the wild cats who have eaten
all the jeweled yellow snakes of the island.
When sufficiently distant, the outhouses have a sweetness
A darker congregation, we think the last days
began when they stripped the postage stamps
of their lies and romance.
The chaff of the hillsides
rises like a cramp, defeating a paring of moon .
hot, modest conjunction of planets .
And with this sudden hard rain
the bells on the ferry boat
begin a long elicit angelus.
Two small Turkish boys run out into the storm--
here, by superstition,
they must laugh and sing--like condemned lovers,
ashen and kneeling,
who are being washed
by their dead grandmothers' grandmothers.
More great poems below...
Norman Dubie | |
The birches stand in their beggar's row:
Each poor tree
Has had its wrists nearly
Torn from the clear sleeves of bone,
These icy trees
Are hanging by their thumbs
Under a sun
That will begin to heal them soon,
Each will climb out
Of its own blue, oval mouth;
The river groans,
Two birds call out from the woods
And a fox crosses through snow
Down a hill; then, he runs,
He has overcome something white
Beside a white bush, he shakes
It twice, and as he turns
For the woods, the blood in the snow
Looks like the red fox,
At a distance, running down the hill:
A white rabbit in his mouth killed
By the fox in snow
Is killed over and over as just
Two colors, now, on a winter hill:
Two colors! Red and white.
A barber's bowl!
Two colors like the peppers
In the windows
Of the town below the hill.
From the chimneys.
Everything is still.
Ice in the river begins to move,
And a boy in a red shirt who woke
A moment ago
Watches from his window
The street where an ox
Who's broken out of his hut
Stands in the fresh snow
Staring cross-eyed at the boy
Who smiles and looks out
Across the roof to the hill;
And the sun is reaching down
Into the woods
Where the smoky red fox still
Eats his kill.
Just two colors!