Consider the Way
by Natalie Graham
In the grip of the grind, we find ourselves stuck in the crank of worry, wound in the anxious
scrape and groan of its gears, the noisy engine of fear and its dull regular vibrations shuddering
the drums of our bodies. Here is where we find ourselves in front of an unknown path, a cloud
of unrelenting clatter alarming around us.
Come, consider another song, come and see
the choir of light tumbling through a canopy of trees,
your open hand rustling the dazzling drizzle of leaves
The familiar sounds of invisible animals,
the hum and crunch of the world beyond the clutch and grind.
Can you see it, the magic of light, peace,
already here falling like a glimmering twirl of leaves into your hands?
And farther a river, think of it,
A river wandering through, cutting the path in two,
the momentary bloom of lather
Snapping white against the rocks, this river trumpeting its water song,
its spray catching that same light, the gleaming slick of water.
This lush joy, and more, here in the soil the green wriggle of life shaking
a flower’s velvet brim and more
the glistening stem pointing farther still, you see it now,
a tiny gallop of wind threads a hill of poppies
that gather their nodding heads,
waving and leaning on their wiry stems
the fluted petals alive, like joy, in the wind.
Consider yourself the type to lay in the poppies and
whisper to the petals nuzzling each to each just above your head, dance,
you tell them absurd as it is, you say aloud dance
and they do. Alive in the same sun, so bright now that you close your eyes
and your whole body touching the ground,
a new rumble something deep thrumming,
the whole heart of the world in the petals of this flower,
in the leaves, in the water,
the wind flickering across the field,
the song of the world thrumming deep (Joy! Hope! Peace!)
a new season gleaming in the wet shimmer of grass.
Natalie J. Graham, a native of Gainesville, Florida, earned her M.F.A. in Creative Writing at the University of Florida and Ph.D. in American Studies at Michigan State University as a University Distinguished Fellow. Since moving to Orange County in 2013, Natalie has coordinated art-centered community events, workshops, and readings for hundreds of participants. She is an award-winning author and performer who has toured nationally with her collection of poems, Begin with a Failed Body. Her poems and articles have been published in San Francisco Chronicle, PEN America: A Journal for Writers and Readers, Callaloo, Obsidian, New England Review, Southern Humanities Review, The Journal of Popular Culture, and Transition. In August 2021, she was appointed Poet Laureate of Orange County.