Saturday, December 15, 2007

Margaret Wise Brown/Poem: Reverant Road

Margaret Wise Brown helped make children's books profitable, because she understood that children experience books as sensual objects. She invested in high-quality color illustrations, and she printed her books on strong paper with durable bindings, so that children could grab, squeeze, and bite their books the way they did with all their toys. And then, in 1947, she published her own book, Goodnight Moon.

Reverent Road

Mostly on Sundays
stuffed in a black
fifty-five Ford.
Some of us with rosaries
others kept track on fingers.
Destination; our sister’s house
by route of Lake City Way.
We saw no lake or skyscrapers.
The drive was longer than the five decades
we prayed.

All praise to Mary fades
as we approach railroad tracks.
Dad slows the car, like a bus
laden with children.
These were dad’s tracks:
Northern Pacific, Burlington Northern,
names that filled the pause
between beads. We, ever familiar
bowed till tires bumped no more
and tracks disappeared into
the great asphalt way.

Dad’s beliefs chugged in my mind,
his gods of steam and diesel-
gods of destination and strength.
His creation brought forth
from steel tracks.

When cancer struck my father;
a derailment of mind from reason,
it rolled him onto deaths spur.