• Spring Hill Cemetery 014

    Autumn: Old Spring Hill Graveyard by Vernon Fowlkes, Jr.

    I wrote this poem in the fall of 2006. My father had just died the previous spring and that was still heavy on my mind. The germ of the poem arrived in the middle of the night in a hotel outside Waterloo, New Jersey, where I was attending the Dodge Poetry Festival. I woke from a dream I do not remember with the fully formed words “it will seem we just learned this life can never end, that we stand already on a distant shore”. Bits of the poem were written over the next few days in that New Jersey hotel room, in airports and on airplanes, and finished after a brief visit the Spring Hill Graveyard in Mobile, Alabama, where my father is buried. The accompanying photo was taken that day. ~ Vernon Fowlkes, Jr.

     

    When shadows of the blind
    fall across the Book of Evening,
    and our breaths hang motionless
    in the air, it will seem we just learned
    this life can never end,
    that we stand already
    on a distant shore, our loved ones
    who walk beside us nothing
    more than the fading voices
    of the unremembered left behind.

    We’ll look up as a bird’s wings beat
    against the throat and a great word is
    spoken. The blind shadows will settle
    across the falling books as evening
    wades with gentle steps into the rivers
    of our tongues. Side by side, we’ll wander
    among the willows as we listen to these
    stones sing the names of those
    we think we once knew.

    ~ Autumn: Old Spring Hill Graveyard by Vernon Fowlkes, Jr. from The Sound of Falling

    Side by side, we’ll wander
    among the willows as we listen to these
    stones sing the names of those
    we think we once knew.

    ~ Vernon Fowlkes, Jr.

     

    Wow. I am steeped in LOVE and JOY welcoming Vernon Fowlkes, Jr. to “Yes-vember” The Poet’s Way. I met this very talented man at the Block Island Poetry Project last year — by my count — my first year — by Vern’s count…hmmm, I’d say probably #8 – at least! (will fact check)

    My favorite memory of Vern is sitting around the dining room table at the Hygeia House. Marjorie Wentworth and Carol Ann Davis are delivering a workshop on something real poet-like and there’s an observation exercise. Basically, write for “x” minutes about something in your view, provide detail, tell a story. Being my first year, I was still tripping over the fact that REAL poets were hanging out, scratching the paper with me! After working through the exercise, Vern gave his reading. THUNK! He landed this poem that journeyed from lace curtained window to wrist sliding across the page. INCREDIBLE! Truly awesome and amazing.

    Months later, I emailed Vern to ask for the poem — still enthralled with that much talent on such short notice. Vern doesn’t remember it. The poem has never surfaced again. This man is so talented his trash is a best seller. If you want to learn more about Vern, check out his website. Buy a book. You’ll have goosebumps – guaranteed.

    Vern lives The Poet’s Way in his life and work — you can too:

    Start Authentically: Right where you are – what do you see? What is REAL to you? Yes, you are a poet. What is showing itself to you? You have a unique way of seeing, of saying of being. What is authentically there for you? Grab it.

    Explore Creatively: Where does this take you?? Perhaps there’s fear there. Perhaps there’s regret. Whatever is coming up, observe and expand beyond it. Dig into what may be, to dream. What is possible?

    Live Expressively: Write it. Say it. Do it. Live it. Live your best YOU. Alive. Now.

    Join our “Yes-vember” poets on Facebook in The Poet’s Way Community.

    Submit your photo, your poem and a little story about how/why this poem speaks to you (carolyn@thepoetsway.com). NOW.