It is an old summer; let us play
while the air is golden and time is long
and lissome as a serpent
gathering the swift ground as it slips between
the heartbeats of the hour.
Let us pretend that is all there is
for us to know. Never mind
the ending. It is as slow as we make it.
Come, my shadow; it is a bright,
bewildered morning—let us follow
the sun-rust over the day. The sunlight
is bright as love upon us. Feel how it trembles.
Never mind the warning. The weatherman
is wrong. There is nothing coming.
QUESTIONS AS ORACLES :
Opinions already established,
How do you answer this :
why? and how? and when?
So much for the long interview.
Skip the part about truth.
Truth is a banner.
It speaks for itself.
What heart is broken :
by stones? Why water?
What has kept you so long?
Words are more dangerous
than stones under rain—
words under stones.
STARING AT TIME
fluttering down from the trees
the little souls of leaves
the life that death believes…
the splintering of bird-songs
the little rights and wrongs
the way it all belongs…
the mental vertigo
the things that stay and go
the tercets in a row…
the souls that wait in stones…
the music in the bones
the casual undertones…
the threes and twos and one
the endings late begun
the black glare in the sun…
Oh! to the stars
in their patient brilliance:
brilliant labyrinth, stone-broken,
clue—falling from the sky:
Oh, falling stars
of stones and stars:
opening, then closed.
Tiny specks, dark holes,
of pure memory.
What a beautiful
music to the eye.
THE CUSTOM OF PLACING STONES UPON THE GRAVES
At first there was only one stone, and soon after,
another, and gradually the stones grew in number.
Mourners at nearby graves began to notice this
and wonder at the power of someone who deserved
so many stones—marveled that it must be for some-
body very famous or revered and they—in token—
began to place their stones with the others, as if
they too knew to whom they felt a memory, and
this, in turn, caused others to bring the stones of
their memory until a celebrated shrine was there—
stones and stones later—after the first stones of the
FORCING THE WORDS
The poetry is slow as stones
that would turn in darkness
with no molasses to move them.
no hunger to hurt, no gain to grow.
Who tells the stones when to move?
Not poetry with its scattered words
and hiding images
like souls in the world
with death waiting near by,
death with its loneliness.
Oh how the stones resist
and refuse to move, like art,
like the creation of love
before it learns what it is.
The poetry in the stones
will not move.
(first pub. in Piedmont Literary Review, 1990)
MY THOUGHTS TO YOURS:
a slow trail
that spans a slow river
that gurgles over the river stones
we are the span that bridges
the mutual distance
our thoughts do not reach
what the river carries
by the current of the river
(first pub. in Poets' Forum Magazine
and CQ, Contemporary Quarterly, 1980)
Forgive the wanderlust of stones. They move
like shadows over unrelenting years.
They settle against dim light and barely breathe.
Be patient like the stones. They do not know
you grieve. Nor care. They do not even know
you study them for patience when you move
from loss to loss, and even forget to breathe
till numbness wears off. Do not count the years
as many or few. Time will count the years
for you. There’s healing in the way you know
how stones do not consider how they breathe—
nor do they know that shadows make them move
in moving time. They do not gauge the years
that breathe through them. Time is what they know.
BY THE OLD BROKEN FENCE
Weed flower—patient and invasive,
creeps over stones and broken board
of old wood fence
rests and renews—
finds the morning rays of sunlight
through the fence boards
and proclaims itself Morning Glory . . . .
—Medusa, with thanks to Joyce Odam for our wonderful, hot breakfast of poems and pix, and a note that our new Seed of the Week is Ghost Ship. Send your poems, photos and artwork on that (or any other subject) to email@example.com/. No deadline on SOWs.