Tuesday, April 09, 2013

One Small Length of Sea


How many beginnings are allowed . . .
how do we sculpt air into recognition . . .

like Picasso’s wide, fast sweep of signature
caught by camera . . . ?

Air is the substance for breathing.
Let’s not get technical here.

The trees breathe for us.
It’s something like that.

And the electrical impulses:
Dramatic sky.  Mind at peak.

Awareness.  Expectation.
Even a little fear—hostile and dangerous.

(first pub. in Broomstick, 1980)



you say your mother
is coming to take care of you

she will wash all the dishes
and watch your sons

she will not tell lies
or get drunk

you will pay her rent
like a good son

and you and your wife
will go on a honeymoon

how the days will thrill
to your goodness

you are looking forward
to her arrival



Behold this sunset,
how your eyes love it:
the lowering of light
the lengthening of shadow
the softening of color.

Notice the feel of the air
and the sounds that renew
into it, like beginnings
instead of endings.

This was a day you spent
without knowing its cost.
But now it has come down
to this hour. And you watch
the light go at the horizon.
And you feel the sadness
again for each day’s dying.

Where are the birds,
you start to ask . . .
and a last dark flock of them
flurries up in silhouette
and crosses the sky in the
last light and startles you . . .
and you don’t see where
they settle.


Here runs the child—
a blur in his notion of the world,

too quick for camera
in his catching of the moment,

even his eyes a blur
as he runs past—

one foot on ground,
one foot in air.

Behind him, the still world
catches back a skip,

makes room for him,
lets him through—a blur.

(first pub. in The Aurorean, 2007)



today because it was April
I walked one mile alone
down by the sea
looking for someone that I knew
a day ago
or two

however I count days
or measure
one small length of sea
such loss
winter stays in me

I could have brought back
a dead bird
a shadow from the windbreak wall
my own sent cry
or grief

but instead
I brought
this ugly stone
a piece of driftwood with
a rusted

(first pub. in
Squeezebox, 1995)


(After "Memory", 1937 by Agnes Pelton)

Let’s take this apart, discover it,
wonder is for wonder :

A pure white vase over-
spills with rose petals, floating off.

The vase gleams from within
with contained light.

A new-born sea erupts from its base,
teeming with new realities.

The white vase becomes white heat
no longer able to contain form.

Was it always meant to spew roses?
Create stars? Why is it familiar?

Memory: white flare, white burst
of energy taking shape,
fragile with illusion. . .

Memory: Needing to find you
in the swarm of thought, even now
able to define me.

Memory: Contrived image now,
talking on its own memory. . .
memories. . .on and on. . . beyond mine. . .


Our thanks to Joyce Odam for today's fine poems and pix as she riffs on our current Seed of the Week, A New Day. Time to launch into the new one: The Night is a Cup of Evil.

Yesterday's post, "Transformations", had to go through two transformations after it was posted. As usual, I posted it, then had breakfast, then got to thinking that I needed to list Robert Haycock's blog, both on Medusa and on Facebook, so at about 8am I did that. Then I zipped down to Roseville and picked up Sam's computer, which was getting a hard drive transplant; when I got back, Robert had emailed me, saying "Gee, thanks, for posting the keen and dandy Facebook album I sent you, but I can find no record of those two photos that you posted on Medusa today..." Eek! My apologies to Richard Hansen, whose photos those really were. So if you checked into Medusa after noon, you got the right stuff. Otherwise, my apologies to all concerned. And don't forget to check out Robert's photos on Medusa's Kitchen's Facebook page!

There's plenty of "stuff" to check out on Medusa's green board (have a look-see at Kate Asche's refurbed website, e.g.) and on the blue board below it. Tonight is quiet, poetry-wise, but then all heck breaks loose, with readings at all times of day on Weds., Thurs., Saturday. What a gift the NorCal poetry scene is! Be sure to take advantage of it.


Today's LittleNip:

So I whisper to the words

Imploring them,     repeating them,
becoming intimate with their meanings,

though that is not important to know.
I want,    I need,   

their texture—
their silent directives.

Old muse of me
hurts to want so much of them,

thinking them necessary to use for language:
that precision,    that tone,    that undertone.