Saturday, June 23, 2012

Written by Warriors

Door Ornament
—Photo by D.R. Wagner

—D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove

Tonight I could see them coming.
I could see their embroidered waist coats,
Their high, polished boots that
Reached to the knee and their
Flashing helmets with strange
Designs attached to the top of them,
Designating something important
To them as they rode their
Memorable horses close against
The gates, a kind of vanity
Only discovered when one is driven
From the back rooms of the heart.

They didn’t like to be noticed.
They were without history,
Made of oblivion with no index.
We would always see them
Through another’s eyes,
Like poems written by warriors,
Nourished by heroes whose deeds
Were limitless.

Still we could hear them moving
As if they were mysterious trains
Remembering dreams, but unwilling
To unleash the multi-colored ribbons
Borne by such as this music is made.

They would have us understand
For a moment only, so we imagined.
They used up years and they used us up
As we tried to unwind their riding,
Back to the realms from which they came.


—D.R. Wagner

They float so recklessly above the greatest
Memories and as an infinity of books
Might have, had there been
No symbols, no heroes, no rules governing
All the theologies witnessed
By water in its myriad forms,
Finally finding Adam standing in the cool
Shower we have come to call prayer.

All this pushed aside to reveal a particular
View from the room of a sorrowing
King to reveal an odd island
Spilled across the top of the morning
That has been required to be your last,
Without ever having been consulted by
A solitary God, unhidden in the voice
A prayer might hope to hold as it stalks
Along the paths beside the ponds deciphering
The wakes and the dark voices of the swans.


—D.R. Wagner

We have lost count by now.
There have been many days
Where the things that happened
Were made of such similar cloth
That even death had to unfold
His list of names and loves and
Places fighting had taken place,

But not so much as a rusted steel
Blade remained that could
Speak to how important it all
Seemed in the heat of an argument.

And even death was forced to prop
Up what was left of memory
With tree limbs tied together,
Placed at the edge of a field
Now planted with corn and settle
Everyone down to hear a story again
That they already knew,

Made bright against the row
Upon row of corn stalks and the night
Excusing itself to go about its business,
All the language left to insect voices,
Wind over the landscape and a quick
Stream of hurrying water, hoping
To get past this place as soon as possible.

The Fabric of Rain
—Photo by D.R. Wagner

—D.R. Wagner

You are my dreamer.  Today, I am
Without form and you must lift
My limbs and have me climb
The purple cliffs and high places
Far above the sea so that we might
See the glittering cities of the plain
Opened like jeweled boxes against our poor
Wonder.  These castles are never to be
Mine.  They are yours and yours alone.

You are my dreamer.  You are the vehicle
By which I am done and undone.
You are the seas, seas with the
White of the day, seas, here
To show both wolves and the
Soft thighs of a lover standing
By her horse contemplating what
I pray is a unique and untried future
Rather than the twilight of
A fading past.  You are my dreamer.
Give me the morning and the day
And the evening once again,
Standing in the finest of lights.


—D.R. Wagner

I suppose here a coolness
The imagination might insist
Upon, claiming years of adventures:
Dante and Quixote, Dunsany and Bradbury.

All shades this cool, unflinching
Evening that begs to know the night
Even more intimately through Patchen,
Hodgson, Clark Smith and Lovecraft,
Himself hiding behind a floridness of language.

I make my way down the stairs
Well past midnight to investigate
A sound purloined by supposed spirits
And find rows of books out of order
And awry and wonder if it was
Indeed the cat or just the crowding
That some imagination might do
Just to show me it is an attractive
A mistress as any sweet-fleshed body.

I will wait till morning to pick
Them up again and put them in order,
Reading the titles of the stories,
Feeling the cool of the evening
Sifting in and out of the very words,
Imagining everything but the perfection
Of their voices scattered throughout my life.


Today's LittleNip:

I imagine the earth when I am no more:
Women's dresses, dewy lilacs, a song in the valley.
Yet the books will be there on the shelves, well born,
Derived from people, but also from radiance, heights.
—Czeslaw Milosz (from "And Yet the Books")



—Photo by D.R. Wagner