Saturday, June 16, 2012
The Language of Fire
—D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove
What are you looking at? she said.
Zero, I said.
Just zero? she said.
I caught one of them in the garden
Tonight. It was pretty. It had four
Wings and made a musical tinkling
When I held it by the wings.
What did you do with it? I asked.
I bit it in half to see what it
Tasted like, she replied.
It was better than a frog but I
Don’t think I’ll do it again.
They are too pretty.
Did you know your mouth has
A glow about it. It looks like
There is light inside your mouth.
Your lips are a gold light.
Don’t eat the fairies, I said.
I’m sorry, she said. I really am.
We don’t have them near our
Homes and I thought they were
You have too much owl in you.
I said I was sorry.
You’ll begin to talk like them
Within a fortnight, I announced.
I can already see you look
Different, she replied.
It’s my wings, I said. They have
Finally grown back but won’t
Be of any real use for a month or so.
Are you one of them now? she asked.
No love, you are. Don’t touch
Your body except when you
Want to feel the fairy stuff.
No one will believe you anyway.
And it’s hard enough to go out
At night alone because you
Will begin to glow all the time.
No. I won’t.
You are glowing now, I replied.
Do you know any of their songs?
Yes, I do, I replied.
Sing me one.
They go like this.
A CARPET OF ROSES
—D. R. Wagner
Moving so as not to touch the ground,
The sweet parade of images moves
Without a sound.
Pendulous as cumulus,
Vermillion, pink and lilac,
Reveal a bejeweled cask
Borne with imagined grace,
Crowned with a certain light
A ship with emerald masts.
Owned by no one, the infinite and time
Sit close to us at table as we dine.
Conversation populated with
Kings and queens and knights,
Dragons come, explain the night’s
Tremendous height then lean
Upon us with that grace
Not seen since ancient moments
Could be traced upon our face.
We walk a carpet made of roses
Opened with dawn’s delight
The curious, the strange,
The latticed words tattooed,
Build castles made of light.
And I will bow before you
Reach to hold your hand,
Sweep my arms across the day
Beg your bones to understand.
Loosing both the nightmare tongues
And songs from silvered throats,
We stop the dance procured from books
And board their magic boats.
So all shall play as symphonies,
As nocturnes, the waltzes, the old pavanes,
As dances made of lace,
Presented for their own amusement
But as deadly as the chase
Of fox and hounds, of lion’s roar,
Of tigers in the glade,
This nothingness of words unfolds
And finally does fade.
LEARNING FROM THE WATERFALL
Ramon had said that all the water
That comes over this waterfall
Was telling a story.
That is why
It sounded the way it did.
“You can hear animals make sounds
But you don’t know what they are saying.
It is the same with the waterfall.
It is the voices of those who live
By the river that collects them.
Do you think they are there just
To look beautiful for you?”
It is the same with the stars
And with the thunder and with
The huge language of fire through
Everything. Fire and speak with
Whatever it consumes.
All things like these are voices.
We are allowed to be here with them all.
They are constantly upon us. Even
The air you breathe has such language.
Say thank you to them.
Say I love you to them.
Be silent before the highest throne.
A SMALL DRAWING OF A WEST WIND
This becoming. This time without sound.
Not a place ever mentioned, not
In books or pointed to on a chart
Clear as can be, describing depths,
The location of sea mounts
Where schools of silver fish
Have been noted by people
Long dead who fished here
And heard the voices of babies,
Children even, with no land in sight.
And drew measured arcs across
The notations of the currents.
This one drew a picture of what
He hoped would show a generally
Following West wind, but with eyes
too sad to account for such a thing.
I cannot remember how we came
To these places. And now, back again
To the exact spot we were before
But with the total lack of sound, a lack of doors.
A SINGULARITY OF CUNCTATION
This time a black hole
That never quite arrives,
Seeing the bridegroom approaching
The tabernacle, splendid in raiment,
Always in view, confident in step,
Yet never arriving, never making
A sound as the rain comes upon it.
However, it is crooked,
Unable to find definition,
Only conjecture used as a reminder.
Still we are changed by this, just moments
Before we reach the age of reason.
Garbled, for sure, but well within belief.
A child would call it a grasping at straws
But children know little of straws
Or other behaviors. We, you and I, find
A clarity in rain and claim of courage
For its even appearing in any such formula.
Thanks to D.R. Wagner for today's delights! About the last two poems, he writes: These from very early [Friday] morning—2-3AM after returning from the CULT OF BEAUTY exhibition at the Palace of the Legion of Honor in SF. A great show ending the 17th. Worth the effort despite getting trapped on the freeway trying to get though the Caldecott Tunnel at 10PM for well over an hour. EEK!P.S. The word "cunctation" (which I seldom ever use by the way) means a delay, here coupled with the idea of Singularity, both in the mathematical and general sense. Hope it entertains.
You don’t have any idea at all
Why you are here, do you?
Other voices leaked into the house.
Downstairs they began to fill up the room,
Staining the furniture and making it
Impossible to descend the stairs.
Say something, anything please!
Is this really the last time
We will speak with one another?