Thursday, August 13, 2009

Dawn Revisited by Rita Dove

Dawn Revisited
By Rita Dove

Imagine you wake up
with a second chance: The blue jay
hawks his pretty wares
and the oak still stands, spreading
glorious shade. If you don't look back,

the future never happens.
How good to rise in sunlight,
in the prodigal smell of biscuits ---
eggs and sausage on the grill.
The whole sky is yours

to write on, blown open
to a blank page. Come on,
shake a leg! You'll never know
who's down there, frying those eggs,
if you don't get up and see.

from: "On the Bus with Rosa Parks"



Woman in a Window said...

Curious one, this is. And curiouser still, is it wrong of me to not want to go downstairs? Not want to wake up there?

I find myself, despite any trials or gravity in my life right now, wanting to wake up here tomorrow, me, and smelling what it is that life will bring to me, right here. Oh, some tomorrow's aren't actually the day after this, to be sure, but whenever tomorrow comes it is here, it is as me, that I want to receive it.

But perhaps I read this wrong. Perhaps it is saying just that.

Judith Ellis said...

Beautiful! Such imagery! "The whole sky is yours." Wow! There is such a simplicity and expansion about these words, a very real everyday connection married with grandness of environment and spirit. I love the title too. "Dawn Revisited." Ah! Thank you so much for this, Marion. And may God continue to bless the efforts of Rosa Parks and the peaceful revolution she engendered. Peace and love to you, my sister, my friend.

Marion said...

Erin, I read this as wanting to live in the moment, to not look back OR forward, just to roll around in the here and now, get myself out of bed and see what the day has for me. I love Rita Dove's poetry. She's a force to be reckoned with and one of my favorite poets... Blessings!!

Judith, isn't it grand? When I think of many of my favorite poets and authors (Rita Dove, Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, Nikki Giovanni, Wanda Coleman, Lucille Clifton, Alice Walker, Langston Hughes, Yusef Komunyakaa, Derek Walcott, E. Lynn Harris (recently deceased) and so many others, I have to bow to the courageous Ms. Rosa Parks and those who came before and after her who fought so valiantly for the rights of African American people. We are so much the richer for their efforts!! Love and Blessings to you, my wise friend!!

Judith Ellis said...

Marion - If this is okay, please allow me to address the comment by the Woman in the Window and offer another reading.

Hi Woman in the Window - How about if the poem is seen from this perspective: It is precisely this "waking up tomorrow and smelling what life has to bring me right here, right now," that is precisely what Rita Dove writes of. Her very real past is the encompassing, the merging of time to completeness that enables us to indeed move forward, to awake, to smell, to live in the now and embrace the future through the past. The reality of the past (the second chance, Rosa Parks), the immediacy of reality (the smell of biscuits, eggs, and sausage) if we only do something, and the forever constancy of now (sunrise, the oak tree, the sky above) all merge in the beauty of the future, the forever becoming without which time would not be. We are the makers of time. We have called day day and night night. We have called our experiences this or that and have embraced or released them, making and dismissing them, doing or not. "Shake a leg" indeed!

Many of the poets you list, Marion, have been favorites for many years. Thank you for their mere mention.

mermaid musings said...

I love this!
oh! a second chance?
hugs sweet you!

Kelly said...

This is wonderful!!

EVERY morning is a second chance. A fresh slate to start anew....

Marion said...

Judith, I love what you said, how you explained the poem to Erin (Woman in a Window). That's part of what I love about we can discuss it and ponder the meanings and learn and grow from the reading of it. Bless you, dear friend!

Carmen & Kelly, so glad y'all enjoyed her poem. All of her work inspires me. When you said 'secon chances', for some reason this Bible passage comes to my mind about Jesus loving and forgiving a prostitute: Luke 7:37-50

37 And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment,

38 And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.

39 Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.

40 And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on.

41 There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.

42 when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?

43 Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.

44 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.

45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.

46 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.

47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.

48 And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.

49 And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also?

50 And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.

We all deserve a second chance, don't we? And this passage always inspires me. I had many a heated discussion with 'holier than thou' folks in the past and I'd say, ah, but you just don't know, you can never know what is between me and Jesus and how very deep is our love because...well, like this story....and I'd say, but He forgave me so much...and I love him even deeper because of the HELL he saw me through. That's just my opinion. I'm not preaching to anyone, just saying what it means to me. Blessings, Friends!

kj said...

where is my comment? did blogger swallow it whole?


Rikkij said...

Marion- you know, I think we all wake up to a second chance every day. They said to Jesus, "how oft should we forgive our brother? Seven times?" and he replied, "seven times seventy" Every moment is a second chance if forgiveness is granted. I can smell the eggs! ~rick

Marion said...

KJ, I've published all the comments, so I guess Blogger ate it! Yikes! It happens to Rick all the time. Was it perhaps on another post? Blessings!

Marion said...

Awww, Rick, you're a true zen master. I love your open heart and your wise comments. Blessings, dear friend of my heart...

Wine and Words said...

"Which of them will love him most?

43 Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged." I am so relating to this and the "prodigal smell of biscuits." It's amazing how the path we take, the one we are now on, dictates the message behind words spoken from another planet, another plane, yet now...miraculously our own.