Thursday, May 14, 2015

Getting Metaphysical

—Poems by B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA
—Photos by Katy Brown, Davis, CA


Those wild strawberries
in our cool hand
which keep us in sweetness
on May's long airy days
we hike on Concord trails
ablaze the meadow flowers
in well-worn denims
through kicking a ball
by cypress
catching my breath
over tall grass shade
against the west wind
of swarming hum of bees
by Walden Pond
reading to a circle of students
overcoming the pine combs
on common ground
over Indian blankets
of spreading light
all of us in turn
reciting words from Thoreau
everyone responds with perception
among the relentless sunshine
on these dales and hills
as nature reveals
the same language, love, nature
that the songbirds call.



Who astonishes the sea
along the ruddy shore
like a May morning
in view at a port of entry
from my new sun shades
setting out like Ulysses
unshaven as Whitman
asking a boat-motioning sailor
from the Azores
with a rose of Lisbon
in his girlfriend's clasped hands
if he could help me
with the anchor from my kayak,
telling him
in my limited Iberian speech
how last week a kindly Greek soul
aided me with the same request
as he lifted a softly painted image
of his jostled gaze
from his embraced lover,
following my helpless shadow
in a yellow raincoat
hovering in the high tidal waves
which rock his ditch water arms
that my back is not as strong
nor is my neck as smooth
as his young figure resembling
the curved lines as a man
in the Medusa's raft of Turner
against the showered heat
and boldly in one swoop
he cuts the anchor loose
as the hour is redeemed
against the flaming sky
along a surge of the dark sea.


We did not expect
fresh snow showers in May
in northern California
or in leafy Maine
for Whitman also marvels
as he leaves a windowpane
in a border state
to travel and comfort
young soldiers wounded
against a tree of life,
there are no limits
to nature or love
when young death voids
the living harmony of our day
yet out of funereal ashes
that are always around us
we are provided with love
under a fire escape
or fierce blood moon
under explosions or mishaps
on fields of cypress and hyacinth
near open thresholds
of reborn wild roses,
for suffering cannot turn us
to earthy uniform headstones,
nor measure our life
by terrible civil wars
in the span of season or time
but in fate's new buds growing
as we visit a battlement veteran
on leave of the neighborhood past
looking forward to a soul mate
born twice to laughter
who understands his acquaintance
with shy departure of friends
remembering at first light
there is joy in each impression
on a riverbed of flowering waters
from a Cezanne blazing sunflower
in the cedar forest woodland
there is always a sailing memory
of the Seine in each face
and a cathedral veil of a ceiling
at every standstill house
painted along the dusty road.



Six seconds
as blue jays appear
in the museum courtyard
awaiting Picasso
and the Old Masters
in our white sneakers,
our own drawing easels
expanding their imagination
in the hill background
of our jostling the crowds
expecting artistic recognition
in my sequence of words
being the fourth in line
quenching my verse's thirst
which follows my proliferation
of exercising words.


Music thunders at me
sponsors my invading step
standing in for verse
after a night dream
in young French
born out of St. John Perse
out of my binoculars
at my tremulous reading
in his soft-leafed slim volume
of pocket wandering sadness,
at the local French library,
a hard-hitting school reporter
with broken sunglasses
asks me if he's my icon,
I'm telling him Perse is one
of the first fervid poets
who flooded my soul
with a sponged volume hid
for years in my old pea-jacket
now caked with its corners
in a phosphorescent mud
taken with me cross-country
when constantly wearing
a blue beret and handkerchief
my mother gave to me
on her day
as she was want to do
which I proudly wore
along the Charles
on every crew race in May.



Chased from notes
trending now
my fingers are lucid
for words like salt
making no promises
on a cool edge
feeling like an Icarus
who swims and drowns
on my mouth's sensitivity
my introspective wounds
are bandaged
on scaled mountain images
as riffs in pages of shadows
play out its lingering voices
in cabins of disarray
and moments of blues
from cherished B flats
in luminous memories
from reeds of the unseen
hearing Scriabin
in a piano sonata
mingled in my fathomless
captivity to art
when a liquid sun shines
outside my alto range
as the sea swells
outside the club on Thursday
I make waves.



There is no chore
in store
for a laundry list
you swore to remember
here on Saturday midnight
from tired sleep
you close the light
in the rush
for your Sunday best
moving my wrist
the water gushes
in the moving shadows
near your tired feet
drying out your list,
we know a poet
only urges to be kissed
clothed by the Word itself
in his refuge below
the huge dark cellar,
as the drip flows
through the window
among the vapor's universe
you dryly walk away
reciting your stellar verse.


Born May 12 (1828-1882)

There was always light
in your woodland drawings
hovering from reshaped colors
of playful joy that we escape to
in your bailiwick's landscapes,
invited to be guests
to your Beata Beatrix
under white museum walls
of the preRaphaelites
which disarm dark nights
to escort us as swans
over the sea and tall towers
to illuminated nascent dawns,
your adjacent canvas of flowers
excavates my transfixed soul
drawing in an ethereal breath
of luminous consciousness
unhindered by post-Elizabethan
and modernist time
after a Fine Art's museum visit
to view your paintings
along the Victory gardens
over the Fenway's city limit,
we had a repast
of French bread and salad
over the park bench's tall grass
at outdoor Sunday's poetry,
arts and musical recitals
in lyrically painted afternoons
watching flotillas of sky divers
by parachutist's flyovers
we walk in a hurry with kites
on paths of capsized balloons
over glad day Esplanades
by easy greensward boundaries
along vivid sunny dunes
in aromas familiarity of nature
as birds circle the spring orbs
leaving us at a miracle sunrise
by showers that made us shiver
like a new May leaf
giving us a flowered surprise
and thrill at grandiose roses
on the very greenest hill
covering a public art exhibit
and privacy view at a bas relief
by the last pine cone and twig
to face the desires of the day
in a narrative's belief at nature
from Dante Rossetti's goodwill.



Battering my soul
among new green buds
on leave from the world
carrying a Sunday knapsack
of dry fruit and yogurt
watching roads into blue hills
getting close to river beds
where we once scouted
for an avid labyrinth
of neon and gold butterflies
surprised by unnoticed orioles
from the mouth of the sky
running to view a seagull
by the dock's wharf
my sheepdog companion
watches over me by red tulips
and blazing sunflowers
rests on my shadowed expression
surprised by the living aviary
yet acquainted with birdsong
in the cool delta's air
of a woodland mirrored journey
in colors of a wellspring paradise.



At college, John Milton
with truthful knowledge

as youth expresses
his own addresses

you were cleverly named
not ever shamed "the Lady"

being the Puritan guardian
of the sectarian and virgin

putting on your play
with Henry Lawes music cast

in your own Comus
your character's masque

holding your heavenly laurel
the press harassed in a quarrel

in their laughter's pit
you turned your back

wishing for a gold crown
in a divine celestial life

God has ordained
for a trained poet

of being put on trial here
but not in the hereafter

not defiled by your own
fair skin and limbs

but wise in a long hymn
to the lost paradise.


Today's LittleNip:


Waiting for that first line
of a sestina's space
as a Proven
çal troubadour
to splash over me with grace
longing to shine once more
along waves familiar commotion
pinned down on my poem's face
writing along the ocean shore.


—Medusa, with thanks to today's fine, fine contributors!