On Listening to Homer

by Yvonne Carpenter

 

Hypnotic words

carry me across

the fences that

corral daily thought

to explore the densely

wooded slope where

mushrooms grow on tall trees.

Freed from cultivated fields,

I creep forward,

climbing a hill

to map the vista,

crawl into a cave

to search for glyphs.

There beyond

the reach of sunlight,

in the realm of pale snakes

and poison frogs,

I see, by my trusty torch,

an arrow, crude and yellow,

directing me deeper.

I tread a path of loose stones,

feeling them tumble

beneath my boots.

Wee live bats cling to the ceiling.

I see the ashes of old fires

where others have warmed

themselves, cooked a meal.

More arrows, signs from other

travelers, guide me

around boulders to a trail

worn smooth.

Compelled by curiosity,

calmed by the arrows,

I find a stream, and beside it,

a frayed book that falls open

to the place the spine is broken.

My flashlight moves

over rich lettering

on stained, thick pages.

On one page, my eye picks

letters from the florid script:

L O V E.

Thrilled to see the letter rise

from the twisted text,

then disappointed that my

fearsome journey has led

not to new and stunning prophesy

but to the tired message of

all other soulful trips.

Oh well.

Yvonne Carpenter has published two books of poetry and assisted in publishing Red Dirt Roads, an Oklahoma Book of the Year for Poetry, and read at the Woody Guthrie and Scissortail Festivals. 


Her work has appeared in Blood and Thunder, Grain a Canadian poetry journal, Westview, Red Earth Review, Smoky Blue, Concho River Review (fiction), Sugar Mule, Smoky Blue and the Wood Guthrie anthologies.

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June 2018

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