Saturday, August 11, 2012
Of Course, The Moon
Jade Plant, Bolinas
—Photo by D.R. Wagner
—D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove
Waves crash into the shore.
We are less than what lies
Below the water as it hisses
Through the sand.
There is a path to this place.
It passes between two hills
Dotted with sea grasses and populated
By gulls and shore birds.
Light has so many houses here.
It crawls into the spaces,
Not really wanting to be seen,
But it is light.
Now waiting for the moon to rise
I come to feel the place full
Within myself, my voice the noisy
Surf. The path between the hills. The
Light clustering to become the days,
The nights of my being here.
And now, finally, with the rising
Of the moon, a figure of a man
Sitting just above the seashore
Scribbling as fast as possible
Into a notebook.
Someone had hauled the curtain down.
We were unable to tell if
The spectacle was over.
The stage lights were still aflame.
We had not been sure we would
Be able to see these performances at all.
They were thought to have been derived
From the ancient dances
Done in the time of Rueluss,
The Magnificent. Very few could
Remember the days when he
Would command the dances,
The songs, the movements that
Spoke to our history. These were
The stories of all our people.
The time of the callings began,
When the different villages
Would make the sounds of
Their totem animals.
Outside the horses pawed the
Ground and shuffled across
The corrals nervously.
The calls sounded so real.
Ramon saw lions on the ridges
It was then the great fire
Began. We had been discovered.
We must return to the high cliffs
As quickly as possible. The soldiers
Were upon us.
I write from the steepest part
The trail takes away from
The seaside. I can still see
The fires at the ocean.
The animal sounds fill
The air. I have to believe
We are safe in this night.
There is no place to put these
Words but in our own poetry.
Accept this as our voice.
THE ROOM THAT REMAINED
BUT FOR REMEMBRANCE
The glass next to the bed was filled
With stars. I thought it seemed
To be, but it was actually so.
I do not expect you to believe me.
Poets often speak like this and the words
Are considered to be metaphor,
That events like this exist to enhance
The poem. This is not true here.
Now listen. The large animals surrounding
Us are indeed lions and tigers.
They are wild beasts. They can smell
The humans within this room. You
Will not be able to hide from them.
Look at your hands. Spread your fingers.
If you look closely enough there you will
Be able to see thin points of flame
Extend from them. They may be
Of many colors, much like the glass
Full of the stars. Their flames
Came from your own body.
Do not be alarmed at their presence.
We will be here even as this building
We occupy is gone but for remembrance.
This may take a long time or we may
Be done within minutes. You will know
When it is over. The words will stop.
Now the stars are swirling in the glass.
They rise out of the glass and begin to
Spin through the room. The room
Opens. They spin outward. The
Great animals begin to spin as well.
They rise up toward the stars. Winds
Whose names we know come to sit beside us.
There is only what we remember
Surrounding us at this moment.
Let us look up into the night and
See the stars so far above us
We cannot believe they are real.
THE QUIET OF THE HIVE
I do not know the names of many stars.
I see them reflected in open wells,
Tossed across the surface of the Great Lakes.
I imagine the hugeness of their noise
Had they atmosphere and we the kind
Of ears that fain would hear these
Flaming doors into everything from
The images of birds to the breathing of
The sleep of bees dreaming in the quiet
Of the hive. So I walk within them
Without ever coming close to knowing
What it is they are or their names, perhaps
Pronounceable by anyone. Are they
The mind of our hopes sparkling
Everywhere around us or just a jingling
Of songs stolen from the night
And made to burn like this,
So full of imagination and deception,
A fineness of understanding thrown
Against the haphazard business
Of our eyes, moments on the heart,
Lifting ourselves through the finest
Colors into a clarity usually seen
Only in our tears?
When I put my hand flat against
Death there is no space at all and
Time has no place there at all. They can both
Sit forever in the magic, shaded by trees,
Surrounded by music and dance us through
What we have decided to call life without
So much as looking in our direction.
Even in the darkest of nights, with winds
Full of souls and waving limbs of trees
Slashing into us without ever opening
Our skin, when I touch that
Seemingly lovely quiet and expect the introduction
Of a kind of beauty we think we cannot
Know without this certain final door. If there is more.
But we are wrong. There is nothing there.
The horror of such a wall the moment
We place our hands on it, all else
Ceases. Ashes blown across our feet,
Naked now forever and no longer able to walk.
THE THING ITSELF AND NOTHING MORE
So I will keep a few things here
That I avidly collected to give
The verse that it might say something after the flesh
Is dust again and disburses on the
River that always moves away from
Where this monument to lost song
Shows its treasures in golden twilights,
Repeated dreams, gatherings for the dead.
The moon, of course, the moon.
How could we forget. Let it be
Above a pool and reflected there.
As good a place to be when water
Is a mirror and the sound of a slow fountain
Helps collect eternity in a most
All of this in a garden,
Blue as an early Spring sky,
As serene as a shelf of books.
This is the correct music.
This is both ancient and of this moment.
This can move in your mouth
Chained to the words, maybe
Thought of as sweet fruit
Should you use the place
As it was intended to be used.
Amazing, this used to be a city.
It has taken me years of struggle, hard work and research to learn to make one simple gesture, and I know enough about the art of writing to realize that it would take as many years of concentrated effort to write one simple, beautiful sentence.
—Photo by D.R. Wagner