Monday, October 24, 2016

"Sometimes Sorrow Ends in a Golden Sunrise" by Carol Hamilton

Former Oklahoma Poet Laureate and six-time Pushcart Prize nominee Carol Hamilton was the Songs of Eretz Poetry Review Poet of the Month for August 2015 and the guest judge for the 2016 Songs of Eretz Poetry Award Contest.  She has recent and upcoming publications in: Pontiac Review, Sanskrit Literary-Arts Magazine, Poet Lore, Limestone, Louisiana Literature, Off The Coast, Palaver, San Pedro River Review, Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, Hubbub, Blue Unicorn, Abbey, Main Street Rag, Two Cities Review, Poem, Tipton Poetry Review, and others. She has published seventeen books, most recently, Such Deaths from the Visual Arts Cooperative Press in Chicago.

Sometimes Sorrow Ends in a Golden Sunrise
Carol Hamilton

My favorite cat was Buttercup.
I played and sang HMS Pinafore
to her. She was the color
of pollen on your nose
when you smell every blossom
in a field of daisies.
She always sat and listened
to her song. When she disappeared,
for months I sang
“I’m Called Little Buttercup”
to every fluffy yellow cat I met.
Not one seemed to recognize
either the song or me.
I still love Gilbert and Sullivan,
and though I have had many
other cats over many years,
not one has had yellow fur.
The golden glow of morning
when starting out on a bike ride
is buttercup yellow and so is
butter sizzling in the skillet
awaiting eggs to scramble.
It has been many years
since I last sang to a cat.

Poet’s Notes:  This is a poem about loss, really. As I age, I have said goodbye to many people and activities that I have I loved: friends and family, mountain climbing, bicycle riding, even a special beloved cat in childhood. Many of us experience first loss when a childhood pet dies.

The poem did not begin while thinking of loss. I was teaching a poetry workshop to middle school students. Our writing prompt involved playing around with the way various colors make us feel. When I ask students to write, I always write along with them. I recently found some of my scribbled notes from that day. This poem all began with the color yellow.

Editor’s Note:  I'm not a cat person, but the poet’s various plays on yellow, engaging all of the senses, really sold me--over the objections of Lana the Poetry Dog.

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