BEYOND THE BORDERS
Above the fence line, beyond the borders,
a bird was singing, “stone . . . stone . . . ”
and the heavy day was drifting . . . drifting
. . . in my direction; and I was turning from
the window which was broken by the singing,
and the violence of love was almost worth
the danger. How did I find myself here—
in this country—burdened by such gray
weather—burdened by your eyes which tore
the listening between us? The bird followed
its song into the glass and we shattered—
one of us from pity—and the other from
the awful impact of the silence that resulted.
AN EARLY RAIN IN PARIS: 1924
(After "The Traffic Problem In Paris"
by John Jesse)
A slant of rain / deliberate slant / deliberate
rain / full force against the quickening
of the city . . .
Umbrellas and wet shoes / taxis in no hurry /
jay-walkers / across the wet Paris streets /
lights turning on in street lamps and windows . . .
Whatever is lifting is contagious:
wet faces / shining eyes / quick puddles /
that form and make shadowy reflections . . . .
GUARDING AGAINST DISTRACTION
(After "Yellow Rose/Green Vase/
Ghazal of the Vigil" by John Italia)
I am musing here on a single yellow rose
—a rose that lived four decades ago—
that lay its perfect head against
the rim of a wide bowl
turning emerald in the room light,
its curve reflecting back
the scene of the room,
but out of proportion . . .
I stop myself.
It is the rose here,
not the vase—
one perfect petal
from the rose
to unfold itself
into a crowded leaf—
though nothing seems to move.
Not even the light.
Look how they are broken by the mirrors, the belovéds and the lost. Walls of time—reshaping their images, have failed to change them. They are made permanent. Panels of light illuminate them now in all their inward starings.
Two dancers whirl out of the music, slowly vanish into their own remembering—cherishing, cherishing; the way they hold each other; the way they fragment with each turning; the way colors burn over them and reflect back into the gathering panels of the mirrors.
(After “Riptide” by Heidy Steidmeyer)
All that is grim, caught here on this long and shining beach in the warping moonlight—vague things gleaming in the distance—
a bird wing caught in the sand; the small look of something made of string; the curve of the wet land where it goes on and
on past the following night; the old deliberate way you glide along the water’s edge until you feel yourself disappear;
and why does it always seem at once so far away and so near—as if time and distance can be traveled simultaneously.
At any corner we stop for turning.
Many corners. Many turnings.
Toward self, as toward a mirror
—mirror in the mind,
or in the inner eye of the mirror.
Text as guidance. Mind, as need
for guidance. Guidance as arrow
with direction toward target.
Failure to truly know what is believed
—everything according to forces
of time and place, and the instant.
“Some things Elude Art Forever”
—Marion Key Biggs
in my hand—
my hand’s stillness—
as I watch.
(first pub. in Poets' Forum Magazine)