for Northfield, Minnesota
During the wanderings of my childhood,
I would dream of a little wooden house
set on a quiet street, sheltered by lush trees.
There would be rising fragrance of cut grass
and roses. Near the doorbell, my own mailbox.
All hopes centered on one syllable: HOME.
Now, I see double-heavenily. Here,
on the edge of the prairie, just uphill
from the blue river, really quite near
to our local shops, arts guild, and library—
and twin shining campuses—I put roots down
every day, among friends, in a HOME TOWN.
It interests me that the first poem of this experimental month (of the National Poetry Writing Month challenge) is a meditation on both my physical home in Northfield and my artistic home in poetry. As a yoga student and poet, I have often pondered the connections and resonances vibrating between the single syllables of “poem” and “home” and “OM”. Lately, I have been preoccupied by the expansion of the ideas expressed by the doubling of that one syllable in the concept-word “home town”.
For those who don’t pour over books of prosody, a “spondee” is a metrical unit of two long (or “stressed” or “accented”) syllables. A spondee acts like a brick wall (another spondee!) Spondees slow things down with their inherent solidity and, in this way, contrast markedly with the natural flow of English speech as represent in the heart beat (spondee) of the iambic line: “That time of year thou mayst in me behold….” (Shakespeare, sonnet 73)
I see (spondee) from The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics that “spondee” comes from the Greek, ” ‘used at a libation’ poured to the accompaniment of the 2 long notes…” I think I shall go out and pour a small libation of my own onto the bricks of the patio Tim laid down (spondee), two thimblefuls of red wine (spondee) to concretely express this moment’s joy of a full heart. Then sit down and savor a cup of green tea.