The blear of the afternoon
Reflects itself in the sloughs,
Giving us a water temple.
This is where music is.
The songbirds arrange it
As they will. They are ours
For a brief moment. A patch
Of blue sky begins to float
Across the space. It is like
Nothing it has ever been
Compared to before.
The flowers go to work.
They paint their glitter,
Souvenirs of the day,
Played by honeybees.
I bow. Listen to the plop
Of a fish. Even the heat
Shimmers for me today.
The most devoted is the wind.
Unhurried but persistent
In its moving on the lands.
“What country is this?”
The soft animals of childhood walking
In the last of the twilight.
“Is this where the seasons come from?”
“Look, there is death. Even his horses
Are beautiful. He has such multitudes
Accompanying him. He barely notices.
To death it is all music.”
We can see eternity getting dressed.
It is wearing purple this morning.
It washes its hands in blood
As if it were a secret.
The power of the wind never lessens.
It caresses our faces even as we
Stand here gazing at the battlefields.
INSIDE THE WAVES
I can easily hear footsteps.
Through the waves I can see
How quickly night wants to reach us.
I wondered how few words I would need
To move us out of harm’s way, but these
Were waves and would not allow speech
To pause their ways. One moment
They are a gray labyrinth, the next,
Tongues of wonder that could hold nightmares
Or golden hawks guarding the Western Lands.
They bathe my flesh and touch my lips
With a fineness no lover could convey.
I know their tongues as the names of rivers,
As the curtains of the waterfalls, as the turning
Meld that calls form from emptiness and emptiness
From form. I plead to have the eyes of Whitman,
The ear of Levine, the focus of Strand,
But I am below these waves and then I am above
These waves. They are water and they are no
Longer water. I am moved with such force I can
Barely walk and still I remain within the waves.
To see your face, to hear your voice, to think
That in some eternal way I will be granted the compass,
The gift to undo Babel, the grace to be the wave
Itself and glimpse the trembling of the shadows,
Hear the faint music for a moment, the wavering
Perfect glow of the sun upon our skin.
Cheslen was of the Nath,
Those tribes called Deb who lived
South of the River Marn and who had
Done so since the time of the Gibbelins.
He had seen the demise of the Gibbelin
Horde, disappeared in a purple glow of light
That removed all traces of that ancient race.
Cheslen had the gift of spark, an ancient
And fickle affliction that manifested itself
In an ability to create rivers anywhere
By spitting a single spark and catching
It in his hands and smashing it into
A shower that became a river within
Seconds; as wide as a memory and swift
As the wind.
(...to be continued...)
"THE EPHEMERAL CERTAINTY OF
The jacaranda trees crowd the early morning.
Flock after flock of parakeets pass above them
Like sixteenth notes escaped from some great
Musical score of the jungle. Everything takes
On an air of phantom music filled with opulent
Bursts of thunder and lightning flashing the damp.
The glass of the dream is indeed perfectly clear.
Within it I found a list from Un Bel Morir. It spoke
Of the night in mysterious places:
“Nights in Sar-i-Pul, the wind from the Afghan mountains
Whipping the tent with a roar that did not let
Up until dawn;
Nights in Kerala, the enchanted dance of swarms
Of fireflies extending the violet, funereal light,
The air heavy with the fragrance of cinnamon and ginger;
Nights on the Guiana frontier, sinking in the fetid mud
Of the mangrove swamps; Nights of danger and desperate
Hunger in Anatolia; Nights of mosquitos and fever
In the Gulf of Veragua, where the rain comes down
Like an endless curse; Nights in the canyouns at the edge
Of the marshes where the Mississippi deposits its weariness;
Nights of dead calm along the coast of war-torn Yemen;
Nights like this one in the barrens, like so many others
That had been forgotten.”
There are no celebrations.
The shadows of the birds across the ground,
The breath of the ephemeral across the skin,
Across the sleeping face that could easily
Be your own. I contemplate that face,
All the faces appearing on the glass.
I believe that I am among the elect.
I believe that I live in paradise.
Shhhh... the Moonflowers are saying.
They have the night in their pale
Faces. They surround themselves
With time and gather all the children
To them. They glow and fill the evening
With precious light from deep within
The earth. She can feel the light moving
Toward them. Soon it will be upon them.
The children sit around her as if a story
Was being told, but it is the Moonflowers only.
They look like Morning Glories without the morning
In them. They have forgotten the color of the sky.
Theirs is a voice of low organ tones through brass
Pipes and vibrating in the gut. Always sing this way.
Always make the Moonflowers remind us of this
Time and how magic is always afoot in the world.
If you see the magic in a fairy tale, you can face the future.
—Medusa, thanking D.R. Wagner for today's savory sauces in the Kitchen, and noting that there is a new photo album on Medusa's Facebook page—this one featuring Sacramento Glass by Katy Brown.