by Thomas Davis
Inside the trailer sitting by a ditch,
the mixing bowl still clinging to the dough
that went into the oven hours before
to make the fresh-bread smell of early morning,
the poet, young, sat down to write a poem.
She pursed her lips and pledged a word to paper,
stopped, got up from the folding table, looked
as if a storm had started brewing thunderheads
behind her eyes, crossed out the word she’d written,
put down another word, and then another,
decided that the first line was not right,
crossed out the line, and searched for fire, for stone
grown out of ancient trees into a rainbow
of carbon, agate, life long gone remembered
in music swelled out of the lines she wrote.
She worked for hours, the crossed out words and lines
alive, then petrified into oblivion
across a half a dozen pages, images
half formed, then tossed away into the blaze
of other images born from the dance
of words dredged out of who she was inside
where light burned, thoughts danced, deep emotions swirled.
When, at long last, the poem was done, she shrugged,
picked up a stick of charcoal, stormed a portrait
of Pasternak, romantic, breathing, flaring
into his Russian world, onto a newsprint pad
and finished faster than the morning’s bread had cooled.
Pasternak, a Portrait
by Ethel Mortenson Davis
“Pasternak” originally appeared in The Rimrock Poets Magazine, Thomas Davis, Richard Brenneman, and Art Downing, editors, December 1967, Vol. 1, No. 1.