Thursday, April 23, 2015

Sacks Full of Light

Raccoon Print in Mud
—Poems by B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA
—Photos by Stacey Sherman, Orangevale, CA



Rain is indifferent
at first light
wrinkles the wind
from a four-day
a few strong squalls
snap and snatch
the bark whirring
on oak trees,
at the sealed window
a poet in a red scarf
and dark jacket
waits for calm
to explore thick woods
along the bridge
sunshine gleams
on a lonely road
and grackles
search for bread
in the faded dawn
of an unruly coast
a collapsed kayak
from the home harbor
drifts in constant light
of a ditchwater shore
as a sax player
by the oldest swaying oak
prepares his oars
where a loon pipes
his song over the sea
resonates in the network
of an unsettled heart
wishing Thoreau
would visit here
and explore the woods
with me in Concord.



is no longer dawn
the still breeze
no longer the breeze
a memory off-shore
no longer
in an unsure April.



Joined in a nascent spring
a crocus in my hand
by the dark country road
the wind whispers
by blocking first light
on my sunglasses
echoes of mourning doves
awaken me on my knapsack.

 Driftwood Serpent


A fragile flower
you hold on
here in the zen garden
so why fear
the early morning
when you dream
on the ineffable earth
of the last icy winter
at the early hour
love glances at your guest
changing the first light
on your face
there is a limpid smile
you had in sleep.



Aware of the power
of water, sand, tree
in the honeysuckle
by the Charles River
on revolutionary fields
at Boston Common
near lovers, grackles, graves
a poet's hushed light
of feathered warmth
from muddy streams
green moss, lichen, stone
to open the springs
by fountains
pruning lilacs
no song birds are missing.

 1970s 2-Button Can


There are few Puritans
here of any sort
under the flaring sun
round-heads need not apply
or hidden royalty
of Cavaliers
in their collars
only tourist dollars
are their loyalty
at any last resort
yet there is a boy by the rocks
with his sports gear
by his backpack side
reading the Pensées of Pascal
in solitude, out of sight
and a bride of a few years
with long blond locks
stretched out
on the white sand
with a seared copy
of the Magna Carta
and the Bill of Rights
in her strong hand.


(April 22, 1999)

You talk about poems
and stories
from the chamber music
of your heart
when my Aunt Manya
read to me
your ironic words
when she was seventy
trying to teach me Russian
on her daybed
telling me about
her childhood along
the Neva River
and her love for Ahkmatova
as a widow
mourning the war
and for my part
nibbling like the birds
on your pastry
from the old country
we always celebrated
on April twenty-third
with some tea
and vodka
my appetite for writing
was always stirred.

 Squirrel-Made Pineapple Out of Pinecone


"The Dandelion,"
your short story
we read in school
and unlike an April fool
we won't forget it
nor your work as a poet
you finally paid your dues
after hating the military
and refusing to go back
to the contrary beliefs
for peace
in the early sun
of your days and night
dying from a dirty fever
not reaching thirty
unwilling to put on
a German uniform
or serve the war machine
you finally received
your release.



You are convinced
that war hunted
and haunted
those who survive.



Poet of Resistance
escaping from the enemies
of Parisian spring and love
clutching like Apollo
Daphne's hip as she flees,
after the war
you were supposed
to be in a car with Camus
but there was no room
for you and you escaped
a tragic accident
allowing you to be timeless
taking the long Orphic view.   

 4WD Party Spot


You return miles from home
still in darkness
quenched from thirst
dazzled by landscapes
traveling on unveiled roads
with your rucksack
on your hardened shoulders
loaded with fruit
in a low village
of bird call and swallows
fearing the next hour
pale from an embrace
not showered
in the wilderness
wanting to hold back
at first to a secret love
yet you say "Yes."



Your sackful of light
raised in a thousand suns
will not diminish
over mountains or deep seas
we will wish to hear your voice
flowing through centuries,
we who read you
when you suddenly
disappeared from us,
hardy, lyrical, marvelously
in a body of poems
from rivulet passages
of a lovely elegy.


Today's LittleNip:


We do not forget
one soul or skeleton
from Adam's rib,
who needed
a prayer even in their crib.


Our thanks to Stacie Sherman for her photos, and to B.Z. Niditch for his poetry today and for his poem and note about the passing of Nobel-Prize-Winning (2011) Swedish Poet Tomas Tranströmer on March 26 of this year at the age of 83. For more about Tranströmer, see

Another link B.Z. sent us has more about Tranströmer, including B.Z.'s poem "Expectations", which appeared in
Randomly Accessed Poetics in 2012, and which is read on youtube by William James Lindberg. See



 Tomas Tranströmer, 1931-2015