Monday, March 17, 2014

Daffodils and Birds

—Our thanks today for these 
Photos by Robert Lee Haycock, Antioch
[click once to enlarge and read titles]
 and these poems by B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA.


It is you
hiding until this March
grounded for a season
when the sun comes up
near sea sounds
on the high bridge
you, jonquils
paler than a foggy yellow sky
suddenly appear
out of grey green springs
as a bird drinks
from the city fountain
on the boulevard
sentenced to a hapless fate
where silence sleeps
as in a fairy tale
to be kissed
and greet the dawn
still shivering by the gate
to the Bay's swan.


You came from
the very verbal
and cultivated
Amaryllis family,
we met in March
near Crete
I was on a running meet
then clustered
under the arches
of Greek columns
with flowered books
in linear bright
yellow and white
we stared through
our looking glasses
as Aphrodite
that first night
and next afternoon,
we think of each other
as any closet Narcissus
from any nation or area
on the Mediterranean
taking your long leave
on perennial vacation
to keep
from being bored
while we eat
herbal spices
and grape leaves
and fruit from a gourd
before my taking
a tourist ride
at the bus station,
telling me
she was being harried
by the Amaryllis family
wanting her
to be a young bride
and soon be married
to a wealthy ship tycoon,
and she suddenly
cries out from the table
to the goddess Soteria
in a one rescued chance
for her deliverance
while I only ask her
out to dance.


Picturing you
with mop in hand
saying prayers
under your breath
as you set a table
with cold silverware
and yellow jonquils,
gracious for words
that enter
into your head
for the diary
to be real
to every soul,
fishermen on the Seine,
women from Lima,
carrying you
in thin pockets,
African farmers,
exhausted from heat,
reading at lunch,
Asians weary from war,
little Therese
from every vocation
and walk of life,
who would, of all people,
have believed you;
in adolescence
with plain truths
changed into love,
your torn apron
wrapped around you,
almost faceless
in a mirror,
never imagining silks
about your person,
always at the edge
of forgiveness,
you of anybody,
growing in Lisieux,
of all places,
humble, simple,
willingly imparting wisdom
to children grown old,
when an obscure baby
with newborn graces
from sprinkled water
and a tiny light
from wild olive branches
on an unseasoned crib
catches up
to the little flower.


Walking through the hills
on a new March dawn
trying to be cool and calm
with Goethe's lyrical poems
dreaming under my arm,
nervously waiting to play
the first part
of Bach's double concerto
at the fine arts museum,
with my hanging hands
ready to do an encore
for I have memorized
a Vivaldi score,
now viewing the jonquils
in a long corridor
of wonderful Van Gogh
and the few lovely bowls
of flowers by Berthe Morisot.


Everyone has a pulse
raised for music
trying to feel alive
after L.A.X.
a torch singer
with a guitar wrapped
on her book back shoulder
offers to carry my stuff
when she heard me
speaking Spanish
tells me about pirated
passports around the tips
of deserts in dawn's sand
on the pale horizon
where the hungry travel,
yet here in a rainy season
Pillar accompanies me
at my reading and gigs
to sign autographs
of my newest collection
eager to delight
in a sudden passion
and hands me jonquils.


It must have cost me
when I had no flowers
for a freshman date
and had to rely on
crocus and jonquil
from our own garden
that March day
when a sax-playing
guy showed up
at Marsha's driveway
with amazement
that I came
with my own gifts
of entertainment
she was reading
as a recent emigre
in Russian
Eugene Onegin
the tragic love story
by the poet Pushkin
her parents seemed
pleased I was taking her
to the art cinema
to see Ivan the Terrible
and we talked in the rain
about Stalin's crimes
she was even happy
that my flowers
were wrapped
in the New York Times.


Her words like ashes
in my one life memory
of your picture
in a collection
from a Russian poet
now reunited across the seas
you, Anna, visible
under the slowest clouds
inheritor of Pushkin's love
as immortality summons
us only after death,
once accommodated
to tundra's long suffering
with barren trees
as in Jerusalem
amid tiny flowering herbs
that Easter's day
your tragedy moves us
as jonquils in a vase
to an open room of sunlight
where we watch
my lifted-up ballet friend
named after you
practice for a performance
of Swan Lake
or in a diaphanous first act
of Sleeping Beauty,
here with your eyelashes
doomed me to nostalgia
as is in your frame
of a poet's vocation
knowing your portrait
is always in my recollection,
we watch early March grackles
fly off the weather vane
over the slate roof
or our running by water
of the Bay
reminds me of the Neva
on a goodbye
visit to the countryside,
for your tomb is not empty
you are with us
when every spring returns
from winter's dizzy cold
embracing us
far beyond this space
or uneven century
sowing a tear yet rejoicing.

Today's LittleNip:


Jonquil, promise me
the yellow light
from your new blossoms
will shine on waters
as resting metaphors,
dabs of your petals
sit on my hand.

Be transformed
and spring
on my shirtless sleeve,
promise in every color
to enter my rock garden
as a sign every March
lacing the morning road
by the Bay's sea voices
as a sweet offering
over my half-dark vase.


—Medusa, wishing you a happy St. Patrick's Day!

 Tom Meschery, who featured with Hannah Stein
at last Monday's Sac. Poetry Center reading.
Be Davison Herrera will be in town tonight to host
a reading featuring The Inclusionists.
That's 25th & R Sts., Sacramento, 7:30pm.