Image by Livio Burtscher via Flickr Creative Commons

Poetry Corner – September 2014

Edited by Richard Stone

Bob Navarro is well-known in our community as a lawyer active in civil rights affairs and as a Film Works Board member. Who knew he is also a poet—though I do remember he participated in a theatrical reading with Vince Lavery many years ago. Although we usually look for politically tinged poetry for the Community Alliance, this is more of a love poem than anything else. But between Navarro’s credentials, the references to Fresno’s weather conditions and its literary merit, it deserves inclusion.

Carolyn and the Drought

Outside the rivulet run window,
rain pours in endless array—
soft, as when climbing Knocknarea,
hard as the dumb, petulant fists
of rage today pummeling the land,
slanted like stealth itself, as when
an ocean squall soaked us on the
road toward Dursey Island, and now
straight down on this desiccated town,
knocking leaves, long dead and sighing
for an erg of push or pull, from trees
whose taps are long cowed by drought.
And the streets have become currents,
the drains have burst and culverts swamped,
water wins the day.
But not a bit of it is true,
of course, as we are in Fresno
in Summer when the air
is drier than an empty kettle
left burning and rattling on the flame,
and my mind has been divining
the sound of water upon water.
While the facts as told are false,
the dream I have told is true.
I could tell our harried Jesus
a thing or two about the long,
desert walk and its temptations,
but I am quenched now, love-drowned,
well watered like a date grove deep
in Araby where green fronds
weave a canopy of grace.
Where ever I go these days,
it seems to rain, plentiful and
right, as they say, even here
where mere footsteps can strike sparks
off the flint of Fresno.

  • The Community Alliance is a monthly newspaper that has been published in Fresno, California, since 1996. The purpose of the newspaper is to help build a progressive movement for social and economic justice.

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