Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Two Poems: Michael Estabrook


warm breezes this morning
rustling trees surround me

(welcome relief after
the lightening of last night)

waves slap the shore in
greater staccato

clouds hang massive
and motionless as dead elephants

gulls flap quietly their wings
sounding like wind hitting sails

they swoop down fishing
as fishing boats
move slowly on the horizon

It feels like eternity here
outside Linda’s room

on this immense bank
overlooking Lake Michigan

* * * * *

Old Uncle Gus and I had a Nice Talk

Das Eichhörnchen is the German word
for squirrel, you know.”
Uncle Gus smiles, waves his gnarled,
liver-spotted old hand towards the window,
at the squirrel outside, gnawing peacefully
on an acorn. “And acorn is die Eichel,
and flowerpot is der Blumentopf ,
and roses are der Rosenstrauß,
don’t you just love roses,
and an oak tree in German is die Eiche.
Old Uncle Gus who was born in Germany in 1878
told me a lot of German words that day,
back in the spring of 1969,
when I stopped by to visit him and Aunt Queenie.
They lived close to my college
in a quaint old brick house
with a white picket fence
and window-boxes that Norman Rockwell
would’ve loved to paint. Aunt Queenie
was my great aunt, my grandmother’s sister,
and the sweetest person
who ever lived. She served me milk
and homemade oatmeal cookies that day,
after I finished with Old Uncle Gus.
He was almost 90, but had spent the last 30 years
stuck in bed, like a beetle (der Borkenkäfer)
trapped forever in amber (das Bernsteingelb)
after he shattered his hip by falling down
the stairs in his house and he wasn’t even drunk.
But his mind, I could tell was still sharp,
yes sharp as a tack (der Täcks).
“And chair, in German that’s der Sessel,
and table is die Spielgesellschaft . . .”

~ Michael Estabrook lives in Acton, MA.

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