The Common Good

I’d like to introduce you to another poet friend of mine. Her name is Amber Haines. She has 4 sons, a guitar-playing husband, her blog – theRunaMuck, and rare friends. She loves the funky, the narrative, and the dirty South. Amber is curator with her husband Seth Haines of Mother Letters and a contributor at (In)courage and A Deeper Church. Her degree is in English/Creative Writing, and she has persevered through half an MFA in Poetry at The University Of Arkansas before birthing 3 boys in 3 years. There have been no signs pointing back to those workshops, so she feels perpetually unfinished, and yet the study is somehow better now. Oh, and I have it on good authority that Amber is working on a book right now; she told me so.

Amber, these words are beautiful, and your nod to red-eye gravy bolsters my grit for the day ahead. Thank you.

Cursed be the woman from whom all these beautiful things

Cursed be the woman from whom all these beautiful things
would come, the grandmother who expected little from the world
but plants in pot, song of only daughter, and the wild
nature of boys in a house with no underpinning,
chicken scraps along the edge. My eyes cry onions
to think of hot kitchen, talks about Methodists and Sabbath
while her crooked-finger boys come in no knock because its home.
We all dip the silent ladle in the tapped well,
bottom of which is center of earth.
 
There was everything dirty and iron, hands
wiped black on overall bibs, five men born
straight from Adam with war in their hearts.
 
Hair in the wire, hide on barn wall, blacksmith fire,
ancient parts bent thin to keep fit.
This is the red-eye gravyed god,
the farm in its smoldering work.
 
On her death, she moaned, eyes scrolled back,
all turning a morphined gold, she saw glory come,
and I nearly dropped a transmission between here and there
learning to drive a stick on a borrowed car;
 “in case of rapture, car will be unmanned.”
 
I didn’t want her to leave me,
friend of earth and needles and mine.
I went for mending one last time
and watched her mouth prayers for sons,
turn a breathless black-haired child,
then run wild into inner court of tiger lilies.
 
Years later now, brothers satisfy her prayer
and hold each other in the side yard,
 
sister gone.
 
Veil thin as sheets on a line. See her blessed ghost cry.
 

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17 Comments

  1. Teresa Evangeline on March 6, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    This is a beautiful, beautiful poem.

  2. deb colarossi on March 6, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    Amber’s writing is profoundly achingly a gift from God to her readers. Finding her a few years ago was profoundly achingly a gift to me.

    • amber c haines on March 6, 2013 at 6:43 pm

      deb, you are one of the people I long to meet in real life. your own poetry is a gift to me. Thank you, sister.

  3. vitafamiliae (@vitafamiliae) on March 6, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    So gorgeous. Crying.

    • amber c haines on March 6, 2013 at 6:44 pm

      LL, you’re a sop of emotion today, aren’t you? I love it! Thank you, Alabama sister.

  4. dearabbyleigh on March 6, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    shoot amber. just shoot.

    • amber c haines on March 6, 2013 at 6:46 pm

      I’ve said that under my breath about you, too. love you, abs.

  5. pastordt on March 6, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    I’m with Abby. SHOOT, woman. So.Many.Dang.Gifts. Thank you.

    • amber c haines on March 6, 2013 at 6:46 pm

      I love that you’re pastordt here! 🙂 Thank you. You never stop encouraging, do you?

  6. Kelly @ Love Well on March 6, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    Amber, I think you see with your soul, with the very breath of God that fills your middle being.

  7. Tanya Marlow on March 6, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    I exhaled with awe and tears at the end of this. I think it was these lines in particular that undid me:

    turn a breathless black-haired child,
    then run wild into inner court of tiger lilies.

    Years later now, brothers satisfy her prayer
    and hold each other in the side yard,

    sister gone.

    Veil thin as sheets on a line. See her blessed ghost cry.

    Oo, I love this stuff. Love it. Thank you.

  8. laural on March 6, 2013 at 11:17 pm

    That first stanza. Left me a bit breathless. Feeling these words down to the center of me. I thought I’d take the easy way out and comment on the poem instead of on feminism (you rocked that post too) but here I am. Speechless.

  9. LA Mama on March 7, 2013 at 3:15 am

    Lovely.

  10. Brandee Shafer on March 7, 2013 at 5:16 am

    You make me love it even more, the South.

  11. Teresa on March 7, 2013 at 7:45 am

    She is one of my favorites…..This is beautiful

  12. Sam on March 7, 2013 at 11:50 am

    Wow. Thanks for this. I’d never heard of her before and am now enjoying reading some of her blogs. So thank you. Hopefully i can return the favour and introduce you to my favourite poet, J K Rowbory. You may have heard of her before but here she is anyway, just in case: http://www.jkrowbory.co.uk/2012/10/in-celebration-of-national-poetry-day-2012/

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