Diane Lee Moomey – Five Poems
Cloud to Cloud
North of Niagara and east, north
of the peach belt and the Great Water:
high summer storm light — the undersides of leaves
flash silver in the ground wind, that back-handed wind
that gusts now north, now west, startling
birch and aspen poplar. Crows
perch low and on the inside; rabbits
run to ground.
Wide lightning, pink lightning,
strokes along massed cumulonimbus, strobes fully half
this twilight sky — dry. Dry crackle, cloud-to-cloud,
never touching ground, this lightning —
the day long and restless,
sullen heat gathering in great chunks,
going nowhere — the dry crackle that cries for thunder.
Us waiting for the deluge, the drops that will settle the day’s dust,
the drenching gusts that will bring the cat mewling
to the door.
for that front to sweep north off Lake Ontario,
to wash clean the sidewalks and the Don Valley Parkway,
to carve rivers in the dirt
on the windows
of the last subway car of the day,
to come north, make soggy the putting greens
of the Bayview Country Club,
to douse us here, porching,
way up past Markham in the true country,
in the green belt that cradles Toronto in wide arms.
Dry and waiting, porching and holding hands
just holding hands; talking, just talking,
mind to mind, cloud to cloud,
our lightning never touching ground,
waiting for our weather to move in,
to wet our skins, crack
our dry spell.
Ode, with Wings
Had I loved you as a farmer, a farmer,
I’d have had to drive all day
for just a glimpse of you
across your lower pasture,
deep in wheat grass, deep. Instead
you flew me upside down.
Had I loved you as a fisherman, a fisherman,
I’d need to row all night
to find the place we last dropped anchor,
and with a glass, the perfect glass,
might see your nets. Instead,
you flew me upside down. Instead,
I loved you in the air, the air. You wore
new wings, and in your father’s plane
so proudly lent, you flew me upside down.
Because I loved you there, all skies
belong to you. No need
to drive, to row. Every sky
belongs to you.
against a railing that shook
beneath our jacketed elbows, leaned
watching dolphins arc their ways
past us toward the beach behind
as if nothing on earth or sea
were more important and of course,
nothing is. We leaned
against a wooden fence at the land’s
end of our world, a split rail
hanging over iceplant and crooked trail,
watched Nike-ed hikers follow it down-
to an improbable beach below. We spoke,
facing whitecaps, of what is terribly
important to us in our seventh decade,
spoke facing the place where the dolphins
had come through, fought
as we sometimes do, thought:
they could have been porpoises.
At The Dollar Bins
Saturdays, she goes the rounds
with shopping bags in hand. She’ll rescue
former treasures left behind—
some lace, a wooly shawl, a shirt
perhaps too small but almost new.
A find—a red fedora, brim
askew, the feather brave. A bag
of mottled pears, a steak too near
the sell-by date. She’ll gather not
because she must eat crumbs or take
whatever comes, or lick the final
jelly from the jar and not
because somebody somewhere may
be starving. Gather, glean—to keep
or give away—because something
in this skirt, that sequined vest,
those purple gloves, is still alive.
The Mylar cones arrive from India—
the red and silver, green and gold like silk
of saris!—wrapped and filled with new and ancient
paste. My California kitchen—plastic
tablecloth and paper towels will keep
the stain where it belongs. Pink-and-white
as I am, I’ll take my place: a line of black-
haired women aeons long, ancestors not
my own. Our toes are spread apart with cotton
balls, nails are trimmed and oiled, skins
are clean and blank as futures unforetold,
ready for the greenish paste that turns
my pallid nails the color of madrone,
that paints the ancient wedding patterns on
a bride-to-be somewhere across the date
line, each brown dot another
turn of our wheel.
Author’s Statement on Beauty
I’m finding it difficult to craft a statement about Beauty, “beauty” being one of those words we’ve loved and used and overused till it’s somewhat frayed around the edges. But I do think it’s beautiful when my pen has been circling a subject looking for a way in, and finds it; when I’ve been looking for something as perfect as an egg, and I find that, too. Beautiful.
Diane Lee Moomey has lived and wandered around the US and Canada, and now dips her gardener’s hands in California dirt. A regular reader at San Francisco Bay Area poetry venues, Diane has published prose and poetry, most recently in Mezzo Cammin, Glass: a Journal of Poetry; The Sand Hill Review, California Poetry Quarterly, Caesura and Red Wheelbarrow. She won first prize in the Sonnet category of the 2016 Soul Making Keats Literary Contest, and first prize in the Creative Non-Fiction category of the same competition. Diane is also a watercolorist and collage artist, an experience that both seeds and is seeded by, her poetic imagery. More at: https://dianeleemoomeyart.com/.