William Shakespeare, “Othello,” Act V, Scene II.
At first, the Cypress stood bold as Laura in the sun,
absorbing each tick of Etruscan power,
the scent of ancient hills, the memories
plastered over by false facades
ineptly masking chipped carvings of horses,
wheat springing from the dry earth, grapevines
twisting and climbing with sweet solace —
energy merely hushed by one conquest or another:
emperors, soldiers, the demanding, the needy — death.
Now the trees bow to her strength, her startling beauty,
so much sturdier than the urn that would shatter,
the law that would not let her breathe.
And her dancing! A miracle of motion —
Irish jig, Samba, Waltz or Tango.
No one else was visible on the hard packed ground.
Yet, no pretense, no desire to be seen led her.
It was this wind!
A wild September gust, a breath from Gaia,
mother of giants born of blood and dust,
then nurtured with care.
It was this wind . . . and Laura
against which the Cypress stood.
Then tilted a bit in veneration.
Francine Leffler Ringold served two terms as Poet Laureate of Oklahoma (though born and raised in NYC) and was the 2003 winner of the “Writer Who Makes a Difference Award” from The Writer Magazine. She edited and championed Nimrod International Journal and taught at The University of Tulsa for over 47 years. Twice awarded the Oklahoma Book Award, her newest volume of poetry,Dog Days: A Way of Speaking,is almost sold out. Her memoir from Birth to Birth, which is also a guide to writing your memoir, was published in 2015.