Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Poem(s) of the week and a farewell

Poet Joyce B. Adams, a member of Five Women Poets here in Bloomington, Indiana (a group to which I also belong), died late last night after being in hospice care for several months. She was the author of two chapbooks, both from Finishing Line Press: Secret Swing and What Is Brought to Light, published just last year. Joyce was a Quaker, and there will be a memorial service in that tradition at some point. She'll be missed in the Bloomington poetry community and in the larger world.

In her honor, here are two poems from her second chapbook. You can hear others in RealAudio format by going to http://wfiu.org/poetsweave.htm; there will be some from this past week (March 9 episode) posted shortly, and you can scroll down to 6-17-2007 for more.

* * * * *
Fred, Dying

Each hour this man
in patient's gown with
its pattern of crosses grows
lighter by a few gray hairs
or flakes of skin. Again

his eyes move
from the geranium
to the rain-streaked window
to his knitting daughter
back to the rain.

This, then, is the drift
of life: we stir
soup back and forth,
back and forth, same soup,
same pot, until the broth
evaporates. Fred looks no happier

or unhappier than before,
only puzzled how his full-grown
hands no longer grip the world.

* * * * *

A Bird, Its Own Song

"Haste to the Wedding," "Ida Red,"
or "Temperance Reel": the fiddler
can name them all. A farm wife
who starts the year's kitchen garden
gives every plant a name
the plant does not know, but can grow to.

You and I set out bread,
drink milk or wine. We work and love,
each to a tune we couldn't sing
out loud any more than a blowing
cloud could tell you
its own rain time.

--- Joyce B. Adams ---


realitywrites said...

my condolences. thank you for sharing her beautiful - breathtaking - poems.

Anonymous said...

I am so saddened to hear of Joyce's death. I met her at the IU Writers Conference in 2004, when we two poets were tucked away at a small restaurant/bar table conversing about our craft and our lives. I regret that I had not been a better correspondent and had failed to stay in touch

JL Kato.

Pamela said...

Anne, I am so sorry for the loss of your writing friend. Her poems are beautiful, as I believe she must have been. "Fred, Dying" especially takes my breath away. Thanks for the post.

greg rappleye said...


Thank you for posting these poems. Sorry to hear about her death.

Sheryl said...

My condolences for your loss, Anne.