Married Moscow poets Susan and D’Wayne Hodgin will read from their work at 7 p.m. Friday at the free, fifth annual Wine, Chocolate and Poetry event at the Potlatch Library.
Susan is a southeastern Louisiana native whose career in language arts education led to her coach four Idaho state winners of the Poetry Out Loud contest. She is serving as Moscow’s second poet laureate (2018-21). Her most recent poems were published in “50/50, Poems & Translations by Womxn over 50” by Quills Edge Press.
D’Wayne is a retired University of Idaho English lecturer. He found his direction as an English teacher and literature lover in 1967 while serving in the 1st Infantry in Vietnam. He has published short stories and poems in various literary magazines over the last four decades.
In this weeks’ edition we’re featuring a poem by each of them.
— Inland 360 staff
The World Underfoot
By Susan Hodgin
“Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.”
— Henry David Thoreau, “Walden”
So this is what it must have felt like,
you say as you sink lithely,
not as in mud, off-balance and sliding,
but in decades of leaves, decomposed,
the scent of stirred spores, white mildew
wafting through air.
since Dad’s death, the ground feels so richly new.
Aging, Mother let the land go
wild as she by-passed
this stand of trees to fetch her morning mail
from the roadside box.
Now you stand in Eden’s dappled light,
lawn rake in hand, helping
her with the land, this earth so
thick under canopies
of magnolia, crepe myrtle,
long-leaf pine. You wonder
at the cushion of spongy ground,
this reality loam
of tortoise, armadillo, skunk, possum, jay.
These found Mother’s yard—
a forest path—
where Choctaw once stood
with heaven underfoot.
Note: Originally published online Dec. 2017 in the Inlander.
Picture of My Mother Alone on Her Wedding Day
by D’Wayne Hodgin
In long nights your picture draws me, and I bear
your dark eyes alive like the still rose
above your breast. Wed in early spring,
you hold against the light your timeless smile
for me, alone years later, but I turn
from you and rise to the window and rain.
Darkness seeps in scattered light through the rain
streaming above the bush, budding to bear
later in this wet time, when rains turn
warm from cold morning a huge golden rose.
The window diffuses my face; no smile
rises in the haphazard dark of spring.
But your memory flows like a deep spring
in me, sure, safe, enduring as the rain.
I see in this other window your smile,
slight but strong. You were unable to bear
our mistakes as full as you wished, but rose
with them heavy until they forced your turn
from us. We waited in the church our turn
to hold you to us one last time in spring.
Your husband and five sons, weak without you, rose
as one and carried you into the rain,
each one of us – alone – unable to bear
that awful weight your softened words and smile
had told us soon would be only our smile
alone. Beneath the leafing oaks we turned
before you, wanting you again to bear
us close. We stood still in that soiled spring
waiting for fecund silence filled with rain
to force us each to throw a golden rose
after you. Each to his own, we rose
from you. Now, in this clear window, I smile
as your dark eyes come back to me in rain.
Your picture cannot hold you as I turn
and pull the curtain full to night and spring
and rain. Tomorrow I will lightly bear
a golden rose for you, refuse to turn
from your smile in the fullness of spring,
reborn in all the rain that I can bear.