MASTS ON A WINDY DAY
Crowded into intensity, bobbing
in choppy patterns with the
mingled movements of the water.
Storm coming . . .
Storm here . . .
Such abstracts of imagery;
hugging the air; then of one force,
THE POWER OF BLACK THOUGHT
Across the black water, everything is still.
Black clouds have stopped their heavy movement.
A last white sail stays stranded where it is.
This is the stillness of time’s promise,
the last moment that will move
for your awareness—
what your mind creates
out of your will,
to hold this place
away from all intrusion.
This is where the night will end—
letting the last shudder of light go out.
You alone can stop this, but you are in agreement
with the dark. Such is the power of black thought.
ON EXTREME WEATHER
I do not wish to yell at summer
with my discomfort—
, as so with winter,
when I quarrel with every extreme
of heat and cold
, as if I deserved my comfort level
, and complain
on all that is
the way it is—
I do not wish to tick off Nature.
PROMISED ECLIPSE, WRONG DAY
The locusts were sounding
in the trees one Thursday when
we swayed on your apt. balcony
above the ivy and the roses
and listened to the
continual sound, like water
squeezing from a punctured hose
among the leaves, or like
the hissing voice of electricity
growing in its sideways stems
above the trees.
2. The moon was not caught
in its promised eclipse, though we
watched it for more than an hour.
“Blood on the moon tonight,”
you had said. But the moon
stayed round and classic white
and passed over the roof
and the noisy trees.
“Newspapers lie,” I said.
3. The smell of the day’s
burning was prickling the air,
down where the mowed grass
yielded to weeds. “Wild wheat,”
you explained. And a golden image
leaped into my mind, lighting
the darkness under the black trees.
4. The mockingbirds kept breaking
the evening into dark green beads,
till we became fragments of unstrung air,
and all that was part of
the throat and the ear kept
rearranging the live threads within us,
until we were lifted on beaded wings
and we went flying and singing
over the buzzing trees.
“Where are we going?” we asked each other.
“To find Friday’s moon,” Locust said.
(first pub. in New American And Canadian Poetry, 1973)
TONIGHT MY MOTHER
says something I almost hear
on this night
away from her—her voice urgent,
something she forgot to say before.
And I must listen with no response
under the sound of her voice
that in my mind is speaking.
And I grow confused:
is it now—
or some other time,
and where am I
in my inner distance?
I am altered by her voice
which is murmuring—
though she is trying
to comfort me.
It’s all right, Mama, I say,
and she grows silent.
The soft wind in the night
rattles my window and moves on.
Goodnight, I say to no one.
(After “I Ask My Mother To Sing” by Li-Young Lee)
I CREATE FURIES
In my calm
whole storms rage.
I give them names.
I name myself:
Rain. I name myself: