Stopping the Push-Mower Several Times to Capture the Poems Leaping Up Out of the Grass – by John Berry


When I’m not confined to the part of me thinking
I ought to do this, I should have done that
And the birds in my brain do not chitter and chatter
Their worries and whinings for futures beyond their control,
And all there is to do in this moment is mow the grass,
Maybe compose this poem while walking,
I start at the base of a tree. I begin pushing the mower
In circles, and circles to spirals, and spirals to orbits,
And orbits to systems,
To galaxies
All the while taking longer and slower and deeper breaths
Needing only to breathe
For one
For a while.

It may not seem as though I’m doing much more
Than standing or sitting here
While you are bagging my groceries
Or bringing a cup of coffee to my table
But I’m loving you, even if I don’t know you.
Even if it makes you wonder why, to yourself,
Your body has softened, your feet do not hurt,
You have grown confused, perplexed,
Disoriented under this challenging lighting.
You find yourself drawn to the windows
And out to the trees.

Remember how much it rained last week, last month,
And we wondered how dogs and cats got involved
But it seemed to make sense at the time?
Remember how thirsty it made us? How dry
Our throats became as we stood in the doorway,
Watching the lightning, feeling the mist of the rain
As it splashed on the screen of the door?
Remember how the hibiscus folded its funnels of flowers
And drooped its heads to protect its golden pockets of pollen,
And the birds had all disappeared, but we imagined them
Under umbrellas of maple leaves, shaking the rain from their feathers?
And we were not thinking, then, of today or even tomorrow.
How we would be eating this rain from the raspberry vines.
How we would be breathing this rain in the lush green forest.





John Berry’s work has appeared in numerous online and print journals. His first collection, Wobbly Man, was published this year. He hosts a monthly poetry night in Winchester Va., where he and his beloved wife Brenda live with their two Yorkies, Molly and Lily. John has also begun an internet poetry show called The Sock Drawer Poetry Series which airs here .

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