Planting Flowers and other poems by Paul Wiegel
Each one blooms a beginning.
They look like white teacup tops,
or like a lobes of the brain
with all those tucks and folds
carved or etched or buttoned down tight.
In mid summer, bees army crawl through the
empty purse of that open bud
while you sit unplanted
with all the usual predictions
of autumn and its
strategic shadow lines from the
brick-edged garden walls.
You, unplanted, placed up high like a bell,
tower-tall, the bell rope, vertical,
trailing the sky behind
risen from earth.
Horizontal, it becomes its own long-stretched horizon.
All things are closer to where they began
on the even edge of soil.
In the end,
it all turns into a kind of gravel—
that unlikely muse
of small stones and smaller stones.
Then sand. And isn’t that just where you’d want it
all to be, underfoot and pressing against
you? Scoop it up and sift it through
your fingers. That muse
is all that’s left of ancient rocks.
This isn’t the same as running
your fingers through the hair of
a lover with the crickets making their
late summer noise in the fields.
You brush away the flies, wonder
how each strand of hair was
created and grew just right there.
It could be sand or hair,
it all falls through your fingers.
Let it drop away and continue,
each small part wishing for what it was.
We can feed on sunlight—that plant part of us
which is marked by the weedy mass of our hair,
the plump fruit of our lips,
and our broad leafed, vein-lined palms.
There are days that we are reduced to only the
sun-warmed shelf of our foreheads
and our heated, reddened eyelids turned upwards.
All of this light compels a construction of
something like floating hope
which moves steadily upward,
rising on heat like broad-winged birds.
The Book of Wisdom
A child is born with a third eye
smack in the middle of his forehead.
His mother loves him,
but wonders if it is a blind eye
or if, in fact, it sees the future
and if, worst of all things,
the child will know
his own fate.
The child grows
and when he speaks he makes no sense,
says, “My sandwich isn’t a trunk
nor is it buoyant” and “My finger
can’t find my fingers.”
His third eye blinks.
His mother worries, asks her own mother
“What will come of him? He speaks
nonsense, and—there is that eye.”
The child’s grandmother says:
“Don’t worry. In time his
eye will close and you won’t think on it.”
And on the child’s twelfth birthday
his eye closes and doesn’t reopen.
The boy must adjust his cap over it,
and it is all but forgotten.
But you have to wonder,
about the quote from the Bible
that asks “How could a
thing remain unless you willed it?”
and if we will be able to recognize the
divinity of that imperishable spirit
or if, in fact, we’ve been rebuked.
The Accordion Player
The definition of the word quiet could be:
“the thing near to the breathing of someone
sleeping after their door has been closed.”
They shift under their blankets
half-aware, like trillium under
a cowl of dead leaves,
about equal in their waking
and sleeping, neither really
knowing if it’s the middle of March
or midnight. Even more quiet
is the resting of a comb or brush
at the bottom of the hair’s length
just before it returns again,
which is not so much an ending
of purpose, but something
that could also define the word
renewal or edge or balance.
This is that pause which only the
musicians can hear
and even touch as they hold
their instrument close to their bodies,
their fingers actually contacting the silence.
It is the empty space of sound that could define
the word continue or oracle or belief.
They are the ones who feel it
and hear it, but we are the ones who see it.
It is on their faces and it looks
like something that could define the word
communion or ache or bliss.
About the author:
Paul Wiegel is a Wisconsin native and writes from his home near the Fox River. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The English Journal, Whale Road Review, and Hermeneutic Chaos Journal. He is a past winner of the John Gahagan Poetry Prize. Sometimes he writes as a “street poet” on his Smith Corona manual typewriter for passersby at farmers’ markets and festivals.He believes you should read a lot more poems than you write.