Thursday, May 07, 2015

Catching the Sun

—Poems by B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA
—Photos by Stacie Sherman, Orangevale, CA


May I say a line
of my poem
as the Elms cease
to shiver
in my back yard
near the Bay
shading my eyes
of green, blue
in the middle of the sea
as a fisherman
in a Greek cap
unloosens the anchor
with his two strong hands
on my orange kayak
surviving the winter storms
bowing to the winds
circling our horizon
of swaying grey shadows
suddenly his voice rises
as he translates my poem
in his Greek tongue
and fixed sparkling stare
as he captures a cache
of salmon for our dinner
he prepares with ouzo.


Today everyone fears
the greater powers

on earth
they cower as kings

on ships of state
they watch continents

motioning to our rowboats
as undercover waves

with hard-line lips
over the ocean passengers

ordering whom they wish
to manipulate

even mapping the censorship
between words of two mates

who like Hart Crane
just want love to communicate,

but what is a creator of poetry
in the fickle fate of theory

of today's unknown poet
a conduit of reason and rhyme

the unknown poet of our years
who sails past all time and season

by the floating sunshine
in his work-out body

waiting on once-sublime words
to anchor his or her literary weight

when there is no Byron, Pushkin,
or Shelley around to elucidate

no Sappho, Dickinson,
Chatterton or Whitman to date.


We wrote of iamb
and anapest
while roasting lamb
in Budapest
translating a poet
unfolding a Gypsy melody
to play on his old fiddle,
he and his divine wife
a new bride with dark eyes
liked me a little
as I played second violin
to their first jazz riffs
in the middle style
of an Elysian field
yet I yielded to none
of the arrows of St. Sebastian
in the archery contest
held outside the tent city
holding up my swift arrow
to hit the target and string
in my homemade bow
with a prayer to God
the successor to Apollo,
to whom I lyrically sing
my musical gift
wanting to be gracious
for the huge size of pots
circling over the covers
on this generous open table
of goulash and Parisian wine
we could not wish for more
as we dine in the sunshine
in Hungarian informality
here at the arts festival
at carnival time.



Whispers cannot be heard
by those authorities
who identify you
as abiding like a songbird
in harbored secret words
hung on your cage
needing to be set free
at your young age
reassured only in shadows
to those who must murmur
at the emperor's clothes
and blinded by a lonely stare,
yet soon we will get our feet
wet in the afternoon rain
and be able to laugh and sing
for it is only just and fair
to escape our nest, lair or bed
to rest under the sun
and share our bread.


A student asks me
for my early influences

It is a confluence
of masks and sequences,

At ten I read John Very
telling me of the heavenly

then the Puritan Milton
with his aerial quality

and visionary John of the Cross
who loved a dark night absolutely

then at eleven in the park turned
to Ashbery's symmetry

I thought up on his pages
a language's long chemistry

then in easier French
read Rimbaud's songs to my ear

on a bench yearned for sound
turned to T.S. Eliot and Pound

Sought to be modern
and fed on W.H. Auden

and away from a patriarch's path
met Sexton and Sylvia Plath.


NEPAL, April 26, 2015

As if mountains fall
when the earth shakes
over Nepal
as one wakes again
and all life will stall
in the fountains of rain
and for a time breaks all.



Partisan resistance
realizing what fascism does
your small bands who fought
brought honor and buzz
from your hands and cause
and taught us
seventy-five years ago
that one must disobey
all of racism's laws,
as you know.


Is there any more room
in Harold Bloom's canon
from a bold pantheon
of Milton, Dickens
and Dickinson
or having their own champion
like in a song of Campion
all sensing they are a conduit
for the divine as a poet
even if they do not believe
like Chesterton
in the Word's highest power,
they loose a partisan attitude
in their best invention's hour
being fit in their literary mode
of their wronged convention
sharing at least a Party's ode
on their own code's pretension
of an arbitrary mode
that would eventually flower
from their own sex or sects
by an arty sectarian guest
reading for a librarian's hour.


Where the living are
in the death March
yet it is now April
and we choose life
at this moment
with love feeling fragile
and vulnerable
as stones tossed
into the Bay
from my outstretched hand
as a prayer
on days of gratitude
send us your rhythm
of a grateful beatitude
on mountains of transfiguration
renew our siren of creation
to the frenzied open heaven
of warring angels,
save us in song
on your Christ eyelids
hidden in the Word
from your world
of mercy.


On Mother's Day
a time for remembering
from snowy November
to flowering May
asking her wise advice
is understood
to think twice,
as our eyes awaken
from a river bed
in woodland's evening
by blackbird's red wings
we recall
what Mom has said,
picturing her
gathering wild roses
from the rock garden
reminding us of Mary
in our middle-aged mind
from a quattrocento painting
by Masaccio,
how parts of our memory
on our own mirror endure
in or out church doors,
we poets search
like Virgil, Dante, Milton
for a lost paradise
here in conduit of the sun
near the water and springs
as kindly art and nature
transform and pardon us
as a new born bird sings.


Today's LittleNip:


Unique understanding
of John Donne
where body, soul, spirit
share as one
with the metaphysical Word
as a bird watcher
catches the sun
leaning on an Elm
in the April's spring air.


—Medusa, with thanks to today's master chefs, and a note that there is lots going on tonight in NorCal poetry; be sure to scroll down to the blue box (under the green box) for all the news!