Friday, June 22, 2007

Friday Poetry: James Tate

James Tate
The Early Years

Minnesota is the Gopher State.
Why? I don't know.
In baseball, a homerun
is sometimes referred to
as a gopher ball. I know
nothing about this so-called
baseball. Huckleberries
are also known as gopherberries.
Bull snakes are likewise
alluded to as gopher snakes;
presumably, they hunt
and eat the little varmints.
There is a gopher
known as the pocket gopher.
He would probably fit
in a pocket quite snugly.
I think gopher wood
is yellow of hue.
In southern Florida
there is a tree
with snowy, white flowers.
It has a hard, yellow wood
and yields a yellow dye.
Now if this is the wood
you are suggesting, please
tell me how I can get
to southern Florida
in time. I know this means
little to you, but I am over
six hundred years old.


I hated the ida of leaving
everyone behind. They were
a violent bunch, but who isn't?
Somehow we did it, I stopped
asking why. We snatched some birds,
roped a couple of giraffes, etc.
What a leave-taking, knowing
it will never be the same,
but it will be just the same,
as if to say, "I love swimming,
but I hate water." I might also
add that I packed poorly.


Although my sons were only
a hundred years old, they
were beginning to walk funny
and talk in riddles and pinch
one another's wives. No one
was getting a tan on this
cruise. We played gin rummy.
We sure could have used
some air freshener in the hold.


At 12:09 AM, Blogger Lawrence said...

this reminds me of my long-burning idea for star wars episode 7: the first 2/3 of the movie is a highschool drama.

it's good. i read it out loud to my Mom spontaneously.


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