“Green”, “Ocean in August”

Green

by Jean Janzen

That summer the cornfields were drunk
with incessant rains, and at night
we could hear new leaves splitting
out of the rising stalks.

A gathering of teens in the park,
festival of gospel songs,
marimba and trumpet calling us
to dedication, to leave

even our fathers and mothers
for the true life with God.
The boys’ dark eyes, my sister
and I in voile dresses, hair glowing

in this green confusion.
“Softly and tenderly” throbbed
In our bodies and on our lips
like new grass emerging

in this wet country, a thick surge
of blades before the trampling
and mowing. So close
were we to our first home

Ocean in August

by Jean Janzen

The Pacific turns its face to the wall,
blue roar now reduced to gray swells
under a leaden sky. The immense
expanse in diminuendo, ritardando.
Summer ending in a sulk?

Tide out, I walk the pools surprised
by sea anemones in purple and pink
clusters, sandpipers feasting, seaweed
thick and floating. As though this lull
is harvest, a Sabbath rest. Crash of surf

given up, glare softened, and a sigh,
a secret fullness in the color gray.
The great surge gone deep, lounging now
on the sea floor where cracks widen,
where origins press and swirl.