Saturday, February 14, 2015

All Of Us In The Song

—Poems and Photos by D.R. Wagner, Locke, CA


 I stood at the river's edge.
 The waters listen to me.
 It is part of their Summer to do so.

 Someone is standing beneath a tree
 Looking up at a great white owl
 With golden eyes that stare back
 Through a rain that has
 The most delicate of hands.
 A rain that can find the mouse
 Beneath a cluster of oak leaves.

 We know their names.
 We are still afraid to say them.
 There will be death if we say them.

 A great fish passes high
 Above this holy scene
 And it isn’t noticed.

 The wind grinning at us
 Knowing how bitter everything
 Will be the moment we fall asleep.

 The river rising up into the rooms.



 They tore the threads out at the seams
 And we spilled into the valley.
 Some of us in the river.
 Some of us in the fields.
 Some of us in the air.
 Some of us in the glitter.
 Some of us in the woods.
 Some of us in the fruit trees.
 Some of us in the wind.

 All of us in the song.
 The singing louder than
 The Spring frogs telling
 Everything they knew
 To the fog.

 And the rays of sunlight
 Piercing every moment.


 The green is quick on the ground.
 Things dance when we least
 Expect them to.

 If you’ve business there, then bring
 It on.  And so does the sun
 Each day and the breath pumps
 Away looking for the charred one,
 The place after the rapids
 Where the river runs flat
 As glass once again
 And once again as clear.

 I won’t be mounting any towers
 To see the horsemen, now distant,
 Now at hand, for I can
 Hear as well as the next wind
 And bring myself closer
 To the fire, gather you in
 My arms, begin to tell of the open ground,
 Say again of the quick green.


 I was sitting in the corner.
 You were playing in the yard.
 I tried hard to remember
 If you could play your card.

 The one they called the Queen of Spades
 Seemed almost a perfect choice.
 It would stop the boys from bantering.
 They would listen to your voice.

 I watched your face lit by the fire.
 I rose and closed the gate.
 The garden lamps were being lit.
 I did not want to wait.

 Deep as love might seem at times
 It still makes us all bow down.
 I let myself get caught in there.
 I saw your yellow gown.


 A lantern.  Where else would
 People greet you and ask how you had been?

 What was that song anyway?
 It seems to last and last
 But it never gets sung.

 So we keep life and death in our hands
 And go walking through the Winter
 Beneath that beautiful wing.

 And no one can tell us anything
 We want to hear and our eyes
 Fill up with tears
 And we can see ourselves
 Walking away from the sudden
 Town until all the world
 Could speak of nothing but darkness.



 It was the thick part of longing
 Where you could feel your own hand
 Touching the beloved.

 A thin trace of scent in the air
 That one cannot say what the little
 Movement is and the sky is awash
 With only the prettiest of flowers
 And there is a joyous laughter
 That stays upon the skin
 Like some other being, an animal
 That knows where you are going
 And finds a way to be there
 When you pass the property you know
 As your own heart and opens a window.

 You look in and can see a leg
 Slide beneath the whitest of sheets.

 Hush, hush yourself.  Listen to the train
 Whistles out on the horizon.
 Surely you are going somewhere?
 Why else would be carrying
 On like this, lighting your own heart
 On fire and rushing to the tops
 Of the hills, showing it as if it were
 A flag of some sort, a mouth,
 A way of speaking?


 I have spent too much time
 With nothingness, I have felt
 The waters, aways twisting, always
 Finding some way to speech that discourages me
 From probing too deeply into
 My own journey.

 It’s not like I don’t know
 Where I came from or why
 I am here working at the same
 Wheel, moving what amounts to parts
 Of my soul to make some kind
 Of statement I can understand,
 Hold in my hand, like a knife, or a sword,
 Something to cut the jungle apart
 Only enough to allow me to pass through.

 I’ve been this way before.
 I just never thought of you
 Watching me from the shore
 As I held the deck, trying to
 Ride the great rapids.

 There was only one way to go
 And that was downriver.
 I could never come this way
 Again and there you were
 On the river bank that night.

 Your touch made the rocks look
 Like monsters and the rapids
 Spitting me past your point
 On the rock.

 I have no idea how you knew
 We would be traveling this way,
 But you did.  I closed my eyes
 To a red-violet that crashed
 As sound upon my ears.
 Yet I could hear each word
 As it was spoken.  You never shouted.

 You never asked that I return
 When we made it past the whirlpool,
 The river turning 90 degrees right
 Into an entire novel of new
 Water, each with something deadly
 To say about how we might
 Find an understanding of each other.
 Perhaps it was love of a kind.
 You dipping your touch into the current
 So only the moon could claim us.
 You, white across the river mist and caught in
 Very old tales where I had forgotten
 Our names, the memory of our wanting
 To finish this part of the journey.

 The clarity of the morning star
 Just above the bow of the raft.
 A poignant knowledge
 That all this might happen
 Again even as we walked
 Down a street in a city
 Talking about an image we had seen.
 How important it seemed
 To everything we thought
 Our love to be, from
 Any particular moment.


 Today's LittleNip:

 What a strange thing!
 to be alive
 beneath cherry blossoms.

 —Kobayashi Issa



—Ink Drawing by Sierra Mytirena