Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Up Here On the Hill


The poem you’re about to read came into being this way: Last night, after I turned off the lamp beside the bed, I decided it would be fun to try to compose a poem before I went to sleep. But before I could think up a single line, I was asleep, although I didn’t find that out until later, when my eyes popped open at about four a.m. and an entire poem was looking out at me from the wall. Ah-ha, I said — there you are. And then I marveled at the poem for about two minutes. But the poem you’re about to read isn’t that poem, because I fell asleep again, and when my eyes popped open the second time the poem was gone, just as if it had never been written — which, come to think of it, is exactly the case. How do I know the poem you’re about to read isn’t the poem that came to me in bed? Simple: that poem was a lot better than this one. I wrote this one when I was awake, and, as most people already know, I am not nearly as sharp awake as I am asleep — not that I can always tell the difference.


Up Here On the Hill

Well, the story goes,
they buried me
up here on the hill
but I went right on talking,
pretty much to anybody
who comes along —
put a scare into some
of ’em, too, figuring
I am dead and all,
and the truth is I can’t
explain it myself,
whether it’s the location,
maybe, and all that nice air
up here on the hill,
and the grass that grows
and the flowers that bloom,
or I ain’t really dead
though I seem to lie here
awfully still, or just restless
in my head like I always
been when a storm is comin’ in —
whatever it is, I sure wish
some of ’em would answer,
’cause for a man in my place
that would be a thrill,
and life ain’t all it oughta be
up here on the hill.

Introduction and poem from Collected Poems, circa 2006.


Update:
In the Forum: the LSD of encyclopedias.

5 comments:

~im just only me~ said...

Ha! Sounds like a Dylan song... Maybe Jacob...

RUDHI - DAILY said...

Rest and wake in peace!

S_Allen said...

I like the musicality of this poem. Like im just only me said - like a narrative song.

William Michaelian said...

Cass, “Maybe Jacob” is a good song title of its own.

Rudhi — that is a nice epitaph.

Scott, thanks. I guess this does sound kind of like a poor man’s version of Spoon River.

Jean Spitzer said...

I like this a lot. And it is very musical.