Monday, December 24, 2007

LOWER NINE, A Poem By ANDY YOUNG

Andy Young is a New Orleans poet, a poet of the American South, editor of a journal Meena that unites the city with Alexandria in English and Arabic. She is a fine lyricist, word dancer and, in her heart breaking, witness to the wrath of hurricanes and the slaughter of war. This poem comes from a new book I have had the pleasure of reading quietly. I hope soon it will be recited in the public square, barked on the roads and stages, whispered and memorized at home and struck into the record at the hearings.


LOWER NINE

the moon a smudge above the wreckage
here is the peace of the grave

a sob-soaked sky flaps its curtain of ash
egrets fly over, white as bone

here on the right a house in a heap
here is a church on its knees

here is a street tumbled to sticks
a tricycle hangs from a wire

the canal and its ships drift on, drift on
the canal and its ships drift on

there is a dog hobbling off,
it dangles a leg like a charm

here on the right a barge on a school
a store lifted onto a truck

three steps lead to nothing (this was a house)
mud cracks in patterns as in drought

oh lady of ruins, your head crushed to dust
where are the ones you have no eyes to see

where did they go, dragging their bags
across the bridge to find ground

where do they rest if they rest if they rest
and where would they be if they returned

the canal and its ships drift on, drift on
the canal and its ships drift on



-- Andy Young c) 2007, used with the author's permission