Ordinary Ode

By Michael Lavers

Sure, Horace, praise the ordinary—
milkweed days, a cow, the crackling
static of the swaying grain. Say yes,
the way the cut hay steams in sun is good,
the way the dahlias bloom in rain.
Say that a hundred shades of dusk
armor the trout, that a pear’s full burden
suits the bough. But when the fire
jumps, or if the fever stays,
when sorrows blacken in the brain
like mold—how could it matter
that some wet grass shone? That grapes
grow sweet? That birches shake in wind,
gilding the new graves with their gold?

Michael Lavers is the author of After Earth, published by the University of Tampa Press. His poems have appeared in Ploughshares, AGNI, The Hudson Review, Best New Poets 2015, The Georgia Review, and elsewhere. Winner of the Chad Walsh Poetry Prize, the University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor’s International Poetry Prize, and the Bridport Poetry Prize, he lives in Provo, Utah, and teaches at Brigham Young University.

Originally published NOR 29.

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