Literature 4-8-2008

What Light: This Week’s Poem: Florence Chard Dacey

Read "After All My Life" by Florence Chard Dacey, this week's winning What Light poem, selected by Greg Watson. ALSO: We're in the midst of a new call for your What Light poetry submissions. SUBMISSION DEADLINE is April 19.

Florence Dacey

After All of My Life

Such a symphony of wind in trees
and boom of waves, this morning after
thunder, rain. I want to climb
the unfurling birch tree and leap, without thinking.
I want to curl into the cobalt barrel
of the wave and release against these shores.

Such a talking to my face, the truth
of what it means to live here, die here,
in each other’s company.
Make everything move, make
this old heart and mind shake
this morning after all of my life
I’ve moved through, like a mole,
like a wild turkey lost on the highway.

This is the magic world I never meant to leave.
The lichen are my first sturdy friends and they are many.
Graceful sticks rest across delicate blue flowers
and the dried black flies flutter somehow gaily too, in the web.

My body is a simpler heaviness
on the fire of ancient rock.

My spirit trembles like hidden seeds.

And in the high torn cloud,
a dark ring erases itself.


When I write I feel the most whole and least self-conscious.I write out of a feminist, maternal consciousness. I write to make meaning out of life and stay in touch with wonder. This poem came easily one morning, as I sat looking out at Lake Superior when I was a resident at the Norcroft Writing Retreat for women. A major focus in my current poetry writing is the natural world and how we can be in better balance with it.


Florence Chard Dacey of Cottonwood is the author of three poetry collections, The Swoon, The Necklace, and Maynard Went this Way. Her poetry has been published in numerous journals and anthologies, most recently in Farming Words, Dust and Fire, Out of Line, So To Speak, and To Sing Along the Way: Minnesota Women Poets From Pre-Territorial Days to the Present. She is the recipient of four McKnight/SMAHC Individual Artist Career Grants, a Loft-McKnight Award in poetry and a Pablo Neruda poetry prize. Her creative work includes the opera “Lightning,” which was performed by The Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater of Minneapolis. Over the past twenty years she has conducted scores of creative writing residencies and workshops in Minnesota schools and communities and is currently a roster artist for the Minnesota State Arts Board. She has lived in Cottonwood for almost forty years.

This week’s poetry and wine pairing: Szepsy 2005 Furmint Szent Tamas

Szepsy 2005 Furmint Szent Tamas is a Hungarian wine with an intense nose of lime, cream, churned butter and spicy tangerines. The mouth is softer than the nose with a ripe, richly citrus quality. There is a sense of mineral extract that leads to a fabulous finish – Wow! -WB