Featured Poet: Mimi White, Rye
Mimi’s chapbook, The Singed Horizon, won the Philbrick Poetry Award selected by Robert Creeley. Her collection, The Last Island, won the Jane Kenyon Award for Outstanding Poetry, 2009-2011. She is a former Portsmouth Poet Laureate. Mimi recently completed a haibun manuscript titled, “Memory Won’t Save Me”, in honor of her father. She currently serves as chair of the town of Rye’s Energy Committee.
Last year I took a wonderful Ekphrasis Poety class taught by Kimberly Cloutier-Green. Kimberly asked us to write a poem in the voice of a painter we admired. I chose Chagall whose work has always fascinated me for its lightness and its aura of love. Kimberly also asked that this be a poem of address to someone the painter might have a quarrel with or need to say something to. I chose Sir Isaac Newton for obvious reasons, I hope.
He Has Wind in His Head
Sir, if you could fly over Vitebsk on the red rooster,
if you could milk a cow in the eye of a horse,
if the goat in the moon were your stone tablets,
you would know that ardor defies gravity
and that even the tiniest shoe spins like the earth
if it is fixed to the heart
of the man and the woman.
Your laws cannot explain why I sing
when a rooster crows my name in Yiddish
and when my father returns home
smelling of herring and sawdust.
Here’s a fish and a slender horse,
a clock and a crucifix,
a fiddler with a purple cape.
Do only numbers explain mystery?
What equation proves that when a village
is obliterated there is madness loose in the world?
My home is smoke. Bella’s white dress my crown.
When I swim with Bella on the ceiling
her hips are my eyes, my arms her breasts.
What else could bodies in love be
but each others’ and the blue violin?