It’s Wrong to Feel Lucky by Marjorie Gowdy

Photo of field of poppies
Photo by Luismi Sanchez on Unsplash

It’s wrong to feel lucky
when a poplar blooms.
…………Branches spit out slender pinks below low clouds.

In fields here, we find arrowheads.
Ancient whispers on the ridge. One death begs another.
…………Axe, arrow, bullet, bomb. A siege of poisoned bolts.

Up the road, old battlefields sit
surprised, suddenly covered in grey blankets
…………of stinging dust. Charming fencerows buried.

Once, old soldiers sold poppies,
tried to warn us. Some rode to save us.
…………Yet Zeus swung back and slung his fire.

Capitol’s newly fallen: an ugly man of bare ambition,
youths who rose through thunder, astonished tourists seared in place,
…………fresh-eyed children crushed in the vapor of monuments

Crouched in far mountain woods are we who never left.
Crops tremble in singed southward wind. We wait by the spring box, a cock cries.
…………Soon ash-coated sparrows will fall as swords, exacting surrender again.


Marjorie Gowdy
Marjorie Gowdy writes at home in the Blue Ridge mountains of Callaway, Va. Gowdy was Founding Executive Director of the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art in Biloxi, Miss. Her poetry has been published in the Roanoke Review, Artemis Journal, Floyd County Moonshine, Valley Voices, Indolent Books, Clinch River Review, and the book, Quilted Poems. A chapbook, Infloresence: The Pasture at Rest, will be published in 2023 by Finishing Line Press. Her essays are included in Katrina: Mississippi Women Remember. Her work is informed by the natural world of hills and coasts in Virginia and North Carolina. She is newsletter editor for the Poetry Society of Virginia.

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