Spring 2011 - THE POTOMAC

Three Sonnets
   Willie James King

Even When the Earth Seems Fallow

Plump, plush laggards, September persimmons,
lush, shielded from sun-harm in sweet-gum shade,
I left some for the possum, her young-uns----
this fruit they thrive on, love, is soon to fade.

Here, it's the height of Indian summer,
and the last songs of sex for the cicada----
The days seethe now that the warmth grows warmer,
bugs begin to decrease in bravado.

Humans might purge, for those whom they have harmed,
but those who fail to do so, what reprieve?
as every hour and season sounds its own alarm,
and fat geese group now, it is time they leave.

But the leaves won't wither on the willow,
even when the earth seems fallow in snow.

Then I am Wowed

I cannot dredge the depths of what I do.
That would be like arguing against art,
the point where form and conjecture construe
which is to me the most important part.

I can't participate in what I make
than the moon crosses the sky in its turn,
or night and day on their axis rotate.
I am the scar revealed after the burn.

It's not my wish to will or impose----
It happens: the artifice's not controlled
no matter how much I wish to compose.
It must be organic. It must implode,

materialize, as if from thin air
then I am wowed by what's suddenly there.


Two forty-three, and I'm still not asleep.
The sweet sound of rain hardens and softens
but never stops. I can hear the cat creep
across shag carpet, as if with caution
restless as I am. The incline's long, steep
one that has to be climbed far too often.
Disappointed because it's after three,
I turn again toward sleep. It eludes me.

When the lark serenades the light it loves,
I will rise too, as if from that same field,
having struggled among tics, snakes, and slugs
with an old song my own: "I lost my thrill..."
A new prescription will cause me to shrug,
since pills, like insomnia, also kill.

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