The Dubose and Dorothy Heyward Society Prize
Winter 2008
Aly Goodwin

Ancient Greek Wisdom

In August the picked figs
rest in a covered bowl
so I cannot see the limp-wet
lavender and green
I will not eat yet.
It is time to do things a different way,
catch and release
rather than live with memory
of taste and see.

          Demosthenes,
running along a Mediterranean shore,
shouting above the waves' roar
with rocks in his mouth to overcome
a speech defect, said
          do without everything you can,
          for Apollo draws his bow
          even though today the sun dazzles.


In deep woods below the first orchard,
corn browns and brittles more each day,
rattles in the wind like old bones,
and here I go to release you
and pray for poor memory,
here, where a cricket sings to the rain,
the creek, to potatoes sweet and irish.
I must learn the world is higher
than the tallness of your graceful shoulder,
a task weightier than pebbles on the tongue
or Sisyphus pushing his stone.
Yet I think I remember that place.
We search a lifetime for the one thing
we were born wanting,
someone we can show who we are.

The shrubs are silent all around.
©2008 Aly Goodwin