A Little Tuesday Poetry

May 27, 2014

"How will I ride?"

Today I'd like to share with you a poem by one of my favorite poets, May Swenson.  To me, "Question" is a love letter, not from one lover to another, but from a soul to its body.

I've been working on a short piece about a rancher with a terminal disease.  I chose his wife as my narrator.  Since she and her husband have been together for almost forty years, this relationship is very different from any other I've written before.  I'm not exaggerating when I say that writing this story is breaking my heart.

Hemingway once said, "If two people love each other, there can be no happy end to it."  It's a famously morose statement, but there is truth in it.  If the love is strong and true, even our bodies can't outlast it.

Yesterday was Memorial Day.  I think of the fallen, men and women who served the United States and protected our way of life.  But I also think of the widows and widowers left behind. 

I've taken the text of this poem from the Poetry Foundation.

"Question"
May Swenson
1994

Body my house
my horse my hound   
what will I do
when you are fallen

Where will I sleep   
How will I ride   
What will I hunt

Where can I go
without my mount   
all eager and quick   
How will I know   
in thicket ahead
is danger or treasure   
when Body my good   
bright dog is dead

How will it be
to lie in the sky
without roof or door   
and wind for an eye

With cloud for shift   
how will I hide?