CCD Sunday Poetry – Janet Joyner

Magnòlia_a_VerbaniaPolishing Magnolia Leaves

Polishing Magnolia leaves
for her funeral wreath
was one way of laureling
excellence among us,
as we stood there, side
by side, wiping each leaf
with rags smelling like
memories of man-sweat
and honey-colored beeswax
out of that old rusty can
of Johnson’s floor paste
he’d used to gloss, annually,
the college’s Main Hall floors;
he, with his dark hands
shining like the Mahogany
of her casket, and I, with my white
ones that had taken notes from
her lectures on Cicero and Virgil,
as we did this honor
and grieving,
alone together,
hands waxing.

Mme Verdurin’s Sofa

The sofa, though subject
of the Proustian sentence,
was substantively void
qua phenomenon,
one of the confused reminiscences,
a cherished resemblance
triggered by the new
and thoroughly substantial
chairs
opposite the little ones
upholstered in pink
in proximity to the brocaded
cover of the card table
to which the old habitué Brichot
had attributed a past
and a memory, like a person
recalling the chill
of the Quai Conti
or the sun through the windows
on the Rue Montaliver,

(or was it in the solarium
at La Raspalière? where
Cottard and the violinist
sat down to their game
under the pastel of pansies and violets,
a gift of a now dead
painter,
one of the faithful
who had followed
the lady of the house
from place to place)

though it was unclear whether the
sofa
of Brichot’s figuration
had actually occupied
any of the successive
drawing rooms,
was a narrative contraption,
or an idealization
with velvety patina;

but in any case,
an adequate argument
for ascendancy
of mind
over matter and place.

Talking Trees

They say it has been proved,
the trees can talk to each
other, can warn of toxins.
And somehow the roots know
where not to go.
All I can say is,
here, on the mountain,
the wind is swirling
through the hemlocks,
oaks and laurels
in waves of magnetism
that upset the leaves
and make them quick
to turn their tender bottoms
up to the sun,
even as local nymphs
swear to everlasting virginity.

 

 

joyner
joyner

Janet Joyner’s’ poems have appeared in numerous magazines, with prize winning poems honored in the 201l Yearbook of the South Carolina Poetry Society, Bay Leaves of the North Carolina Poetry Council in 2010, 2011, and in Flying South’14. Her first collection of poems, Waterborne, is the winner of the 2014 Holland Prize and will be published by Logan House Press this fall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

wswriters_0Donna comes to CCD from the Winston-Salem Writer’s.  Find out about this vital local organization HERE.