(after "A Fantasy", 1925
Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin, 1876-1939
The Russian Museum, Leningrad)
In the dream, the red horse is
afire with muscled energy and light,
with the love of flying.
In the red horse dream, there is no fear.
The dreamer flies—over the small village
that holds them away from the sky.
In the dream, the boy is the man,
gripping his knees to the horse
and locking one hand into its mane.
The man looks backward—
the night is too slow to reclaim them.
The horse has no wings but they fly
into another waking—
whatever follows is too slow. They escape.
FLYING IN DREAMS
I went on a soar—
dreaming all night.
Lit the moon with my boldness.
I was made of light.
I was made of cold.
Did not fear the height.
The billow-gown I wore
was my travel kite
through the luminous skies—
the darkness so bright
I knew my way through
with a vast dream-sight.
The sky was so deep I knew
it was all right
to be there—like a thought-bird—
as if I might
become winged—find word
where throat was tight
with word resistance.
The dream would invite
me again, I thought, as everything blurred.
As everything went white.
Time is caught standing still—
waiting for me to catch
up—a flock of white birds
under the half moon where
I hold them with my eyes.
Such mistiming—what pulls
us apart—the twilight
I turn to you to say
something—but you are not
held in the same moment—
words slip between—goodbye
floats off into silence.
The caught birds release and
fly into the dark trees.
THE DARK-THROATED BIRDS GO BY
last summer about this time
I yearned for rain
tried to bring the heavy thermometer down
with hourly eyes
this year the wind is here
rattling the trees and conjuring up
malformed clouds in nervous skies
the crowds at the fair
have brought no sweaters
so they hug themselves
with shivering summer arms
today I have heard
the dark-throated birds go by
leaving scattery secrets of silence behind them
the dog is so young on his chain
he howls his innocent prayers into the
aftermath of sirens
believing this will end
the continual sound in pain
the calendar thinks
it has turned in a dream
it hangs in confusion upon the wall
recounting itself to find its error
if there is rain I will not know how
to love it this soon
one must make ready a long time
for first rain
must really need it
now I can hear cold footsteps in the leaves
but there are no leaves I tell myself
and look through the wavery glass of my house
and yes there are the leaves
LOCKED IN FLIGHT
(after “Flight of Birds” 1955, Morris Graves)
terror-force of movement
the skies intruding—a collage
of birds becoming a wingless blur
taking on the shape of one comet-fall
through ultimate migration
which way forward?
and which way back?
the skies change
making a hole ( ) to fly through
now they are each—fraction of other /
each one leading / each one following:
remember them ?
His dream shatters around him;
the weeping women in the mirror, gone; the thousand
golden sparrows of sunlight, flying away from him.
He senses the deep loneliness that surrounds him.
The walls suffer his staring and deepen their
shadows, morning flowing backwards into night.
He looks at the clock and closes his eyes—listens
for the tiny songs of the birds—the women’s weeping,
and begs himself back into sleep.
THE DYING APHID
from the rose,
his gauzy wings
web-thin arms about
Here is drama
the least compassion.
(first pub. in The American Bard, 1964;
also Frog Perspective Mini-Chap, 1994)
IN THE WANING
the cloudy eloquence of sky
with its boundless whispering . . .
the somnolent winds that gentle down
into welcome breezes . . .
the long gaze
into the changing pull of distance . . .
the sudden flight of twilight birds,
releasing around me . . . .
—Medusa, wishing you luck with a challenging Seed of the Week: The Ham-of-the-Month Club.