Monday, April 17, 2006

MERMAID HAIR

From Brooks Haxton's book, UPROAR: ANTIPHONIES TO PSALMS.

Scrolls

So will I compass thine altar, O Lord: That I may
publish with the voice of thanksgiving. Psalm 26


Thine altar is to me this bathtub
where my four-year-old twin
girls tip back their heads.
They close their eyes.
I read their faces from above,
in trust and fear, in holiness,
heads tipped until the waterline
has touched their hairlines, cautious.
Look: their hair flows underwater
like the scrolls unfurled in heaven.

* * *

What Haxton describes in his poem above is called "mermaid hair" in my house. He catches and expands this moment just right - into holy heights.

Knopf sent this on Easter as part of their poem-a-day series for National Poetry Month. It is nice to see a parenting theme in a poem so legitimized. But I ask, could a woman pull this poem off AND have it be published by a big-name publisher? Or would it be considered too sentimental? I know, I've been beating the gender drum on and on lately. I can talk about something else, promise.

This poem reminds me to pay more attention to those day-to-day moments that are taken for granted.

3 Comments:

Blogger Michael Parker said...

This Braxton poem is wonderful. Thanks for this JB.

10:09 AM, April 18, 2006  
Blogger J.B. Rowell said...

Thank you Michael.

9:20 PM, April 18, 2006  
Blogger Pris said...

I've been getting the daily poem, too. Some are absolutely beautiful and this is one of them.

10:27 AM, April 19, 2006  

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