Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Key-Punch a Prayer


Like a white cat in the darkness
I shine for you.
I let you stroke my fur.
I magnetize the air till it ignites.
All night I sing for you.
You think you are dreaming.
I guard the night, which is empty.
It floats in its darkness.
I move and it moves.
There is such a pale distance all around us.
I am floating upon it like a dream
I am carried into your arms.
I am carried into your body
which has not moved.
See how I step through music into bones,
how I disguise myself as your fingers?
You have such a lonely hand.
All night I trace your beautiful dark lines.
I cannot tell you how sad they are.
I listen to you sleeping.
I smooth out the cold pillow of the morning.

(Acknowledgement:  Bitterroot
“Blues”,  Piper’s House, 1991)



not that I want you lost
but that I have
faith in your survival…

you always know which way to go
under star or moonrise
or by day over all these avenues

I found it in a store           one bro-
ken compass pointing its
sensitive needle at my northmost hand

it was with love
I chose it for you
believe me

I knew how far away
you would go
on your lunch hour daydream

can ships sink without you
or trains go over the horizon
on their perfect tracks

when your eyes are most shining
with your plan
put it in your safest pocket

I gave you the thought         not the
freedom       not the accurate north
for the captive man

(first pub. in "In a Nutshell", 1975)



We are all lost together on this land.
We came to hunt wild berries
and wilder flowers.
But we found nothing for
our hands to gather.

Now we have come too far.
And though we can hear
an evening train caress the distance,
we cannot find its long black tracks,
as though some wilderness
would not accept that scar.

But the sunset is a thing of glory,
uninterrupted as we had imagined,
continuing like a Scheherezade-story,
larger than Cinerama
and we confess that we are
terribly sorry we did not think
to bring a camera.

We are getting frightened and cold,
colder than all the splendor
and the hunger; and we put
our brittle arms about each other
and recall the warning of another
story teller who cautioned
that this was a once-told land
without a morning.

(first pub. in Vagabond, 1972)


Take my reluctant hand
with its seven slow lines
that go outward from the palm.

Trace my sad histories
with your discerning fingers;
hum a soft song.

Pull my eyes to your face
and there erase the seven sorrows
that I hide from myself.

Mention the tomorrows;
mention the seven lies that fit.
I will love you. I will leave

my hand in your hand while you
hypnotize my oldest terror.
I will follow you through

your language made of praise
while you gaze me deeper.
Soon I will float through your eyes

and there disguise myself with
seven veils.  You will get lost
in them.



Look what the sea has done—those shadow lines
light touched and cast into striate patterns
for the relentless winds to worry

and try to change. But the persistent sea
will return and change it all again—
will suck away the trace

of all other touchings. This is mine, claims the sea,
and it will return again and again
to wrinkle the sand with

its ebbing, for always it must draw back
into its great heaving self—
like a breathing.

(first pub. in Hidden Oak, 2005)


Today's LittleNip:

PRAYER NO. 333GM1000

O most abstract holyism,
this century
perfects the stereotype
to a coded sanctuary.
Key-punch a prayer
for our identity.
Do not alter Self
or the Machine
will have to punch new holes
in your godly-card.
We cannot accept
new images for old
and do not change
that book of fables;
it is haunting
the way it is.
We have looked into science
and died.
We need
the ghost in the soul
and an archaic mystery
for the uncomprehending mind.

(first pub. in Trace Magazine, 1967)


Our thanks to Joyce Odam for the poetic and pictorial treats today, finishing up our Seed of the Week: Traces (wow! even a poem that appeared in Traces!). 

Our new SOW is Sleepless Nights. What keeps you up at night? Barking dogs? Money worries? That pesky owl? A voracious lover? (Or see Joyce's "Sleeping Together" above.) Tell us about your tossings and turnings—the good ones and the bad ones—and send it all to kathykieth@hotmail.com. No deadline on SOW's, though—go to Calliope's Closet in the Fuchsia Links at the top of this blog for plenty of ideas, and see also our SOW-Pix, News-SOWs, and Forms to Fiddle With in the green board at the right of this for images to get that pencil a-pushing. And if those aren't enough, try some of those listed in "Need More SOWs?" below that. The only bad poetry is poetry which was left unwritten, yes?