Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A misty morning

As I walked down to the road to get my newspaper this morning at a few minutes before 5 a.m., I was struck by how often I used to will myself awake at dawn, as a teenager, in order to ride my horse through the fields around Athena.

Have you ever mentally set your alarm for a certain hour or prayed "dear God, please let me wake up at 5 a.m." and then done it? I didn't have an alarm clock to set and my sister wouldn't have appreciated it if I had set it on a summer morning, since we shared a room all the time we were growing up. But riding in the early hours of the day was much better than riding in the afternoon, since temps were in the 90's and 100's on eastern Oregon summer days. And anyhow, I wanted to go swimming in the afternoons.

So I'd squinch my eyes tight shut at night and pray fervently that I'd wake up at 5 a.m. And my mental alarm would go off, I'd slide into my jeans and boots, and ride my bike to the pasture where my horse would nicker softly, asking about the possibility of a handful of oats or a carrot piece.

Most of the time, I'd just slip a bridle or hackamore on his willing nose, climb the fence so I could reach his back, and we'd be off through the streets of our sleeping town, on our way to the stubble field just a few blocks north of the pasture. There on the silver-gold wheat stubble, we'd lope gently alongside the road, waving at the occasional car going by, feeling the freedom and exhilaration of being out and about when almost nobody else was.

Those mornings were clear and bright, not misty like Whidbey is this morning, with the rising sun glinting on the bent and broken stalks of decapitated wheat. I used to write poetry about those mornings, poems which are now mostly stored in memento boxes.

One of them, however, seems worth dusting off. I don't remember when I wrote this, but it would have been in the 50's sometime and clearly seems to indicate a growing vocabulary!

Day washed her face with flamboyant rags:
palest green, clear yellow, and warm, warm pink.
Cleaned away black sooty night
from her clear blue brow.
Yawned and struggled to keep open
her great gold eye,
befogged with clouds of sleep.

5 comments:

Miss Kitty said...

What a fantastic poem...at first I thought it was Gerard Manley Hopkins. :-) Gorgeous!

LinguistFriend said...

It does sound like the poetry of a young woman of those years, but perhaps with some specific suggestion of Edward Thomas and his lover Eleanor Farjeon ("Morning has Broken"). You have probably forgotten whether you had been reading Georgian poetry at that time. It had a mild revival during the 1950s, in the sense of reprints and editing, together with the peak stage of Thomas's friend Robert Frost.

ms. kitty said...

Heavens, what compliments from two of my favorite literati! Thank you for your kind words.

In my little high school, LF, we hardly dealt with poetry, but you're right----it might have been influenced by a poet like Thomas whose style I absorbed even though I don't remember it. Somewhere I got a sense of free verse, I guess, as none of the poems I wrote at that time had any rhymes.

Miss Kitty said...

Seriously, Ms. K--I thought that was a Hopkins poem on first read. Then, "WOW! Kit wrote that!"

(Completely off-topic, but funny: My word verification is breast. No, really, it is.)

ms. kitty said...

Thanks, Miss K. What a nice thing to say!