Nebraska Center for Writers

SCANNING THE NARRATIVE
by Susan Strayer

Scanning the narrative line, baited with plot,
baited with climax, caught in the heaviest trees
a silver mist and its damp perfume. In the knots
and the roots are decades of rhythm, the way
the wind blows north to south. The sway and
bobbing of hills in the waves of wind.

What hooks us here are all the pages blown
empty. The washouts, the erosions. The stunted,
crooked river trees. Ah, the unrhythmic windmill
weathered grey. Who can say what man, woman, child
read it and looked away. Or read it lovingly. Or
refused to read the footnoes. Who will say?

Between two meadowlarks, fence posts are
exclamations. Wider and faster the script
broadens west. Nothing to catch it, its huge
and epic descriptions. Only the dark blot of
ink at night where the day stops reading,
stops writing and another light grey page opens at dawn.

Reprinted with permission
Copyright © 1980
by Susan Strayer


HOW RELATIVELY EASY
by Susan Strayer


How relatively easy
to enjoy the day
with blue jays overhead
and music. I take
a sip or two of coffee
and begin one poem.
It is late afternoon
before the period is
in place. I miss
you but the day
is easy and I
have been swimming
in words. What can
be more pleasurable?
I miss you but
it's been a good day
and I read the
poems off my lips
under my breath
like words of love.
How relatively easy
to be in love. Not
once but a hundred
times today.
Each time a little
bit closer to love
and swimming in it.

Reprinted with permission
Copyright © 1980
by Susan Strayer


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