Barry Ballard's sonnets have most recently appeared in Smartish Pace, Rosebud, The Evansville Review, and National Forum. His poetry collection First Probe to Antarctica received the Bright Hill Press Award for 2001, and Plowing to The End of The Road was recognized with the 2002 Finishing Line Press Award and subsequently nominated for a 2003 Pushcart Prize.
See other poetry by Barry Ballard published in Weber Studies: Vol. 18.1 and Vol. 23.1.
Sea of Rains
Whistle at the moon from the deep friction
of that last thought coming undone. Let the seed-
like particles of your sound waves connect
(where even the Mare' Imbrium could raise
its walled plains at the back of your tongue).
Fill it with the rains of your life's stories,
the condensation of your steaming breath
beading up the mortality of each day.
Did you ever think its promise could run
in circles so deep, that its fragmented glow
could illuminate a side you haven't seen:
the missing pieces of your world-view (undone
in that swallow of its timeless history, redeemed
past bombardment, the craters, and shadows)?
Inside my father is the last vision
of water, a small lake of no consequence
in northern Michigan. His existence
rests somewhere between that place and the numb
reality of a cancer that grows
against his sight. We visit through Chippewa
skies, and warm our feet in bleached sand that crawls
deeper into the Pines and their soft shadows.
And it seems that our memory (our love
and regrets) always evolve to this:
a morning that opens before it has moved,
a mirror of forgiveness we're allowed to touch,
or the reach of our arms through the early mist,
as if everything was new ahead of us.
The light from that blast reached us on July 4th, 1054.
It was visible in daylight for over three weeks.
On the Crab Nebula
If a star can project a sound (a song
of mourning from the heavy iron core
of stressed neutrons), then I wonder how long
it would take for our conscience to explore
the ashes of its three billion degree
furnace. How long before we could see ourselves
inside a finite history compressed like seed,
inside a bright music that roars and melts?
How long before everything we've believed
is imploded and ejected like scarlet
folds of nebula: our story, our new
beginning, convulsing as it bleeds
for twenty-three days in broad daylight, etched
across the sky like a soul we look through?