The U2 must like me. I wrote this poem in one sitting, getting on the U-Bahn at Schönhauser Allee and getting out at Sophie-Charlotte-Platz. That doesn’t happen very often, but I can see how Emily Dickinson wrote so many poems in so short a time. The ballad hymns almost write themselves. The short lines, 8s and 6s, don’t give much scope for over-thinking, especially if one rhymes. One goes where the rhymes lead. The trick is to make them seem wholly coincidental—as if the poet had no idea, none at all, that the poem was rhyming. And if the reader doesn’t notice, all the better.
I otherwise would hardly write
(These poems are hit or miss)
But here I sit, alone tonight,
Still thinking of your kiss.
Just so you know, a storm came through;
The garden is a mess.
You ought to see the honeydew.
They're floating more or less.
The mellons drift from row to row,
And peas are here and there.
Don't bother asking if I know
Which vegetables are where.
But I can tell you either way
The mellons are delicious,
The flesh— so cool, so sweet. To say
Much more would be seditious.
I washed the dirt from some tomatoes;
Diced and tossed them in
With several waterlogged potatoes—
(The soup's a little thin).
The weather teaches us, I guess,
What is and isn't ours—
But have I mentioned, nonetheless,
How beautiful the stars?
Written on the U2 on August 31
I’ve extended my stay in Berlin until the middle of August. The weather in the poem was inspired by weather, not in Berlin, but back home in Vermont. Something like a small tornado or wind sheer came through and dropped trees across roads, on top of cars and rooftops. That got me thinking about the garden and raspberries in our backyard.
Also, another picture from the city of my birth.