when in her first Chicago week
a neighbor lept from his tower
to find that he could not yet fly,
and her eyes narrowed a little, I suppose.
Not sure yet, if this is a poem, or the start of a poem, or no poem at all. It may be years before it comes back as a real poem, if it ever does. Such is the process with me. The story, by the way, is from Bronmin Shumway, one of the fine poets who I share space with in the latest issue of AFTER HOURS, a journal of Chicago writing and art.
Or maybe, it'll come back as a song -
Wide eyed she said, wide-eyed she came
to the city that scratched at the sky.
And a stranger jumped, as a stranger might,
some time in the night from his tower
to find that he could not fly.
Wide-eyed she said, wide-eyed she came
from somewhere in the sea of tall grass,
and I wonder now, as I see her smile,
if once in a while there are tears mixed in
as she looks through rain on the glass.
Wide-eyed she said, wide-eyed she came,
and a stranger jumped without leaving a name
in the city that scratched at the skies.
Be better to her, lofty city,
be better to the country lass.
Be better to her, mighty city,
do no more to narrow her eyes.
- Ralph Murre