In this week’s poem, by Edward J. Rielly, we travel back to a childhood rich in the daily rituals of farming. I love this poem’s tenderly tangible imagery, the speaker’s liturgical voice, and how dizzyingly, in the final couplet, the scene’s present catches up with its past.

Rielly is professor emeritus of English and former director of the writing and publishing program at Saint Joseph’s College in Maine. He is the author or editor of approximately 30 books, most recently “Beautiful Lightning: Spiritual Poems in a Difficult World” (Wipf & Stock, 2019) and “A Bed of Geraniums” (Encircle Publications, 2019).

Poets, please note that submissions to Deep Water are open through the end of the year. Deep Water is especially eager to share poems by Black writers, writers of color, indigenous writers and other underrepresented voices. You’ll find a link to submit in the credits below.

 

Morning

By Edward J. Rielly

 

I seldom think of my mother and father

sleeping side by side, hands crossed,

fingers frozen around eternal rosaries.

 

Instead, Father calls the cows from

the back pasture, his voice waking morning,

and the cows answer in their steady walk

 

up the path marked by hoof-worn dirt

and cattle droppings, the slow, steady

progression to the cows’ sacrifice.

 

Mother tends the stove and turns water

into coffee, the givings of soil into

hot, white cereal and brown toast.

 

It is morning, and all things are risen.

The rooster has crowed more than three times,

stanchions rattle in a foggy distance,

 

cold rises from a stove that knows no fuel,

and the son grows older than his father.

 

Megan Grumbling is a poet and writer who lives in Portland. Deep Water: Maine Poems is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. “Morning,” copyright © 2019 by Edward J. Rielly, reprinted from “Beautiful Lightning: Spiritual Poems in a Difficult World,” published by Resource Publications, an imprint of Wipf & Stock. It appears by permission of the author. Submissions to Deep Water are open now and through the end of the year. For more information, go to mainewriters.org/deep-water.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: