Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Wild Goose Songs
—Photo by Taylor Graham
OFF LEASH AT THE POND
—Taylor Graham, Placerville
She wades out into reedy shallows,
the pond smelling of swamp-
water, fishes, frogs,
feather of an egret. Something leaps
from under into blue
air to disappear at the end of its visible
flight. All she's known of oceans
is a water-bowl spilled
on the kitchen floor. She puppy-
whirls in unexpected
splashes, rainbow scatters of light.
Her brief world
has never been so pliant, so
possible, water un-composing
itself. She dashes
making waves of untamed Vs
flying across the surface
faster than she can water-sault.
Throw a stick beyond,
it floats above deeper. She circles it
bobbing—her own legs
teaching her to swim, become water-
scape wild on wild. Ripples
to the far shore.
We'll take home a drenched
puppy smelling of wet
dog, swamp-water she takes with
her, home. She'll be
swimming dreams tonight.
That night the moon was broken—
the Poet's Moon for walking unleashed
fancies in the dark. The moon
that moves things from their daylight
places. The moon of broken ropes
and latches. And in the dark
I saw a golden glow from the barn-
yard. The sheep were gathered 'round
the light of a Coleman lantern
filched from the shed. They sat in a
circle, ankles crossed over shanks,
one ram and three ewes gazing intent
at the cards they held in cloven
hooves; the lambs clustered around
the half-lit fringes. Rosy was
dealing. Freckles, poker-face; Sophie
trying to peek at her cousin's
hand; Tygh-bo inscrutable behind
his agate eyes. What game of cards
do sheep play, while in the dim house
their masters watch TV?
How high are the stakes? I turned
to ask the moon, but she was broken,
all her fancies free to fly.
SAFETY OF THE VERSE
She left no trace. Yes she did. The entire
record of her passing, to be kept
perfectly intact in the poets' museum.
Everything in place, nothing missing but her
self. No monsters, no animals
at large, even though her disappearing
scent collected in shady spots, bent
leaves of grass, ink-splotches and pen-clicks,
evidence indecipherable as a mind
under the barely turning aero-blades
capable of whirling flat-pitch, ready to rise,
to hover, lethal as words. Burned,
shredded. Do footprints, fingerprints,
first drafts remain? She could go anywhere
if she just keeps walking off the page.
NIGHT ON SOUTH FORK
Above winter-stripped cottonwoods,
sky runs rivers of dusky rose,
sunset flickering cinnamon-cherry
in the words of some old poet,
blackberry-wine to lavender. Bouquet
somebody called it of wood-
smoke from somewhere upcanyon,
safe at home. We'll camp
under flashflood high-water mark,
scent of thunder from over
the rim. River rushing down, away;
have you heard demented
spirits running the rapids? Stories old
as rocks. Pack-string stormy-
restless—black jack and pale jenny
pulling against their tethers.
Wind. Wild goose song of leaving.
TO OUR NEWEST GOSLING
—Tom Goff, Carmichael
Come with me, my daring, darling
young gosling. You shine with soft promise
even with your feathers fluffed out still,
still downily rough. Come with your
father, mother, ride goosedown
the skirts of the rapids to wildest places.
I’ll teach you to swim behind cousins and uncles,
bob in line ahead with your siblings, dear gosling.
Together we’ll train your developing
wings and flight feathers, we’ll
learn you to gulp fish, seed, bread
cast into tangles of water. Avoid the random
strange switch-wielding goose girl
(we’ll show you how wing-swinging,
cry-striding aggressive advances
will bluff her to back off), and above all avoid
odd coyote pairs clenched into horde.
Don’t disturb, dear, the swift-gliding
beaver’s waterlogged longhouse
with stray awkward-webbed kicks.
But come float where our life leads,
where our death waits someday in slow
shallows, come and make egg turn chick turn
gosling turn goose like you, youngling,
my tall-growing gooseneck darling, my
everdying sweet liebchen of the unloving wilds…
Thanks to our two TG's for today's Kitchen delights! We're talking about Where the Wild Goose Goes, and we're fiddling around with Phillip Larrea's TriCubes [see Taylor Graham's LittleNip]. Check out the green board over at the right of this column for details on our Seed of the Week and our Forms to Fiddle With. Send us one (or more) of each. C'mon—ya know ya want to......
Then scroll down to the blue board and make a note of all the readings that are happening tomorrow. You're going to have to make some choices at noon! Pia Lauer, by the way, lists on Facebook some reasons why she thinks you should go to the Dana Gioia reading. She says:
1. Not only are there books written ABOUT him and his work, but also—
2. He was selected and appointed by the President of the United States to chair the National Endowment for the Arts for 6 years.
3. He will be reciting all of his poetry [from memory]. If that's not impressive, I don't know what is.
Davis is busy with readings this week, in fact. After the two noon-time ones tomorrow, The Other Voice has a reading on Friday with Betty Vlack and Ray Coppock. So many readings, so little time....
Where does the
wild goose go
Is the world
let her fly?
—Photo by Taylor Graham