Thursday, May 12, 2016

Spring Rescue

BZ with orange kayak
—Poetry by B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA


The weather was fair
on the enfolded waves
as a friend takes off the tape
from my anchored kayak
under an extended bright sun
noticing one leatherback turtle
who needs to be set free
with the same story of last
year's record cold in the Fall
on the distant part of Cape
all horrifically entangled
and strangled
by balls of plastics
twisted knots, unbalanced rope
as discarded things motion us
from picnics and addicts
in the deepest haze
of ocean tide
found along with Prozac,
razor wire, pill bottles
of narcotic items near
flavors of tiny liquors
by a mirror near a packet
of volcanic firecrackers
and a gem
of cryptic love letters
in a small trunk cover
easily drowned
in the eidetic mire,
as a nearly drunken sailor
reminiscent of a manic scene
on the operatic lips
of La Gioconda
locates a pirate's
Spanish tunic
becomes excited
for his treasure
hauled from an old ship
as if all tectonic plates vanish
he boasts of his secret find
in his vacillated leisure
yet not forgetting
an impounded
leatherback turtle
we named Myrtle
immediately calls
into Woods Hole observatory
whose brave scientists
with a quick arrival
plan a terrific rescue
from the shadowy Bay team
who saves us a testimony
from a hundred-to-one chance
and gives us hope for a turtle
for survival in the ambulance.

 Myrtle the Turtle


At Marblehead it's time
for the annual yacht race,
away from the city
north of Boston
and I am here under the shed
with the critics at Tanglewood
as my uncle Linwood took us
by the sands off the ocean shore
after he gave me on Saturday
my harmony, solfeggio,
violin and conducting lesson
for my upcoming debut
of a Bach solo
knowing with his intellectual wit
his nephew would be put out
on the musical carpet
remembering the boats passing
and the motioning hands
of the extended university crew
speaking of my music's curiosity
with "The Swan" echo
of Saints-Saëns sounding
as the winds blew on this dawn
and sails float and sing
with notes’ solace stirring
at my string's virtuosity
my mind over the laughing waters
in a grimaced luminosity
tracing along my fading memory
leaning on garden grounds
waiting for a faceless spring
to disappear on a horizon
and pardon winter's everything.


On remote feeling insecure
not emoting fearsome coercion
being with a besotted T.V. crew
of lettered-coated college students
in their sorority and fraternity
from a local university
who arrive early
on the movie set
in their own
jotted-down fantasy
promoted by
uncorked wine glasses
and spinach-
and-cheese croissants
speaking in a fine
Montreal French
who are making
a necessary preview
featuring a small village
here at the bench and gate
on a poet-documentary mission
with their own insurgent film
knotted in black and white
from an all-
seeing teleprompter
freely run by a library assistant
a former New York debutante
and intelligently cooperative too
as a confident language developer
very imprudent and framed
with a T.V. camera or two
and mass media references
is welcomed to my company
for an innocent engagement
in the Internet lexicon
with a contrary granting ambition
they are asking me knowledge
at my own half-century immersion
in study
of Robert Frost's poetry
or about Sylvia Plath's
within a range of high privilege
as a creature on the snow
here in Bennington, Vermont
out from her arranged limo
ringing in
at a morning's stationary time
for a leisurely diversion and chat
wanting to pet my cat Amos
scattering across
his own path of fame
and success at climbing
on a ski loft earlier with me
under the enlightened sun
who is a person to recognize
in her own right to matter
will not have left me nameless
in my diary of daily erasure
near this icy glacier lake
curling here all day
and caresses me to be filmed
awakening tonight, now famous.


You want to be a dreamer
here in Vermont
among the ice peaks
once wishing to learn
to country ski on these cliffs
yet knowing there is mystery
for everything is by faith
in my history
but here in the sun spots
has only one redeemer of nature
dazzled in first light
strands of thoughts
open as my jazz riffs
in my music offering
I'm wishing to understand
how so much of life strands us
to believe and peek
on these mountains
with insight here all week
whispering of a rainy spring
down by Maypole hours
by the wellspring fountains
in my walk down green hills
being taught on familiar grounds
by hearing the shrill of egrets
hawks, and other birds
after so many storms
and knowing my diary words
still recalls wintry snows
there will be flowers
on window sills
declaring laughter again
on whispering graffiti walls
in the warmth of shadows.


Ask yourself
as you take off
with my poems
off the shelf
in the open mirror
of our exposure
when life has spun
and my sax rips
in a corridor of verse
in enfolded parenthesis
of stored-up thought
in prayers of St. Francis
as witnesses to love souls
from the strife of a time
of lost-and-found prophecy
from Genesis Apocalypse
when war crimes were fought
for your promises of peace
to heal us in the breach
of never overwrought words
on the "Doubting Thomas"
a sailboat of my neighbor
living in a cape by the back
as waves sound
near my anchor
with a rope with knots
distraught of news
on my kayak
in reaching
our closure of loss
by the backs
of so many sailors
during the heavy storms
at sea
as Picasso's
mourning doves hop
from wintry white covers
on once-snowy birch branches
by raindrops
covering Evergreen trees
call to us over this Maypole day
as birds across the beach
will sing again on the Bay
to each soul who can hear
the showers of each spring's rain
from this hour's first daylight
are suddenly released
as my Vermont neighbor
Nicole, who speaks to me
in Montreal's
French-Acadian accent
invites me to a one-time
Canadian poetry slam
brings over
a croissant brunch
with homemade jam
and a bunch
of crocus flowers
over to my work board bench
wants me to play
a favorite riff
on my sax
for her son Clifford
who labors with an infirmity
of an impediment of speech
whispers to bz
that only my warm tone
of love will reach.


You left us a year ago
remembering your lectures
in the library hall
when I could not sleep
so amazed at your culture
that circled our minds
that I now recall
you connected to me
so deeply with a precise
understanding of poets
on a contrary generation's past
that in my adolescent sense
deposited your writ and wit
as you captured
my verse's pun
in the shade of my spirit
now you too in memory's glue
have been translated
to another heaven for the few
critics who directed us
in an understated task
we will not forget you,
good Christopher Middleton
if you would could ask
there are no secret regrets
from the land of the dead.

—Painting by Salvador Dali


You feel things
so deeply this spring
as a jazz pose with a sax
in a photo of Paris
by the Seine
with personal riffs
in a poet's parenthesis
waiting by a museum gate
on Saturday it starts to rain
where there is no access
in the moving eye space
you are demanding
to witness Dali's Narcissus
hanging from the light
of his Metamorphosis
by the Fine Arts window pane
you step into cold silence
by the drawings of Degas
as a child ballet star dances
it must be Mardi Gras
as you are called alone
to stand by Mathais Grünewald
on the stone altar
you are hushed in a whisper
thinking of life's original sin
as if you were crushed
under the stoning by the Cross
in a miracle where you begin
to leave the scene on the wall
and run into gorgeous tapestries
of Andy Warhol guiding me
across the first light
as your shadow will freeze
on this wondrous happening
over a building sign saying
"Do not touch or interfere"
near the 17th-century
Dutch painter Jan Vermeer
and by chance a shaping wish
of silence astonishes me
suddenly remembering
the honorable drawing of
Syndics of the Cloth
Merchants' Guild

enabled and granting me
to stand near the landscapes
of Rembrandt.

 Rembrandt's Syndics of the Cloth Merchants' Guild


You held out for life
when the Nazis brought
a passing dark cloud to Paris
when believers of all kind
were embarrassed by
their Vichy watered-down
shameful strife in capitulation
but I offer a pure song
of miracle for liberation
from your poetry's loving words
at a café bench
for a post-war rebirth
in your vocation
remembering your words
on the burning sand and sea
watching Zuydcoote's wings
of a thousand birds
once fallen from blue skies
as jet planes on the Atlantic
quickly set to fly
at the dawn or at twilight
to rescue partisans in the forest
like my cousin Mendes at Lyon
hiding on the overnight earth
the Allies call Dunkirk
hold up my one red rose
at first light's implication
by the woken-up riverbed
forever frozen in memory
in your name Desnos
to deliver your valediction
that God may deliver you
in English and French
wishing for saplings
near branches of gulls
over the million skulls
killed in animosity
by sheds of a spring garden
where you died at Terezin
to keep all poets, children
and the knowing citizenry free.

(In memory of Daniel Berrigan,
died May 2016)

Check it out
said the Beat
not on Wall Street
but in a shout-out
on nameless avenues
when you remember
the peace marches
by St. Francis’ Chapel
back on Boston Common
for us in enlisting Jesus
as a populist partisan
in honor of the God-man
of bonded resistance
during the war of Vietnam
remembering you this May
with a red Rose of Sharon
by the Fenway's riverbed
thinking also of Dorothy Day
with a delivering smile
as Fr. Berrigan has gone
to hear a heavenly song
in the Marian month of grace
we will remember
you every May third
for drinking from a cup
of pacifism and peace
when you told us
the good news word
that peace will be welcomed
some day soon
when even sectarian reviews
realized that war is wrong
thinking of our century
when proletarians
were in poverty
and the toll of life in fascism
from wars of strife increased
in these cash wars of words
when a revenue of liberty
and freedom is decreased
when Picasso's doves
are released
under the sun's bright rays
adding up
the posterity summary
of the titanic resource of love
waging inside
your wondrous spirit
and of Ted your brother-poet
we remember always
the cost of human life
in a wooden cross
no property has significance
as long as the eternal
poetry's song
of children lasts
which gives us miracles
at the lights of canticles
when candles do not go out
from your ashes’ remembrance
do not age like cash deposits
offering us on earth the will
no moneyed insurance policy
will bring us to heaven
we ask a seven-fold tolerance
for a legacy that will outlast
the King-Messiah's grace for us
a life not barren
but we are on course
in the prosperity of language
which we desire
will graciously live on.

 Peace Dove by Pablo Picasso

Today’s LittleNip:

Poetry is like a bird, it ignores all frontiers.

—Yevgeny Yevtushenko


—Medusa, with thanks to B.Z. Niditch for today’s fine poetry!

To hear Yo-Yo Ma play Saint-Saëns' “The Swan”, go to

To adopt a Leatherback Sea Turtle, go to

 Celebrate poetry tonight at 7pm at Time Tested Books 
in Sacramento to hear Nevada poet/translator/author 
Shaun Griffin read from his memoir, 
Anthem for a Burnished Land, 
then go on over to Luna’s at 8pm for a release party for 
Patricia Hickerson’s posthumous poetry collection, Outcry. 
Scroll down to the blue box (under the green box 
at the right) for details.

Photos in this column can be enlarged by clicking on them once,
then click on the X in the top right corner to come back
to Medusa.