Thursday, July 28, 2016

Richard M. Grove: "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Toti"

This poem is dedicated to Wallace Stevens for his poem 
“Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird”
Among the many swaying palms                                       

The only living thing
Was the flutter of dozens of Toti

I was of one mind
Like a Royal Palm
In which there are thirty Toti

A flock of Toti whirled in the winter winds
A small part of the Cuban revolution

The sky and the Cuban flag
Are one.
The sky and the Cuban flag and a Toti
Are one.

I do not know which I long for most
The silent beauty of a clear Cuban sky
Or the cacophony of a Cuban orchestra,
Thirty Toti perched, chattering,
Or the fluttered painting of a black sky as they scatter.

Laundry filled the long lines
In sun-backed heat.                                                              

The shadow of Toti
Cross the wafting sheets
The joy of freedom.
Toti, shadow and laundry
An incomprehensible union.

O dear friends of Cuba
Can you imagine freedom
The way you see your Toti
Flocking from tree to tree.

I listen and see the black flutterings
The inescapable chatter
And I know only too well
That the Toti is a measure
Of my existence.

And when the Toti fly out of my sight,
They are still part of my being,
My ever expanding circle.

At the sight of Toti
Flying in a Cuban blue morning
I cry out the ecstasy
That Cuba is in the air.

I bicycled hundreds of miles
Through emerald cane fields
Dripping with sweat.
Never in fear of being lost
Always with the chatter of my
Toti friends telling me I am home.

The outstretched arms of the mythic Ceibo tree
Are filled with the black cackles of Toti.

It was hot, a hot humid afternoon
There was hardly a breeze to ruffle
The frowns of the stately Royal Palms
A single, silent Toti sat,
In the outstretched limbs of the Bayam tree

Richard 'Tai' Grove 

ass't. ed's Frosty 
and Tama insist, 
"Richard's 'Toti' 
poem deserves 
a post of its own!" 

so it does
and, here it is.  Enjoy.

                   see you in a moment

                   ayaz daryl nielsen


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