Poems by Emma Poems for Emma
The Intent Emma’s Golden Road
Feb. 29, 1984 Emma’s Song
The Best

by Emma Knowlton Lytle

Contrive a history of life, long poem
in sonnets, like a journal. Measured time,
recorded mystic thoughts, an infant Boehm
without question, listening to the chime,
the “Music of the Spheres”, the peace within.
In color, warmth and comfort more than sin.
At this rested age no sin, no ploy
can tempt. The moment comes for thought,
and questions; memories too dim for care,
but some so vivid they become a part
of heaven and here. Can life add up to naught?
No, never true. The part that’s lost I pare
too easily from thought. Now, therefore, I start.

From the 1984 Sonnet Series: Bring Some Truth,
by Emma Knowlton Lytle


FEBRUARY 29, 1984, Leap Day
by Emma Knowlton Lytle

Pure narrative is difficult against
The sonnet form. It would not be so hard
If time itself were not beyond my strength
To sort, so memory could keep a card
Of each event timed chronologically.
The day to day details are mostly gone.
A residue of spirit is all I see
When I look back. I try to make a song,
A forward, to prepare the story’s way,
To be in words some essence of all life,
That may for someone help to bring that day
Of understanding that alone ends strife.
Some day the strife may die within us all.
This day we must begin to lift the pall.

From the 1984 Sonnet Series: Bring Some Truth,
by Emma Knowlton Lytle



by Carolyn Elkins

It happened to her only a few times
though she used to drive a lot. She came around
that corner that moved the low sun
from where it had been
riding in her side window
to shining down her back
and straight on through her,
turning the long road ahead
into sudden gold. And once —
a ride she still goes down in dreams —
the road in front was rising
into low hills, and the rain
had made the blacktop shine
so that the sun behind and the road
and hills and sky ahead, all
became one fire
through which she seemed to fly
out from the sun
shooting across radiant space
on an infinite stream of light.
The universe seemed what it must be
then, a journey instead of a place,
a road she had yet to set out on,
and had long ago been down

Carolyn Elkins, for Emma



by Terry Everett

She in whom the Word resides, Emma,
looks daily across green fields or brown
into gray and rosy dawns,
into blue mornings and afternoons,
into azure noons and orange suns pulling
down the purple dusks that linger long
in this Delta where the level land
stretches to make this faraway country
she has loved long and well, and with her hands
out of the light she sees, out of the light she is,
she makes a veiled woman dance on canvas,
or an “I” stretch beyond the stratosphere,
or a bust be forever in bronze,
or a group gather for the last time
and yet forever in the canvas water
Blacks in white robes for outdoor baptism,
or a robin run across the page
of one of her aubades or sonnets.
She in whom the Word resides: Emma.

Terry Everett, for Emma



ABOUT THE BEST, Poem for Emma Knowlton Lytle:
I wrote the following poem to celebrate Mother. She pushed back against the norm to create her art and her life — to create her artistic gifts for all of us and these gifts are to live what you believe, live in love, practice forgiveness. She knew we are all one people, in one world.


I always thought she could
scream at the gods
the best. She has to as a woman
and an artist.
In the studio, in the fields,
on a soapbox, behind a lectern,
at the ballot box. How else
could she tuck potency
into a near century of life,
path finding? In walking the Delta
fields, silence collides with wind,
roar blurs land and sky. She sees.
Hears. Sun starches green to white.
In her studio her palette
the spectrum of eternity. Chisels.
Film, photographs, paintings. Colors
piled in time immediate,
all time. Brushes radiating
possibility. Transforming.
Art to change
your mind, your heart.
Paradox. Giving. Black
on white. Awake and always poised.

Suze, for Mother



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