Lay for the Day19th
Son House, bluesman, born on 21st March 1903 in Riverton, Mississippi,
died on this day in 1988.
A banging sheet of zinc,
folding, shearing, taking off,
The old cats rigor,
eyes clear and wide, like the mouth
baring her undulled canines,
the end of sickness outfaced like a night intruder.
Oblique rain beats the transmitted
palms and porches
and the foolhardier venturers-out.
Finned cars turned on their long American sides or roofs;
then the aerial overview and the voice-over,
glinting miles of drowned farmland,
bridges going nowhere in the middle of lakes.
Why is this all-steel National
with engraved tracery like the delicate
filaments and blooms of mud
in the slow-receding floodwaters
floating? And why do four blue fingers
like a TV hand caught reflected
in picture-glass, play Dry Spell Blues?
Four blue fingers and a short fast spell
of brass pipe.
Everything that dies goes
under the cherry tree,
loser pigeons, beloved cats,
and coming up to Easter
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