Friday, December 15, 2017

"Evanescence" by Mark Grinyer

Songs of Eretz Poetry Review is pleased to present “Evanescence” by Mark Grinyer.  Grinyer received a Ph.D. in English and American Literature from the University of California, Riverside. He has a particular interest in the roles of poetry and poets as participants in modern society and in the use of natural scenes and images as vehicles for understanding our place in the modern world.

Grinyer’s poems have been published in:  Samisdat, Green's Magazine, The Kansas Quarterly, The Literary Review, The Spoon River Quarterly, The Pacific Review, Perigee, Cordite, and a number of other magazines.  Finishing Line Press published his first chapbook, “Approaching Poetry,” earlier this year.

Evanescence
Mark Grinyer

Southwest
the Santa Anas ridge
green and brown beneath
the clouds’ tectonic flow
toward blue sky in the east
enshrouding peaks and sending skeins
of misty gray down canyons
up and out above the talus slopes
above the valley where
thousands of homes on streets,
evangelical churches,
schools and shopping malls
replace what once
were orange groves greening slopes.

Standing in the early morning sun
I’m pumping gas. I watch
as rainbows drift across
the mountains’ face,
pale, evanescent, fading,
then growing bright
as a million tiny raindrops
prism in the light.
They break the morning sunshine
into bands of red, orange and yellow
bright against the slopes
as this last mist of spring turns
to vapor in the heights.

As I watch the rainbows come and go,
a mother and her child approach.
She sees the light as it begins to fade
grabs a hand and says,
“Look, Mom, look, a rainbow!”
Her mother, looking up,
says, “Hurry up, we’re late,”
and bundles both
into her car and off.
I’ve filled my tank,
paid the price.
Now I, too, am off,
ocean-ward to work.

Poet’s Notes:  “Evanescence” begins as an accurate description of what I saw as I was driving to work one spring morning a few years ago. The sun was rising into a blue sky, and the western sky over the Santa Ana Mountains was dark with rain clouds flowing in from the Pacific. The sunlight created rainbows over the mountain slopes and the city of Corona, California where I live.

The scene made me think of the changeability of everything--from the sky to the mountains created by tectonic activity in the American Southwest, to the changes in human habitation that had occurred since I moved to this area as a teenager. City streets, homes, businesses, and churches--with all the appurtenances of civilization, now cover areas that were semi-rural and planted in citrus orchards when I first arrived. 

I wanted to bring this sense of constant change down to the human level.  So, I imagined stopping at a gas station to fill my tank and watching the small human drama of the mother and her little girl coming out of the station, seeing the rainbows and reacting--one with indifference brought on by adulthood and the need to get on with the day’s duties, and the other with the wonder and excitement typical of a young child.  I write poetry at least in part to maintain the childish sense of wonder on my own.  Sadly, I too am forced by the need to support my existence (and my poetry) by working for a living--thus my presence on the freeway driving to Santa Ana for work in the first place.

Editor’s Note:  I really like the imagery in this one and particularly enjoy the employment of the rainbow as a poetic conceit.  The final stanza provides a good moral lesson--to live in the present and not to lose that childlike wonder.  

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