Images That Stick and My Poem “Becoming”

December 27, 2013

Jasper and sunflower.

Jasper and sunflower.

Who’s to say how images come to stick in our mind and how they make their way into our poetry?

There’s an image of my oldest son, Jasper, that stuck with me over the years and I recently ran across a photograph that captured the image and inspired lines in my poem, “Becoming.”

“The way a sunflower towers over a child,

each year growing shorter–

–no, the child growing taller.”

In the photograph my son is in the summer of his second year. We we were living in Anchorage, Alaska, where the sunflowers grow tall in the nearly full-day sun.

He’s measuring himself up against a sunflower — and bending the sunflower down to touch his head.

There are other images of Jasper in his youth that appear in that poem and things that we saw out on hikes together.

Here is my poem, “Becoming”:

 

Say that childhood memory

has more relevance than yesterday–

          a moose calf curled up against the side of a house

merely saying it may make it so.

The way a sunflower towers over a child,

each year growing shorter–

         a hermit crab crawling out of a coconut

–no, the child growing taller.

        a sharp-shinned hawk swooping over a stubble field

imagining the earth, “the earth is all before me,”

blossoming as it stretches to the sun–

      a brilliant red eft – baby salamander — held aloft in a small, pink hand

Is home the mother’s embrace?

     a white cabbage butterfly flitting atop purple flox

The child sees his world or hers

     stroking the furry back of a bumblebee

head full of seed, until it droops,

spent, ready to sow the seeds.

Say that our presence in the world

          a millipede curling up at the child’s slightest touch

is making the book of our becoming.

–Scott Edward Anderson 

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One Response to “Images That Stick and My Poem “Becoming””

  1. lee langbaum Says:

    Lucky Jasper….. Xoxo

    Sent from my iPad

    >


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