Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added) is the best-kept secret among contemporary American writers. --John Wilson, ed., Books and Culture. / New at patreon.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Here We Go Round

Cooperstown region: I shall be doing a talk/reading at the Christ Church parish hall on 7/14 at 12:15. Sponsored by Christ Church and Cooperstown IAM.

As you can tell from this image, "Here We Go Round" comes
from The Throne of Psyche (Mercer University Press, May 2011.)
Hardcover or paperback. Cover image by Clive Hicks-Jenkins.

Rumor has it that on some days you feel rather dull and lethargic, as if all of life were ordinary time (and never "jam today," you Carollians.) Here is a rather odd little poem, the sort that crops up on a hot day, guaranteed to make you feel that life must be stranger and more treacherous than it sometimes seems.

So, in case on this lovely summer day you need to remember and know that you have escaped some strangeness, some demonic hair-pulling, some terrible down-falling--



HERE WE GO ROUND

1.

Going around the mulberry bush
At six o’clock in morning hush,

Our feet were crushing the fallen fruit,
Our minds were dreaming of the root

That goes tap-tapping underground
With an uncanny, dreamy sound.

2.

Tiny mulberry demons clung
To undersides of leaf and stung

Our tender hands and yanked our hair
Until we circled in despair

And world seemed all confusion, all
One vertigo of endless fall.

3.

The mulberries tasted of rot—
No wonder. It was damp and hot,

We tumbled down into the ditch
Dug in fairy time by the Witch.

A little dirt makes ditch a mound:
So here ends the mulberry round.

10 comments:

  1. Captures summer funk all right.

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  2. :-) Not sure if I was really supposed to, but this made me laugh out loud. You're going back to the nursery rhymes real folk roots here. Like that "Go the F*** to Sleep" book. "Hush little one, don't you know that the world is trying to eat you?"

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  3. Robbi,

    I imagine that different people will read it different ways...

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  4. Dale,

    Glad you laughed--it's absolutely going back to story roots. And like fairy tales, such things sustain varied readings--or so I think!

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  5. Delightful, especially just after reading daughter's skipping rope rhymes.

    By the way, do you have mulberry bushes? I've yet to see one and have wondered if they only exist in fairy tales and rhymes. Oh, I know, must google....

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  6. I did have a big one--more of a tree than a bush--in my back yard in Carrboro-Chapel Hill, North Carolina. I think my mother has at least one on her mountaintop, also North Carolina...

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  7. i was so confused by "here we go round the mulberry bush" as a kid...because it was a tree, not a bush in our neck of the woods. And yes, very messy. But never damp.

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  8. Miss Zephyr,

    Ah, well, you did not have the luck to pick your mulberries in the humid, once-beautiful (and still so, here and there, despite raging development) South.

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  9. 'Sagacious poems of summer glooms'

    Good grief! But so enjoyable!
    I know someone out there is miserable with the summer fug, but I shall look on from a distance with deep sympathy and keen incomprehension.
    Yes, keen. : D

    Roald Dahl has nothing on you, Marly!

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  10. And yet I am so cheerful, Paul!

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Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.