Poetry Porch: Poetry


by Nels Hanson

I gripped the bamboo rake’s wood
handle as sprays of Johnson Grass
waved white, a million grape leaves
turned palms-up at once, like hands

on strings, yanked by an unknown
puppeteer. Who? I wondered. Wind
come to blow my hair at sunset, late
cool westerly racing the wide acres

from the Coast Range and the sea?
Maybe. Mornings at my window sink
as water steamed and ran the sun aimed
level, dead even with the vines and bright,

and I made out a thousand filaments,
the maze of threads stretched golden
just above the vineyard, sparkling,
reaching forever toward infinity,

recalling stories of spiders wafting
100 miles of ocean, then reeling back
to land. Blink and the perfect webs were
gone, lucky angle of eye that caught

all hidden ties that bind, glinting
strands slackening and tightening,
billowing out, secret warp and woof
underneath connecting everything.

A single string, one only, a sudden
shining like sun on distant wave
or leaf, certain string in the barrel
at the fair, held the prize. Oh, if only

I knew which to choose, I thought
more than once but good came
sometimes and sometimes bad, both
for a reason, anyway it was too much

to figure out. The gleaming cords
whispered with fruit of the deadly
nightshade, belladonna half disguised
between sticky, spent tomato plants

behind the barn. The black purplish
berries were poison, since childhood
you’d been warned, but still, like Eve,
I was tempted to pick and taste one.

Copyright © 2012 by Nels Hanson.