Wednesday, January 14, 2009

In the South, In the North

Here's another poem borrowed from The Writer's Almanac. It makes me nostalgic about New Orleans (despite the fact that I've never actually been there.)

In the South, In the North
by Peg Lauber

The grass here is strange paradise to northern feet.
Stiff, it explodes into green when we aren't expecting it
remembering it as greening up much later.
All over town they turn the fountains on again.

If there's one thing they've got enough of,
it's water. Dig down a foot and you have it,
even though brackish, and in the summer
no cold water comes out of the tap no matter
how long you run it. In every yard there's another
explosion in January, camellias, pink, deep red,
white, and we not a month past Christmas.

But up north the frigid season crawls on, takes its time;
even in April and May it's still snowing and sleeting,
then comes hail as winter turns to summer
in one day: 90 degrees. Here, however, people eat sack
lunches on the dull green trolley with red touches still
bearing Christmas garlands over the controls at each end.
The riders open the windows to put their elbows out
while they take the long ride to the end of the line
returning to Lee Circle and Canal Street,
the trolley car whistling and dinging.

Soon St. Charles Avenue, the regular route, will be filled
with high school bands and marching feet, arms waving,
voices crying, "Throw me something, mister," to those
on the floats, as the lines and trees above are decorated
with gold, purple, and green beads, the royal colors of Rex,
against the blue void we call sky.

No comments: