Tuesday, September 25, 2012

In the Breath of This Music


In this flow of summer light
time has rested; we measure
slow—moment by moment—
and wish for rain.
How warm it would be,
sliding down our faces.



Here is where we lived.
Here is where we loved.
Here is where we left.

And now the old shed
of a house stands gaping,
stricken with neglect.

Trees guard it still,
but wearily.
Weeds overtake, then quit.

An upper window stares,
devoid of glass. The inner walls
still hold the ceiling up—

but barely. The outer walls?
They’re gone, as are the steps.
The pathway, too.

Only dry sounds linger here,
mutter about themselves,
worry the air.

And all we share of this
is how we lived here—loved
awhile—then left.



Boy-Girl-Dolls, hand-carved, cleverly
jointed, so they can move arms and hips

and legs in a clumsy hand-held walk,
their clothes pulled off for body-

inspection, then left to stare at
each other with painted smiles and eyes.

Some child has arranged them in a forest-
setting of tiny trees and out-sized birds

to act-out story after story in the
story-voice of children who

left them there, weathered from
neglect with no more lines to say.

Maybe they’re worth something now:
Handmade archaic toys—Relics of lost art

—beyond the lost imagination of a child.


Whatever it was, it was.
No use lamenting.
It grew large with neglect,
flattened like a shadow
and bulged like a light.
It flung itself everywhere
and crashed into emptiness.
We had no use for it.
It was pathetic.
Did not fit anything.
It starved on purpose,
carried its awful eye
in its mouth
with an awful meaning.
It choked on our love,
so we quit loving.
We did not want guilt
to be a part of this.
We carried water to it
so it would drown,
but it just lay there
gasping, then swimming.
What we did not know
was what its hold on us
had become, how we
wore it like a secret
to secret meetings
where we talked about it
in secret whispers.
Always it welcomed us back
and wrapped itself around us
with shaking shoulders
for us to weep against.


(after “Draft of a Landscape” by Paul Celan)

Razed. Stricken. Dug up and abandoned.
Memory’s neglect. Graves.
Small histories of small lifetimes.

Look for whatever you have lost
here somewhere. What is this place?
What has brought you here?

It is cold. It has no welcome.
It is a place without expectation.
You wander its terrain.

Ruts and stones, here and there a weed.
So that’s what you came to learn:
the tenacity of weeds; the patience of stones;

the caution of ruts. The horizon
cannot be reached, nor the end of day.
The sky is a separate thing.

You wish for a bird, and a bird flies by.
You are creating this.
Your own landscape.



This is my love I take
and bury in the sun.

Love wears a black black death
and a bride-white spray of roses.

Love wears my ornate grief
and all I own of being numb.

Love wears the bright red day
upon the wilting hours.

Love has taken all the young animals
of our joy away.

Love is playing the unfair game
with a fine macabre.

Between love’s teeth our thorny
and passionate flowers are bitten.

Between my teeth
are the kisses and the curses.

(first pub. in Baby John, 1972)



compares with the silence of flowers
wilting into the essence of memory,
or that solitary mockingbird

that sings from the tip of the pear tree—
sings for the silence to follow,
each note trailing . . . 

how many silences abide in the lives
of all living things—in the fragility
of light when broken on darkness—

is there another mockingbird,
or is this
the last one?

The roses that cling to December
with such tenacity—
are they ready to surrender themselves

to the tangles of meaning?
Storms come
to bare trees as they do to bared hearts.

Is it too late to love,
or to remember love
in all its violence and tenderness?

What is that dying note of music
that has such weeping in it when tears
are unbidden—but there—in the power?

Today's LittleNip:


this vibra-
tion of lines that

twang closed and resonate
more and more like a

magic comb that patterns
dark and light equally

whichever way
you hold it


—Medusa, with thanks to Joyce Odam for today's poems and photos! Joyce will be reading at Shine this Sunday as one of the 100 Thousand Poets for Change. Check that out on the blue board at the right of this. And note all the 100 Thousand Poets readings—here, there and everywhere! Try to keep them straight...

Ever feel like you were stuck in a bad movie? Tell us about it in your Seed of the Week: Like a Bad Movie...  and send your musings (poems, photos, etc.) to kathykieth@hotmail.com