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Best Famous Norman Dubie Poems

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by Norman Dubie | |

Of Politics and Art

 for Allen

Here, on the farthest point of the peninsula
The winter storm
Off the Atlantic shook the schoolhouse.
Whitimore, dying 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.
" And Mrs.
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.

by Norman Dubie | |

Sky Harbor

 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.
The brunette 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.
Nothing ever happens.

by Norman Dubie | |

At Corfu

 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 like frankincense.
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 .
its 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...

by Norman Dubie | |

February: The Boy Breughel

 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.
Smoke comes 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.
Two colors.
Just two colors! A sunrise.
The snow.