Phillis Levin’s “May Day” for this Beautiful Morning

We woke up to a delicious morning here in East Tennessee. Just slightly chill but with the promise of later warmth. A poem is in order, I think. I haven’t had time to fully unravel it yet, but I am intrigued by its ambiguous treatment of the past, how it is at once relinquished and relived.

Weeping cherry tree from my parents' yard.

Weeping cherry tree from my parents’ yard.

Happy May Day! Let us all “get drunk on/ The light in the leaves.”

Phillis Levin’s “May Day”

I’ve decided to waste my life again,
Like I used to: get drunk on
The light in the leaves, find a wall
Against which something can happen,

Whatever may have happened
Long ago—let a bullet hole echoing
The will of an executioner, a crevice
In which a love note was hidden,

Be a cell where a struggling tendril
Utters a few spare syllables at dawn.
I’ve decided to waste my life
In a new way, to forget whoever

Touched a hair on my head, because
It doesn’t matter what came to pass,
Only that it passed, because we repeat
Ourselves, we repeat ourselves.

I’ve decided to walk a long way
Out of the way, to allow something
Dreaded to waken for no good reason,
Let it go without saying,

Let it go as it will to the place
It will go without saying: a wall
Against which a body was pressed
For no good reason, other than this.

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