Now in the bluish air,
the lonely birds
and darkened windows
where the sorrows stare,
and all the trees
are stricken against the wall,
and here is where
the crystal moment
thaws, and what looks in,
is simply there.
Here I live in this old ugly room behind
this noncommittal door that locks and
this stingy window that opens to
the flat near wall, where I look out
to see the shadows pass.
If this is metaphor, and I am room, then
let me tell you more . . .
I am the hallway and the stairs that I
trust myself to climb. I am the mirror
and the wall, the ceiling light and bed.
I am the sleep, I am the hour after hour,
and the rent I pay.
If you are curious, and I have need to
analyze . . .
then I collect old curiosities and more;
I gather evidence of theft, the souvenirs
of crime and fear, all compromise and
promise, all surrender that gives in.
If you are horrified, or do not care . . .
I have no news for you. I am this cold
and ugly room, this noncommittal door
that locks and this mean window opened
to the flat near wall where I look out and
see the shadows pass.
In gray, surrealistic air—in coexistence with us—the old,
dark forces stare and mock. We can feel them everywhere.
They follow like our shadows. They breathe upon our faces
and wait for us to speak. They flit and disappear. They sus-
pend and float—and we can feel them—sense their presences
around us, but never see them except in peripheral glimpses
and flashes when they are not quite quick enough, or when
they mean to trick us, or pretend that they are riddles. And
will they harm us?—do they wait to harm us?—when we
finally admit to conjuring them out of tree limbs and passing
Each night she hangs him in the air and lets him turn—
a mobile—his body helpless as she smoothes the hours
till they flatten into sleep. He thinks life is his dream that
she does not remember. When morning pulls its threads
again, a ravel at a time into a shrinking calendar, another
day is earned, and he is just as heavy as the broken night
(first pub. in Parting Gifts)
you are too slow,
you are too high
in the shining air,
like a timeless photograph,
on your face a triumphant laugh,
and in your outstretched hands,
the graspable light . . .
the other dancers
away . . .
you own the moment . . .
let it go . . .
I fold my life in half until it fits. I tell my arrow not to
warp. I drift upon all ebbs-and-flows and do not drown.
I dare thin atmospheres of effort and thrill at my accom-
plishment. I cross the cold blue deserts of night until I
find the warm heart of some safe creature to lie beside.
I explore thick forests of nightmare and learn to waken.
I dream the dream is real. I re-enter days of endlessness
that fill and fill with more of themselves. I get through,
moment by moment. I ask the arms of heaviness not to
drop me—to be patient with my frailty. I fold my life in
half again—my Self to keep.
(after “Matrix” by Frank Howell)
It is from
the old sensation
flows and becomes sound—
a hum in the mind.
You almost remember
a word that began you;
you almost wear the identity of
made of love.
You weep to be so offered;
now you must find the beginning,
get through . . . get through . . .
wear the wings of falling,
the new memory trying to elude you.
(MATRIX: Environment in which one comes to be)
A MONARCH BUTTERFLY FLUTTERING DOWN
THE LOW AFTERNOON
A Monarch Butterfly—fluttering down
the low afternoon
in a startle of orange confusion.
do not touch that soft and tremulous life
at the edge of your reach—
It goes from here to everywhere it has left.
It goes in a
fragile flight from here to extinction.
Touch the air where it was, feel how soft and empty—how it makes
your eyes wonder what is gone
that was a
Did it delight you?
Did it touch your life
With its own . . . Brief . . .Bright?
MUSICS OVER TIME
and the air holds them
and carries them in its currents,
blending them with echoes
and dark planes of silences—
that come again into memories
that feel the recognition—
musics and the voices
with all the cursings and cryings
and even the brooding thoughts
that join the vast releasings
that are borne into each other
that change the air
that we breathe
and the trees that filter and absorb.
THE GOLD AIR
Now she will get up from her chair and dance;
it is a myth that she is this heavy and this old.
Sunshine has lowered to the window, and the
bells of evening fill her with surprise.
Her door will open and a gold air will pull her
from her dark room and her awful chair.
The gold air will pull her into the sunlight
that is low enough to touch.
She will go into its energy with all her light
and be new again, as once she was.
I weave rags for the air. Great hands come
wiping, fill them with soil for my washing.
I am their weaver.
Without me, they would have no purpose—
without them, I would have no art.
Thanks to Joyce Odam for her fine poetic thoughts and artwork about our Seed of the Week,“the air we breathe”, and the birds who share it with us. Our new Seed of the Week is “Those Fragile Young”, which are very much on my mind as I see the emerging baby wildlife around my home (including five new baby black swans!)—so tiny, so fragile, yet so resilient, too. It's not just living creatures that are fragile when they're young, though—think ideas, systems, projects, careers, poems... Anyway, send your poems, photos and artwork about this (or any other) subject to firstname.lastname@example.org. No deadline on SOWs, though, and for a peek at our past ones, click on “Calliope’s Closet”, the link at the top of this column, for plenty of others to choose from.
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