Today the gulls
swarmed the cold winter sky;
the sun rimmed the edges of their wings.
They crossed each other’s sky-paths,
circular and slow.
We watched them from the car, not wanting
to open the doors to disturb their dance.
Finally, they flew down onto an open space
in the parking lot.
I have only my eyes to tell you this.
After “Circus Memories” by Michael Parkes
She watches him
from her distance,
and the swan
the crescent moon
and no star.
Oh, how he loves to juggle
the golden spheres of
secret after secret.
He knows she’s there.
WASH OF SORROWS
The sky pulls blue distance
through birds—fading at the horizon,
lingerings of hymns from long ago Sunday
—grief in the guise of prayer;
windows that hold what they know,
then let it go—wash of sorrows—
soft rain stroking upturned faces
—hawk circles marking territories of air;
under the light, the gray thought
fitting into the mind of the unwary,
a new plan forming,
finding its nerve—its love—
its place in the mind;
some old belief surfacing—
like a winter. Meanwhile
things happen again :
insolent crows :
a random butterfly wavering past.
THE BIRD OF LIFE
Somewhere in time a gold bird explodes.
It is all covered with fire.
It is falling into our burning eyes.
We can hear its bright wings screaming.
We respond with our mouths open and answering.
We can see its white eyes bore through crimson skies.
The clouds catch fire
and the cindered stars are reeling.
We stand in the color of this sight.
We have come together to celebrate this mourning.
Our hands are at our throats.
We can feel our pulses pounding in our fingertips.
We can see the great self
of the bird burn away, and we can see
what life is made of in its mysterious center.
The sky has caught fire.
We ignite in the infinite color.
The bird has been falling forever.
Every glinting fragment of it falls
into our rapidly beating hearts.
(first pub. in Galley Sail Review, 1967)
That winter day when we walked in rain
and wind, and I wore a coat, and you wore
a thin white shirt, and our wet hair
flattened to our faces as we leaned
into the elements of our discussion
and the cold skies moved in heavy
tones of gray—immense and rumorous—
though we were only out for an easy,
winter walk, around the windy, rainy block.
(first pub. in ZamBomba! (on line), c. 2002)
He throws his net out
over the cluttered air of night.
His body strains forward;
it gleams in the moonlight.
He catches dreams and worries,
he catches terrors and dyings.
His back is turned to us.
He does not know we are watching.
He does not know we fill his skies
so his net will never be empty
(first pub. as Muse of Fire Broadside, 1997)
SKIES OF MY CHILDHOOD
I fly in my dreams, clear through the ceiling.
Never mind windows. Never mind doors.
I fly where I fly—through glass,
through stubborn mirrors—
especially ceilings of sleep:
I am without wings.
Sleep allows wingless flight.
I fly through the skies of my childhood,
over the sleeping town and gleaming railroad tracks.
Whatever I searched for then is still unfound.
I lie on my back and stare through the ceiling—
my arms at my sides—my heart beating softly
in the room that pulses around me.
I wait for the pulling.
SKY PUDDLE: A PERSPECTIVE
In a puddle of water, the sky—clouds
confined to this small rain lake,
the brief flight of gulls
that do not stir the surface,
that do not seem displaced or strange,
though they fly upside down.
And vertigo is not the point of this—
that such a shifting vastness
can be caught—fragmentary
and deep, if one looks down to see
and does not break the image
with their own reflected feet.
(In slight revision from publication inPoets' Forum Magazine, 1996)
THOSE WHO LOVE THE RAIN
It’s rain—and rain again—from
Sunday to Sunday, the long skies
let down their grieving,
or is that only what we name it, for
some look out of windows and sigh—
and are enclosed in a sort of
something like contentment.
—Medusa, stealing our Seed of the Week from Joyce Odam, with thanks: Something Like Contentment. Send poems/artwork/photos about this or any other subject to firstname.lastname@example.org/. No deadline on SOWs, though.