Birthday Poems, pre-2013

For the past several years, I’ve written a poem on my birthday that serves as sort of a barometer of my state of mind-soul, a winter count in spring. I just finished this year’s poem, composed while freezing my ass off in my tent up in Yellowstone Park. Before I post it, I figured I should post all the previous ones.

          Birthday Poem, 2009

A night filled with dreams of grizzlies
and waking to the sound of redwings
The landscape hushed under a fresh whisper of snow
Entire mountains
and the voices of sandhills
lost in cloud
Pancakes kept warm on the wood stove
eggs and bacon, strong black coffee:
Doug’s “Lumberjack Breakfast”
and I eat enough to fell trees all day,
instead huddling w/ a book and a mug
by the fire as the cats make their rounds
and the snow stops

Another dream: my father this time,
no bears, just something left unfinished

Magpies rouse me
so I open a beer move out to the woodshed
split logs till I’m sweating
and the big ax shines with the new flesh of wood
and the air is heavy with pine
and my beer is gone

I’m forty-one.
I have sixteen dollars in the bank and,
in my pocket, enough quarters for one more game
of Eight-Ball at the Owl
but I’m seventy-seven pages into my second novel
and another poem closer to writing the next one.
I have good friends and great family.
I have the mountains and the birds
and the bears and the deer
and the trees and the snow and the sunshine.
I have a good pen
and Brahms and Mingus and Mozart and Blakey
and another cold beer waiting inside

All in all,
I’m the richest man I know
and the only reason that it’s true to say,
“Today is a good day to die”
is because it’s also true
that today is a great day
to be alive.

                             –Marc Beaudin, April 14, 2009

Birthday Poem, 2010

and every window in the house
sings about the wind
as fragments of strange dreams
scatter for the shadowed corners of the room

Later, Beethoven’s Third
pounds ripples in my bathwater
contending with the wind
losing, thank gods, in the end

If the heights of human-made beauty
ever could best the earth’s power
then the depths of human weakness could too,
and the wind and all its music would cease

But now the Eroica has ended,
leaving a more beautiful silence
which is, of course, the composer’s greatest work
so I dress and step outside
to feel the air of another year
on my face and in my lungs

Juncos and magpies remind me
that we are all creatures of flight,
passing from earth to sky and back again
with every heartbeat and blast of wind and
turn of the seasons which move

with the perfect pitch and tempo
of the symphony of silence
which sustains us all

–Marc Beaudin, 14 April 2010

Birthday Poem, 2011

A night of rain gives way
to a morning of snow
falling reluctantly from hawk-filled skies

with a bad back I hobble,
slower than my grandfather ever did,
out to the barn to feed the horses
and break the pane of ice
that seals the water trough
I don’t pause to see my reflection
I don’t ponder the possible symbolism
I don’t touch or smell or taste the metaphor
offered by windows of ice
revealing the depths of life

I simply stab with my fingertips,
shake off the water and replace my glove
realizing that the last twenty years or so are a blur,
though every memory before that
is as clear as the icicle hanging
from a strand of the mane on the white mare

(the years now
pass faster and faster)

a single magpie
blossoms in an apple tree
a new year begins

–Marc Beaudin; April 14, 2011

Birthday Poem, 2012

Dreams of the Bomb over D.C.
but all we can find on TV are sit-coms
& action movies

A trio of swans at the lagoon
disappointed in me for not thinking
to bring them some bread crumbs

This picnic table says, “I Heart U”
but I don’t believe it

Fresh snow on the Sleeping Giant
glimmers like a new pair of shoes
as shadows are peeled from his face
w/ the plodding round-dance of the sun

This is another of those years
where I can’t quite remember how old I am –
it’s somewhere between 43 and Surrealism
but I don’t feel a day over Armageddon

Two days from now,
at the Boiling River,
an elk and an eagle will leave calling cards for my soul
& I’ll fair slightly well at being a gracious host,
but then,
there’s that pawn shop bike
I’d like to buy & ride all over town
to get my blood flowing
once again

-Marc Beaudin, April 14, 2012

“Birthday Poem, 2013” coming soon …

About marcbeaudin

Poems, plays, books, roads, trails.
This entry was posted in poetry, Writing and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Birthday Poems, pre-2013

  1. Pingback: Davies and Beaudin » Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

  2. Pingback: Notes on This Year’s Birthday Poem | Marc Beaudin

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