In this week’s poem, “Parallel to the Season” by Sharif Elmusa, we find a hymn to spring and the way it rhythms our steps and our perceptions. I love this poem’s imaginative and whimsical eye for the cast of spring, and how it conveys the energy and even weirdness of this time of transition.
Elmusa is a scholar, poet, and professor emeritus at the American University in Cairo. In addition to his academic publications on the environment, he has co-edited “Grape Leaves: A Century of Arab American Poetry” and is the author of the poetry collection “Flawed Landscape”. Her poems and essays have appeared in numerous periodicals and anthologies, including Littoral Books’ Enough!, and he has presented his work at the Belfast Poetry Festival and Gulf of Maine Books. He spends his summers in Arrowsic.
Along with the season
By Sharif S. Elmusa
My body says: walk.
The sidewalk signals that it is the road.
Traffic lights, townhouses, mini gardens.
Crocuses, little roosters
announcing the resurrection of spring
in purple, white and yellow,
taunt the totalitarian
the green of the ivy,
the greed of their predator.
The fig tree, skilfully pruned,
hard fruits punctuating the twigs—
is good-natured, a model
posing for the photo.
A half-broken statue,
in the palm of his hand
a pariah blade of grass,
tilted head: I’m in a delicate mood.
I evolve parallel to the season,
One step after another.
To each his own path,
cries the squirrel,
a pumped up acrobat,
flowing along telephone cables,
fly to the trunk of an oak tree.
The immodest azalea—
beauty born from pain—
encourages us not to hang around
on the way to love.
A man suddenly stops me,
and, smiling, like someone who knows
he won’t be disappointed, he asks,
Are you Pedro, the poet from Guatemala?
On bumpy sidewalks
I stumble over words.
Megan Grumbling is a poet and writer living in Portland. Deep Water: Maine Poems is produced in conjunction with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. “America” copyright © 2021 by Sharif Elmusa, appears with the permission of the author.
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