Thursday, February 26, 2015

Snow Kisses

Frost Feathers
—Poems by B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA
—Photos by Denise Flanigan


Here we are in a snow-kissed
Zen peace garden
away from home
in the Seventies
invited to give an urban reading
with branches waiting to be green
wishing to have our cold bodies
washed by a Formosa sunshine
playing a drum song
on our fingers and wrist
to expect a thirsty visit
of lemony flowers by waterfalls
or seasoned seaweed
to poke through
our open face in the sand
or first light up
to reach our poetry bench
even just to drink mimosa
or pick a lofty orange
over Taipei's living ivy walls
wishing for a second wind of self
in silence of secret language
as a Mikado Pheasant dances by
over the slanting red roofs
we are awed by whirlpools
of a beach whale sighting
and with a cosmic spirit
of being alive as the young tree's
leaves on a bright yew.



Did not your name
on your walking papers
have to change for this race
each one with an anonymous color
over our sweatshirted backs
mine being orange
because of my Cape's kayak
eyeing a fawn on the grassland
in my kinetic lookout
from the Green Hills
here early for the marathon
holding a quartz time piece
from Paris as a lucky stone
downing two cups of latte
on the rocky roads
with a new outlook and lens
back home
within reach of my journey
yet receiving snow kisses
in the thick of hugging conversation
from the other runners
much more experienced
than this abandoned
language poet
with genuine flowing tears
on my solitary mouth
yet holding my tongue
while feeling alive
by the victory torch
passing my applauding hand.


Playing the Belgian composer's
difficult concerto in E major
even for my uncle's child
prodigy was not street-easy
but my strengthened hands
from after-school basketball
and constant practice on the bridge
made me suitable
to have my fingering stretched out
in the cadenzas at my recital
yet here I am tuned up and ready
to play in white short pants
pleading to remember
every note
with the knowledge
of my nana's promise
of a February vacation
with fun in distant California.



There are some things
that have no levity
about them
but it's really
best not to be willful
in our speech
but to reach out
to nature
beyond any baroque song
or our own subject matter
do the right from wrong
and exempt the extraneous
from any enormous guilt,
or like the poet H.D.
go seek Freud in therapy
yet not to be slaphappy
just amused
from any of our verse
words in language do matter
in our comforting places
though we are trained
not to mutter
or exhibit a pompous laughter
but smooth us as Swedish butter
lest bad puns tempt us
to curse after dinner
or nurse grudges
or bragging rites as a sinner
but to be like Edith Sitwell
the English poet
with light visages
in her bright passages
amid a poet's favorite care
like this pond tropical fish
in his own aquarium dish
yet knowing all the while
we navigate everywhere
searching for a miracle's escape
amid cats, carnations, jokes
on blue lakes in mild weather
the Muse wakes us
with a daily survival kit
no need for a calculated smile
watching a red bird with feather.

Feb. 22 (1907-1973)

It was there
in the Big Apple
at that reading,
was he that humorous
or bold
that my peacoated shadow
hides away
in the upper lighted floor
finding a front chair seat
and when he speaks
at the open door
every word is cool
like a poplar in the hills
almost like the whisper
of a prayer by your bed
or in a still life sanctuary
with Merton
at Gethsemani, Kentucky
the microphone echoes
its working solo for the day,
outside the seasonal grackles
are travelling down the Oak trees
of Central Park
my fate is inevitable
at the repast table
when he confirms
my artisan's love
to be in Charon's boat
and enjoy the persuadable sea
here with a narrative glory
amid Auden's creative
quest of modernity.

Feb. 22 (1900- 1973)

Surpassing waves
over the Aegean's open sea
the night is warm
and the storms now gone
from the sky bird sky
in a downcast cloudy shadow
under a once-gold slanting sun
as you, Georges Seferis
writing your precocious verse
yet half-asleep on the ship
as the Muse's favored suppliant
worthy of nostalgia's fame
drinks from a century's old
red wine bottle,
your sanguine laughter
glows from your poetry pocket.


Feb. 27 (1932-1911)

Watching Cleopatra
now through a vodka glass
or having learned to have kvass
with Igor my artistic neighbor
when your life matters
to a young audible boy
at the Hollywood premier,
and every year since sixty-three
amazed as I watch Elizabeth
when my Californian uncle Sonny
with his to-be-
continued colorful nostalgia
helped with the film studio's
world-wide publicity.


Still life teases us
by the town's funfair
featuring exhibits
of art's rechristened images
along a housecleaned renewal
on February's vacation week
by still frozen lakes
here delicate charms
cosmetic emerald, gold and silver
in cuff links, keys and compacts
are on open display tables
in chasms of our poster
from the loneliness as cabin fever
with sounding innocence
displaying the deep voice
of a new alto clarinet's sonata in B
from my icy congealed lips
as words of a future cable show
in a stand-up comedy act
will wrap a shade around my mind
in a ransomed gesture
as my sunglasses are removed
hoping the ringing town bells
will strike a good year
for blue landscaped strips of sky.


Today's LittleNip:
You will find poetry nowhere unless you bring some of it with you.

—Joseph Joubert


—Medusa, with thanks to B.Z. Niditch for his poems and pix from 'way back East, as they continue to be pummeled by cold weather.