To Donald Hall - June 22, 2012
By Charles Bane, Jr.
A late June night in Florida is like every other month of the year, except that the poinciana trees are in bloom for these weeks only and the grass below them is red and bright yellow. If the Florida resident wants changes of season, he or she must make them up and pretend that the Royal Palm trees brought from Hawaii where they grow as tall as buildings are oak or maple in the season they are remembering. For the rest, the year here is not of season, but of tide. At low tide on the Intracoastal Waterway, alligators sleep near the fishermen who walk onto the mud to catch their supper, or go shrimping with net and lantern.
It is fine to write poetry, but it is fine also not to, to have a finished manuscript in the hands of a book designer and not to be lost in the physics of verse. It is better than writing poetry to leave the windows open at bedtime and hear mockingbirds all night, and to be piped by birds to a cafe to read and watch the sunrise like a starfish. It is better still to be with my son without distraction and to have breakfast and talk.
"The One Day" was more than a day's work, so perhaps seasons are illusory for writers in any climate. If you are reading Hemingway it is almost always Fall or early Spring, and Melville loves the snow that falls on the waves. Tonight, here, poems have raised their oars to the sky and time is slowed and prized.
* - Donald Hall, Poet Laureate of the United States, with President Obama.
Charles Bane Jr. is an American Poet. Curbside Splendor published his first book The Chapbook (July 2011) and will publish his second book New Poems (October 2012) via Concepcion Books, a new Curbside imprint.