Maurice Manning has published seven books of poetry. His first book, Lawrence Booth’s Book of Visions, won the Yale Younger Poets Award, and his fourth, The Common Man, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Be sure to look for books by Manning in our online catalog.
Welcome to The Beat, a poetry podcast produced by Knox County Public Library. Today’s poem is from Maurice Manning’s new unpublished manuscript titled Raincrow, Scarecrow. You can, very truthfully, say you “heard it here first.” In the poem, we meet a man named Tinnie and a mule named Tick (think “tic” of a clock). To the speaker, I believe, the work of the mule helps to measure time. Here is the poem “One View of Time” by Maurice Manning.
"ONE VIEW OF TIME"
You have to squint to see that it’s there
under the eave at the peak of the barn,
the hook where they used to hang the pulley
when it was time to put up hay.
All Tinnie had to do was cluck
and the mule, ever a grace to watch,
would step away from the barn and haul
the haystack up to the shadowy mow,
and Tinnie would take a pole from the ground
to poke the stack and get it swinging
like the pendulum of a tall clock
until it swung into the mow,
and by some knowledge it had the mule
with further grace stepped back,
the rope went slack and the stack was gone.
The mule went on like that all day,
pulling up and stepping back
as stack after stack swung into the barn.
You’d think the barn was eating time,
but I’ve had other thoughts as well,
the figure of Tinnie May poking
a pendulum of hay to prod
along an afternoon of time,
for us to learn that it’s alive,
as if all it needed was a poke
and then you’d see it moving, time
rigged up at the top of the barn by a rope
passed through a pulley and hitched to a mule
Tinnie May called Tick, old Tick,
the mule who could travel back and forth
in time, as if time was his dominion
and he passed through it like a king.
[Text of the poem provided with permission of the poet.]
That was “One View of Time” by Maurice Manning, who was kind enough to record this poem for us in on his farm in Washington County, Kentucky. Manning teaches at Transylvania University and the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. He has published seven books of poetry. His first, Lawrence Booth’s Book of Visions, won the Yale Younger Poets Award, and his fourth, The Common Man, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Look for Maurice Manning’s books in our online catalog or call us at the Reference Desk at Lawson McGhee Library. Also look for links in the show notes. Please join us next time for The Beat.
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