I’m driving down the road, by my side a sack
of camellia blossoms and a bee.
The blossoms, their petals silky coins
of pink and red, are stacked and staggered,
some fluted at the edges, some specked with gold.
Beauty heaped in disarray,
though the wrinkled sack lacks all signs of it.
I’m driving down the road with a sack of beauty,
which, I can tell by the buzzing and tapping,
is an ill fit for the bee.
When I pick camellias, I know to hold the blossoms
upside down to free the bees
that may have tunneled deep.
Sometimes the bee does not emerge.
You must learn to look at the world upside down,
the preacher said at Phil’s funeral—
the preacher said this clearly, despite his stutter—
the world that will never be the same,
the tilt that stumbles me.
At the light I roll the window down
and open the sack, shaking it and imagining
a kiss of bitterness, and then another, stinging
and singing in circles at my head.
My forehead and nape, the softest
spot on my wrist—they crawl with the song.
But the bee does not emerge.
When the light turns green,
I bear right at Cosgrove—marsh, palmettos,
this sack of beauty. I hear the tapping again,
and again, each time fainter, until no more.
Reprinted from My Dear, Dear Stagger Grass (2013), Winner of the inaugural CPR Editors’ Prize book award. Republished with the permission of the Susan Laughter Meyers estate.
We at Cider Press Review are shocked and saddened by the sudden passing of Susan Laughter Meyers, an extraordinary poet and graceful, generous colleague. Susan Laughter Meyers won the inaugural Cider Press Review Editors’ Prize in 2012 with her manuscript My Dear, Dear Stagger Grass.
Susan was a lovely soul, a deft poet, a graceful and generous person, and a joy to work with. She will be sorely missed by everyone who knew her. Our condolences are with the many family and friends she left behind.
In advance of the release of My Dear Dear Stagger Grass, the Charleston Post and Courier ran a feature interview with author Susan Laughter Meyers. the Q & A by Adam Parker ran as the Feature in the People section of Charleston Post and Courier on Saturday, July 27.
Q: Why do you write poetry?
A: I feel most like myself when I’m in the habit of writing. My life is richer for it. I agree with those who say that poets write to make meaning of life, as well as those who say we write because we love language. Writing poems is simply a part of me.
Q: Tell me about your artistic journey. Have you always been a poet, or did you come to this work later in life? And what have you discovered along the way?
A: I’ve written poems since childhood, but it took me a long time to decide to study poetry seriously. I began to attend workshops and conferences to glean what I could, and I finally enrolled in the MFA program at Queens University of Charlotte, because I felt that I had taken my poetry as far as I could on my own.
Along the way I discovered that anybody can be a poet, and any reason to write poetry is admirable.
But if your purpose is to put your work out there for others to read or hear, you owe it to yourself to learn as much as you can about the craft of poetry and what sorts of poems have come historically before the contemporary scene.
I also learned, of course, that it takes more than craft to write the best poems. It takes, too, a willingness to let the poem make its wild leaps and unfold in its own way.
My Dear Dear Stagger Grass, winner of the 2012 Editors Prize from Cider Press Review, will be released August 15th, 2013. Pre-order your copies from the CPR bookstore today.
Read the complete Charleston Post and Courier interview here.