Friday, March 13, 2015

3 poems: Sybil Pittman Estess

Poet Laureate nominee Sybil Pittman Estess will read from her new book— Like That: New and Selected Poems -- at the Friendswood Public Library on Thursday, March 26 at 7pm. Sybil Pittman Estess, Ph.D. has been nominated for Poet Laureate of the State of Texas for 2015, and was one of eight finalists for Poet Laureate in 2009.  Her previous poetry volumes include: Maneuvers, 2010, by Inleaf Press; Labyrinth, Pecan Grove Press, 2007; Blue, Candled in January Sun, Word Tech Communications, 2005; and Seeing the Desert Green, Latitudes Press, 1987. 

Also, Ted Estess, University of Houston Honors College Founding Dean, will read from his latest book, Fishing Spirit Lake.

The three poems below can be found in the Sybil Estess book Like That: New and Selected Poems.




We float on a three-year-old sailboat,
“Enchantment,” bought from Maine.

We leave from Long Island. By motor.
We moor in moonlight, an hour past

Port Jefferson. At midnight, waves
rock, cradle all of us. With open hatch,

we sleep in twin births. No cuddling.
Cold wind on water. The co-captain

couple inhabit main cabin. In night
I think:  not many restore old crafts such

as this one, or pilot them now. Only
learned sailors comprehend “Geo-positioning

System.” Or read satellites. Mark correct
coordinates on charts. But our two loving,

married mates do. She even with her MS
disease. They do not get lost, since they heed

all these angels. They use their depth-finders
diligently. They are aware: without careful

instruments, testing (how this relates to that),
anyone can run aground. . . At daylight

with no dawn on Independence Day, for
six hours our boat points north, slowly.

We traverse the sound by same motor.
No sails, at nine knots. Every craft today

creeps in fog, dangerously. We search
the precarious way over to shore for lost

land. Meanwhile, my old love, all day I
plumb our own depths, alone, by a means

few do. I read poems, collected, called
On Love. Like this boat, these transport me

to new places. They are my sole means
to imagination, the one path through haze.

Mid-afternoon, with no warning, Connecticut
suddenly unveils—solid green marvel.

We are mysteriously there:  July 4: a new country.
The third sea-day, we go north, toward Rhode

Island. I think how yesterday the fog, like
our lives, had been holding us back so long

from solid sun, bright, unbroken.
Mistiness finished, today Newport.

~Sybil Pittman Estess


Nearly twenty summers here. Seven in our house
we built. We two imagined the “here” as if
heaven. As if we ourselves planed these pine

logs. You drew it, facing the water at nearly
9,000 feet. I collected carefully each furnishing
for two years in Houston, scavenged like a rat.

We built dams over any flood of disappointment,
like the beavers do who gnaw here. I envisioned
each of six rooms, what would go where: color,

texture, and theme. That January you ascended
to frozen paradise to prod builders. Two icy weeks
below zero you worked at their sides with hammer

and fur gloves. In May we moved in. I thought
I had never seen such glory, such an image become
life. It was everything we'd labored for. More. Now...
I find nothing much external excites me. Not even
the entire Rocky Range, with its few ice peaks this July.
June's killing fires didn't touch me. (So what if it burns?)

Time with its happen stances has seared us too - like forest
crisps - with its refining blaze. Are outer views now
irrelevant? As your humorous dead brother once laughed,

“Bodies' parts begin to fall off. They're not under
warranty.” At seventy, like these huge Osprey
 here, we dive deep to feed. We have mostly soul left.

~Sybil Pittman Estess

                                                                     THE BEACH

A child plays on sand by waves
out my door at the motel in Galveston.

He pulls something - wagon? No, surfboard.
He waits for his brother to come. Then

he runs away fast, beyond my horizon.
It's 8:30, a Sunday morning.

I was one child In Florida more than
fifty years before. I was a girl, age nine

when Daddy first took us. He soon died. I am
always wayfaring to water. My place is

clear, aqua, 1950s sand paradise. I still see
myself, waiting for my sister, and Daddy. I am

this child.

~Sybil Pittman Estess

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