DEATH OF A LANDSCAPE
(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.
They turn away from what was theirs.
The long afternoon. The joy of yesterday.
No music follows. It is a quiet time.
A time of eloquence, with no more to say.
The landscape shimmers.
A small stream continues its thin journey.
The sky goes white.
They have no horse.
They have no wagon.
They have only their walking,
their same direction—
as though without regret;
they grow smaller
as though distance beckons them.
They dissolve together in the gathering light.
THAT SOUND THAT WOKE ME
Where is it now.
Somewhere in the
It grew faint.
I am eased of my concern.
But I am still
I go to the vast window
with its scenery that falls away.
I have no cat—even though
birds avoid my gaze and disappear.
I hold the curtain back with my shoulder
and watch the day—how it shortens
and grows chill. I should turn away,
but something holds me here . . .
(first pub. in My Best Regret, Mini-Chap, 2008)
the dark history of islands
the sea slipping between us
and the winds interrupting
our presence here . . .
and we are
nothing but what we are
part and separate
loved and forgotten
wanted and let go . . .
what continent will
make us its own
will look back
to our beginning . . .
our story is slow
and full of separate detail
how you went one way
how even our memories withdrew
from those widening distances
how we grew separate climates
and never touched again
the theatre of woe,
where every soul
is gathered into a billowing skirt
stricken faces staring through the folds
while the tortured singer
wails with emotion
till the wailing fills the room
and the lady of woe
to the applause and tears—
her heavy skirt
swishing helplessly against the floor
THE WINDOW AT SUNSET
(after “Bougainvillea” by G. H. Rothe)
Sensitive to light, you stare through
the crimson leaves and reddened flowers
on the window. Your eyes refuse
to withdraw from the eyes
of your reflection. You put your hand
to your mouth and kiss the scent
at your fingertips. On which side
of the glass do you exist?
Your shoulders merge with the
crimson-lighted leaves—even the sky.
You float within yourself
and all but disappear among the flowers.
THE WHITE ISLAND
You are the white island I see in the dream—
the dot in the distance—the sea calm,
striking the beach with no sound.
I want to go there, but distance always
recedes—pulling farther away.
Then sea birds cry
and I waken.
Our thanks to Joyce Odam for today's delicious poetry and pix as she riffs on the Rapa Nui, last week's Seed of the Week. Be sure to take Joyce and her many publication credits as an inspiration and check out our Submit, I Say! section on the green board at the right. Especially note that TODAY is the deadline for the next issue of Rattlesnake Press's WTF. Note also the Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest (deadline is April Fool's Day) and other fun stuff.
Speaking of submissions, don't leave poor old Medusa out of your emails; our new Seed of the Week is Jack Frost, who's been nipping all around the edges of our toes and everything else lately. Send your poetic thoughts about winter or cold or nasty Jack (or anything else, for that matter) to firstname.lastname@example.org
We also have a new photo album on Medusa's Facebook page: Second Saturday in Sac by Michelle Kunert. Our thanks to Michelle for these photos taken out and about Sacramento last Saturday night.
Love is torn by my leaving.
Love is torn by your staying.
A long scarf both leads and follows,
an endless cloth made of fading color.
I look back. I look ahead.
I follow the scarf.