Melancholy

I don’t know if kids are still made
to take them, the Iowa Tests,
of course I could look it up,
not beyond googling, but Wiki
has no memory of this echo.

I was in the 8th grade, yellow
#2 black bile pencil at the ready,
desk cleared, humors silent.
This one was a vocabulary test,
and one word from it sticks

in memory still: melancholy.
Four choices, and I pick
happy, reasoning based
solely on sound – I thought
the tinkling mellow, jolly

joyful
and cock-a-hooped
filled the circle C and
moved to the next word.
Later, I happened to ask

Sister Mary what it meant,
melancholy, and whadayaknow,
I was veracious
and ran out to recess
happy as a clam at high tide.

A Shuck of Stone

When the lemon yellow of a doubtful flower tells lies
And the hush pink plum blossoms first fail to surmise
A touch and a kiss turn to stone.

When the steep turn toward the dark cherry dyes
And find winkle’s wake still seeping under the sash
A drink and a dress turn to stone.

To turn to stone is not to die and worm away
A stone never slept nor arose
A stone is a stone is a stone is a stone.

When knickknacks walk and talk and wingding
The livelong night no wonder
A flower turns to stone.

Hearths are made of stone, and wheels, and paths,
And walls, and dwellings, and churches, and busts.
A stone thrown skiffles across water and plops.

When a shuck of stone falls from the sky
Not a soft place on the land to nest
A tempest has turned to stone.

When in spring one feels petrified
Curl and pit and weigh and hurl
Slink and creep and push and pull.

When the angels of spring go stone
Old stones erupt in new waves
And lyrical flowers woe no bloom.