The weather's mad with heat.
I feel it already at dawn. Dead dry grass.
Oaks stand in the patience of trees
waiting out Summer.
In shady places, they hold memories
of when it rained;
of the white fogs after leaves escape
the trees. Birds are shadows
among the living leaves fluttering
their own memories without words or
sound. Without a breeze.
It seems like silence but it's madness
of the season. The day
may be too hot for wind without fire—
a flaming flurry of lost leaves
leaving just skeletons of the trees.
If I knew how to listen,
to understand this stillness, I might hear
the song of days and nights
counting out the months till rain.
—Taylor Graham, Placerville
As the sun goes down, July longing for August,
she wanders her perimeter of garden.
So much lush growth! Mid-life between sun
and soil, oregano blossoms buzz all day
with bees. Japanese cucumber twines tendrils
with pattypan, zucchini casts leaf-fan shadows
over everything. Today she picked more than
enough to fill her plate. Jars of preserves
weigh down her cellar shelves, replacing last
summer's harvest that saw her through winter.
Season on season, so much effort. Turning
and seeding, peeling and scraping. And still
the bounty comes. Nearly hidden among vines,
golden squash-flowers enfold the approach
of evening. She imagines a glowing in the dark
like un-mined ore.
An alley gold-mined into hills;
summer sun gleams its last light, spills
shadows into twilight,
By mind's sleight, gold-dust fills
shaded stone hollows delved between
wishing and getting. Living green
to entwine each sense,
immanence yet unseen.
And still the sun flecks everything
with dust - gold dust - till shadows fling
ghost shapes in the dark,
each a question-mark,
a small spark glittering.
(a version of this poem was first pub. in Poets' Forum Magazine)
—Tom Goff, Carmichael
To battle the notions of the classical world,
redefine ‘‘great music,’’ is railing in chain-mail wind.
Dissent like friction turns the oyster pearled;
no sand will alter this repertoire anchovy-tinned:
endless concertos, themes and variations, rococo
See’s-box confections ribboned in figured bass.
True music burns as it shimmers: we get shadows,
flickers, of the rage that inhabits the grace.
Ironic: Hugo Alfven’s lush midsummer-
night vignette of Sweden, melancholic-ecstatic,
is all we hear from that versatile painter-composer.
What buries the rest of him, what keeps our tastes erratic,
while Mozart becomes a sponge we just keep on wringing?
What June-July Shadows, under a shadow singing?
Call the living roll of those declared dead, dated, spent:
Karol Szymanowski, Franz Schmidt, Arnold Bax the British
symphonist and ‘‘Irish’’ poet, Joseph Jongkind, not only Clara
but Camillo Schumann, William Schuman, Wales’ creator
Grace Williams, Nikolai Medtner, Pietro Mascagni,
Lili Boulanger, Walter Piston, Ferruccio Busoni, Amy Beach…
—Olga Blu Browne, Sacramento
Tracking the passage of time,
where ancient souls dwell among
the stars and where silent ghosts
wander, waiting for a new moon.
* * *
DEATH TAKES IT ALL
—Olga Blu Browne
Greater than reality, like water
frozen in the act of flowing,
Death takes it all.
(first pub. in Brevities)