IN BLUE REFLECTION
(After "Water", photo enhancement
Now water separates against the land.
Now earth has broken away.
Now there is only sky and water;
there is only dream,
with its ancient illusion.
The sky is caught in blue reflection
of nothing there.
Where is the gasp of warning—
the change that will change
again—surge back against
the awesome beauty of destruction.
Is this but a held breath:
that lets go a cosmic sigh
that settles back into forgiveness?
Over the golden tundra (?)
in leaps and bounds
follow the cloudy sunlight
flickering across the dunes (?)
like teasing moments
Everything is tawny:
the earth against the hoof prints
left by the running of the gazelles.
Forget destination and distance,
it is the in-between of this
that dazzles the perceiver—
the stillness caught
between each leap—
these moments of un-endangered joy.
THE NEW WORLD
It was the hollow world we entered
with our dream of entering—
with our knowledge of being there.
It was the far room at the end
with its wavering wall
that held firm for our entrance.
And then, the vast potential—:
we could paint everything with our minds:
mountains, sky, earth, our own seas;
we could invent eternity.
How eager we were,
pouring over imagined blueprints.
Oh, the birds we created—
the marvelous jungles and cities,
children of no cruelty;
The weather was divided
into seasons with no extremes.
We balanced everything
to perfection . . . and then,
we left it there . . . slipped out of our world
before it knew of us.
I want to write about the corn
but these hard kernels of dull gold
fail to remind me of
all I know about the corn…
the way it listens in the summer for
the wind that always finds it…
the way it speaks
and moves from speaking…
rustle bend rustle rattle bend.
This wrinkled corn in my earth hand
cannot pretend to be the
the finished product of my eye,
cannot acclaim itself that far…
this dried up
with all its miracle inside itself
in my cupped hand…
waiting to begin.
(first pub. in In a Nutshell, 1979)
I am in a doorway, bracing against it.
I am as tall as it is and can easily touch
both sides, yet I am a child; and in reality,
the doorway is huge.
I am in an earthquake. Behind me the dark
bulk of the house is shuddering with noise;
outside, the house is blurring and shifting as
if there were no stability left in the world.
I cannot move. I freeze to the doorway,
which is white and smooth. I fasten to the
white smoothness, close my eyes and wait.
I am an adult now. The doorway has
regained its true size—a flash of something
has brought me back and forth in time at the
first recognizable rumble:
Earthquake…? My imagination…?
ON WATCHING A BEAUTIFUL SUNSET ALONE
a merging of violent colors
paint flowing across the sky
melting the core of the earth
mountains forcing through
a releasing sigh
the last red sunset
in a momentary flare
a last brilliance of mind
nothing but sky to bear all this
in the sky
like a high
promise made of sunset
and voice of, say, God, in His Most
Religious Moment—shining there
like a private illusion not at all
(un)like some Neon Cloud Formation
made of pollution dust
in a windless sky—the ocean blazing beneath it
with shimmering red light from
the disappearing sun and lapping against the
consciousness of everything
even the silhouette of the very earth…
the breathing trees… the (un)breathing stone
picked up at random and carried in a pocket
where some divining hand can feel the comfort
of it—oh, sweet digression—
you have carried me away from
The Number In The Sky which seemed so vain
with its self-congratulation—and was
so admired by the (un)discerning
and the envious—like an ad for happiness:
Oh, One; Oh, Zero; Oh, Ten
all the efforts clang like uphill trains;
or boats in fog;
or the distance from drowning
at the edge of the shore
like the slow grief of water
wanting to be born
but the earth is slow
and the air cannot remember
all the sleepers are dead, so there is
no dreamer—one far-off poet
remaining in words,
those prisons of inarticulation…
every sorrow has a name—whatever
you call it; whatever you want and
cannot have; whatever you lose and cannot
find; whatever you explain to unhappiness
if there is a reason for healing
let it not be this one
there is too much to do yet,
too much loss and too much grieving
I will take the sad earth of myself
and make a poem.
Speak me well.
Arrange me in lines of sound.
Your eyes will know when to pause.
I will be hills
and more hills.
I will be
and go barren of everything.
I will be
desert stretches of emphasis.
No map will cure me.
I will not come to an end when I am done.
I will begin again,
I will begin again.
(first pub. in Parting Gifts)