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The Relationship Between Nouns and Verbs

20 April, 2018


by Andrew Field

The Relationship Between Nouns and Verbs

The mind balks and the mind breaks.
The mind talks and stutters, mutters nonsense before it sleeps.
Sleet falls. Light falls, bodies fall, we fail each other.
My mother has been falling, so now she walks apprehensively.
The heart breaks like a plate;
it makes the word “shatter” and the mind burns.
Poetry matters. Poetry matters and poetry mutters, stutters and staggers,
staggers forwards towards the morning-fallen snow, and knows it all inti­mately:
how my father knows my mother, how my mother knows herself,
how the snow falls slowly, like shreds of paper,
like my mother’s writing, torn into pieces. My mother wrote.
She wrote for the Detroit News,
she dragged my brothers and me around; she laughed and we laughed;
she took us to apple orchards
and puppet plays and museums. The mind balks.
The moment I knew my mother was sick,
I felt I was falling, and my heart broke like a plate.
At night, in the neutral light of the study, I embraced my father.
Eyes brimmed, the mind trembled and the heart welled.
Time walked. It walked over us, broken stones.
My mother falls, my father cries, I cry and time walks.
The future trembles, and the cold moans.
My mother smiles. She says, “I love you, Andrew.”
The heart breaks. The mind balks.

“The Relationship Between Nouns and Verbs,” by Andrew Field, from All I Want. Red Flag Poetry, 2016. Used by permission of the author.
Andrew Field is earning his master’s degree in library and information science from
Kent State University, and he works at two libraries. He has published poems in Whole Beast Rag, Ohio Edit, Ocean State Review and Mantis: A Journal of Poetry, Criticism, and Translation. He has also published essays about poetry in THEthe Poetry Blog, BODY Literature and The California Journal of Poetics and book reviews at The Rumpus and Jerry Magazine. He enjoys artsy movies, Clement Greenberg and trying to experience the world though Whitman’s eyes.


Choose a worry or concern of yours. Then, in a poem, describe it and create a chant, warning or magic spell to cure it.

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READ + WRITE: 30 Days of Poetry is a collaboration between Cuyahoga County Public Library and poet Diane Kendig. Our thanks go to Diane and the poets of Northeast Ohio who allowed us to share their poetry.