I am beyond the base camp this evening. I have traveled alone to be here and yet I choose to write about this to be with others. Only then will I be able to give purchase to these dulcet, idle days on the cusp of Summer.
Extraordinary clouds constantly reinventing themselves, the true writing of water we can barely read in our torpor bred of ego. “Excuse me, can you speak wind? Can anyone here speak wind?” I suppose this is a lot like all that stuff you’ve read about the moon, how it goes away and then comes back looking different every night? How it goes away for a few days, comes back and is a new moon? Well it’s not. I was just out walking in that pale light and it was totally different but essentially the same. It took thousands and thousands, maybe millions of years to make that moon.
Oh I placed my hands on your body, the moon was there, a wreath of petals awaking for the silk mist of our breathing. See how it is not new? I’ll waken you as soon as I am able. It has been a long time not to be noticed. Oh cover of the night, the hand of darkness that passes out of me, to where do we go, where do we crawl after this kind of beauty?
Yes, it has a look about it. Yes, it is very much of the heart. This is why it has been penetrated time and time again. It is impossible to stay there. We speak of our love for one another. A golden music comes from our bodies, so vast, being on these seas all night. Ah the moon, the moon.
Here is the kingdom. Godspeed should we ever be delayed.
WAKING BEFORE DAWN ON A TRAIN
This morning I awoke before my dream
Was able to quit.
I removed its fingers from
My mouth, slid into the passageway,
Went searching for a cup of coffee.
Somewhere in the flashing dark
The whistle from the engine
Screaming for the coming dawn.
It could have been the procession
Of twinkling lights from the villages
Flying past the windows and my mind
Walking a couple of steps ahead of me
That brought the time to a swamp of swords.
I removed the “S” and once again discovered
Words caught in my mouth, left by concentric
Dreams reminding me that I was back here,
On this same earth once again, still not understanding
What this blessed destiny of living in poetry was about.
There is a keening
On the wind, a kind of clear
Blue wanting that knows how
To use a can opener on the
Air, so that it can tear silver
Lines into the heart. Oh, there
Will be no blood, for blood is
A veil and time, a great bird
High over the roofs of this town.
We thread our way past the crowds
To discover a land drenched with moon,
Its collection of owls silently winging
Out, over the edge of the lake. There
Is an idiot’s song, a lament caught
On the floor of the night. How big
It all seems, the words, the voices
From the sink of the city. It is
As if we were not to find a way
Here, as if God himself were out
For the day, inventing Christmas
All over again, so that it might have
A different sound, perhaps that of many
Children, rather than the small golden
Voice two thousand years old.
When we arrive home, well
Fed and slightly tired, the block
Is strung with colored lights and
Singing can be heard from windows,
Laughter and a crisp of first frost
In the air. It must have been
Like this over and over again,
So far we have come knowing such
Things, so far we have left them behind.
WINTER IN THE SACRAMENTO VALLEY
for Joyce Odam
The winters here are mostly damp.
The days are grey. They form a camp.
A great and endless fog commands,
All thick and dense, a gauzy stamp.
This weather makes its own demands.
The days are ghosts with oak tree hands.
The morning and the evening change
Without a sound, their cold, white plans.
There is no landscape. All is strange,
Fog cattle grazing shadow range.
There is little here of any sun
To make a mark or rearrange.
A cloistered time. Each day a nun.
A silent time. A seamless one.
We speak another language; one
That quiets time, as days pass, stunned.
There were birds here.
One can see where certain
Kinds of grasses have been bent
Down to form places for their
Courting. There are hollows too
Lined with feathers and nests
Made of twigs and string, of floss,
Bright bits and scraps of paper,
Forgotten by all else but them.
Here too are tracks upon the ground.
Here, a book of soothing gathered
From their shapes and movements
In the sky or by the nature of their calls.
Yet, when we come here now,
There are no birds at all. Only
Signs of them remain. We must
Learn a kind of quiet, a special
Patience too and remain long
Enough for us to see them
With our own eyes, hear their songs.
They are like our own dear souls
In that souls must be regarded
In like kind to reveal and be
Revealed before us, full of colors, voices
Moving through the air, among the trees,
The shrubs, upon the waters too. Looking
Deep into the heart, toward dreams, toward
What is every morning of every blessed
Day that we may find birds there,
And know them, that may be quite enough.
This time he tried his best not to think of anything in particular. With is eyes closed and his mind a blank, he focused solely on the music.
Finally, as if lured in by the melody, images floated behind his eyelids, one after the next, appearing, then disappearing. A series of images without concrete form or meaning, rising up from the dark margins of consciousness, soundlessly crossing into the visible realm, only to be sucked back into the margins on the other side and vanish once again. Like the mysterious outline of microorganisms swimming across the circular field of vision of a microscope.
(from Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage)
Many thanks to D.R. Wagner for providing today’s poems and visuals and LittleNip. About his work, D.R. writes: "This week I have a poem called WAKING BEFORE DAWN ON A TRAIN where I take the last two verses of a poem I recently published with you, called CONDUCTOR, and remade the poem with two additional verses about remembering how to make a poem." Trying new ways of working—always an inspiration, yes?
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