September 30, 2013

[Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] Poem-A-Day: Waiting for Rain by Ellen Bass

September 30, 2013
Waiting for Rain
by Ellen Bass
 
 

Finally, morning. This loneliness 

feels more ordinary in the light, more like my face 

in the mirror. My daughter in the ER again. 

Something she ate? Some freshener 

  

someone spritzed in the air? 

They're trying to kill me, she says, 

as though it's a joke. Lucretius 

got me through the night. He told me the world goes on 

  

making and unmaking. Maybe it's wrong 

to think of better and worse. 

There's no one who can carry my fear 

for a child who walks out the door 

  

not knowing what will stop her breath. 

The rain they say is coming 

sails now over the Pacific in purplish nimbus clouds. 

But it isn't enough. Last year I watched 

  

elephants encircle their young, shuffling 

their massive legs without hurry, flaring 

their great dusty ears. Once they drank 

from the snowmelt of Kilimanjaro. 

  

Now the mountain is bald. Lucretius knows 

we're just atoms combining and recombining: 

star dust, flesh, grass. All night 

I plastered my body to Janet, 

  

breathing when she breathed. But her skin, 

warm as it is, does, after all, keep me out. 

How tenuous it all is. 

My daughter's coming home next week. 

  

She'll bring the pink plaid suitcase we bought at Ross. 

When she points it out to the escort 

pushing her wheelchair, it will be easy 

to spot on the carousel. I just want to touch her.

 

 

  

Copyright © 2013 by Ellen Bass. Used with permission of the author.

 

About This Poem
"'Waiting for Rain' is from my forthcoming book, Like a Beggar. I've been noticing, in some poets I admire, what I've come to think of as the long-armed poem-a poem that reaches out and sweeps disparate, unexpected things into its net and yet the elements have enough magnetic attraction, enough resonance that the poem holds together. I wanted to try to do that with this poem so I could speak personally, intimately, while giving my feelings for my daughter a larger context." 
 
--Ellen Bass
Most Recent Book by Bass

 

Like a Beggar

(Copper Canyon Press, 2014)

Poem-A-Day
Launched during National Poetry Month in 2006, Poem-A-Day features new and previously unpublished poems by contemporary poets on 
weekdays and classic poems on weekends. Browse the Poem-A-Day Archive.  

Ellen Bass is the author of five books of poetry, including 
the forthcoming Like a Beggar (Copper Canyon Press, 2014). She currently teaches in the low residency MFA program at Pacific University, and lives in Santa Cruz, California. 



Related Poems
by Richard Wilbur
by Farid Matuk
by Robert Lowell
__________________________


Love reading Poem-A-Day?
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This email was sent to messagesheart@gmail.com by poetnews@poets.org |  
Academy of American Poets | 75 Maiden Lane | Suite 901 | New York | NY | 10038


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[Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] Poem-A-Day: Waiting for Rain by Ellen Bass

September 30, 2013
Waiting for Rain
by Ellen Bass
 
 

Finally, morning. This loneliness 

feels more ordinary in the light, more like my face 

in the mirror. My daughter in the ER again. 

Something she ate? Some freshener 

  

someone spritzed in the air? 

They're trying to kill me, she says, 

as though it's a joke. Lucretius 

got me through the night. He told me the world goes on 

  

making and unmaking. Maybe it's wrong 

to think of better and worse. 

There's no one who can carry my fear 

for a child who walks out the door 

  

not knowing what will stop her breath. 

The rain they say is coming 

sails now over the Pacific in purplish nimbus clouds. 

But it isn't enough. Last year I watched 

  

elephants encircle their young, shuffling 

their massive legs without hurry, flaring 

their great dusty ears. Once they drank 

from the snowmelt of Kilimanjaro. 

  

Now the mountain is bald. Lucretius knows 

we're just atoms combining and recombining: 

star dust, flesh, grass. All night 

I plastered my body to Janet, 

  

breathing when she breathed. But her skin, 

warm as it is, does, after all, keep me out. 

How tenuous it all is. 

My daughter's coming home next week. 

  

She'll bring the pink plaid suitcase we bought at Ross. 

When she points it out to the escort 

pushing her wheelchair, it will be easy 

to spot on the carousel. I just want to touch her.

 

 

  

Copyright © 2013 by Ellen Bass. Used with permission of the author.

 

About This Poem
"'Waiting for Rain' is from my forthcoming book, Like a Beggar. I've been noticing, in some poets I admire, what I've come to think of as the long-armed poem-a poem that reaches out and sweeps disparate, unexpected things into its net and yet the elements have enough magnetic attraction, enough resonance that the poem holds together. I wanted to try to do that with this poem so I could speak personally, intimately, while giving my feelings for my daughter a larger context." 
 
--Ellen Bass
Most Recent Book by Bass

 

Like a Beggar

(Copper Canyon Press, 2014)

Poem-A-Day
Launched during National Poetry Month in 2006, Poem-A-Day features new and previously unpublished poems by contemporary poets on 
weekdays and classic poems on weekends. Browse the Poem-A-Day Archive.  

Ellen Bass is the author of five books of poetry, including 
the forthcoming Like a Beggar (Copper Canyon Press, 2014). She currently teaches in the low residency MFA program at Pacific University, and lives in Santa Cruz, California. 



Related Poems
by Richard Wilbur
by Farid Matuk
by Robert Lowell
__________________________


Love reading Poem-A-Day?
Help support it today.
 







 
Thanks for being a part of the Academy of American Poets community. To learn about other programs, including National Poetry Month, Poem in Your Pocket Day, the annual Poets Forum, and more, visit Poets.org.
 
This email was sent to messagesheart@gmail.com by poetnews@poets.org |  
Academy of American Poets | 75 Maiden Lane | Suite 901 | New York | NY | 10038


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[Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] [Messages] Poem-A-Day: Waiting for Rain by Ellen Bass

September 30, 2013
Waiting for Rain
by Ellen Bass
 
 

Finally, morning. This loneliness 

feels more ordinary in the light, more like my face 

in the mirror. My daughter in the ER again. 

Something she ate? Some freshener 

  

someone spritzed in the air? 

They're trying to kill me, she says, 

as though it's a joke. Lucretius 

got me through the night. He told me the world goes on 

  

making and unmaking. Maybe it's wrong 

to think of better and worse. 

There's no one who can carry my fear 

for a child who walks out the door 

  

not knowing what will stop her breath. 

The rain they say is coming 

sails now over the Pacific in purplish nimbus clouds. 

But it isn't enough. Last year I watched 

  

elephants encircle their young, shuffling 

their massive legs without hurry, flaring 

their great dusty ears. Once they drank 

from the snowmelt of Kilimanjaro. 

  

Now the mountain is bald. Lucretius knows 

we're just atoms combining and recombining: 

star dust, flesh, grass. All night 

I plastered my body to Janet, 

  

breathing when she breathed. But her skin, 

warm as it is, does, after all, keep me out. 

How tenuous it all is. 

My daughter's coming home next week. 

  

She'll bring the pink plaid suitcase we bought at Ross. 

When she points it out to the escort 

pushing her wheelchair, it will be easy 

to spot on the carousel. I just want to touch her.

 

 

  

Copyright © 2013 by Ellen Bass. Used with permission of the author.

 

About This Poem
"'Waiting for Rain' is from my forthcoming book, Like a Beggar. I've been noticing, in some poets I admire, what I've come to think of as the long-armed poem-a poem that reaches out and sweeps disparate, unexpected things into its net and yet the elements have enough magnetic attraction, enough resonance that the poem holds together. I wanted to try to do that with this poem so I could speak personally, intimately, while giving my feelings for my daughter a larger context." 
 
--Ellen Bass
Most Recent Book by Bass

 

Like a Beggar

(Copper Canyon Press, 2014)

Poem-A-Day
Launched during National Poetry Month in 2006, Poem-A-Day features new and previously unpublished poems by contemporary poets on 
weekdays and classic poems on weekends. Browse the Poem-A-Day Archive.  

Ellen Bass is the author of five books of poetry, including 
the forthcoming Like a Beggar (Copper Canyon Press, 2014). She currently teaches in the low residency MFA program at Pacific University, and lives in Santa Cruz, California. 



Related Poems
by Richard Wilbur
by Farid Matuk
by Robert Lowell
__________________________


Love reading Poem-A-Day?
Help support it today.
 







 
Thanks for being a part of the Academy of American Poets community. To learn about other programs, including National Poetry Month, Poem in Your Pocket Day, the annual Poets Forum, and more, visit Poets.org.
 
This email was sent to messagesheart@gmail.com by poetnews@poets.org |  
Academy of American Poets | 75 Maiden Lane | Suite 901 | New York | NY | 10038


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