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Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2006 08:59 am

People's Poetry

Jacqueline Jackson presents

lakepoem #7

what this summer I am denied is
what I love best about being here
naked in the still dawn the chill
water welcoming my gliding
breaststroke through the shade
of the wooded hill behind
me till far out
I come into the sunlight
on the water
the rays first on my hands
a moment almost
sacred in its pleasure then
the warmth
on my hair my skin as velvet as
a newborn my body nearly
as supple
I dip and surface like an eel
my heart when it heals will
allow it
another summer a time will
come though
when this will cease instead
of pause
if heaven is what we each make it
then mine will be swimming out
to meet the sunlight in the dawn

© Jacqueline Jackson 2006

While our infinitely patient father waited outside, smoking Camel cigarettes in his black-and-silver Ford Fairlane, my sisters and I would pillage the Ida Public Library on Saturday afternoons. I could still tell you the exact locations in the children’s library of the little orange biographies, Dr. Dolittle, the Little House books, Johnny Tremain, and Mr. Popper’s Penguins. The librarians who’d ushered my mother through childhood eyed me suspiciously when I ventured into the adult section, on the other side of the circulation desk, but they didn’t begrudge me the Robert Benchley and Ogden Nash books I found there. They weren’t so kind to my sister. When she tried to check out the Harold Robbins book Where Love Has Gone, they narrowed their eyes and stiffened their necks. “Does your mother know you’re reading this?” they asked.
Librarians know that what we read we become. In the following poem, Celia Wesle has captured the magic of Lincoln Library. — Carol Manley, guest editor

In Lincoln Library

To allay old age
breathlessness and fatigue
she chooses the effortless
claustrophobic lift
to do her art and music
book business upstairs.

Then she turns to the center
of the big room
where a huge skylight
illumines the broad stairway.
She pauses at the top,
one day a queen
another a bride
in long jeweled
but weightless garments,
sweeps airborne down
slowly and
majestically.

Celia Wesle is an artist and poet. She has been a schoolteacher and consultant to the State Board of Education, as well as a teacher of yoga and dance. A member of several local writing groups, she brings a balance of spirituality and physicality to her work.

Send submissions to Jacqueline Jackson Presents People’s Poetry to poetry@illinoistimes.com or to Illinois Times, P.O. Box 5256, Springfield, IL 62705.

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