WHAT IS SO CHASTE
A gauntlet of rainy mornings
Like something was wrong
With the sky. Cities floated
By as if they had forgotten
The world. Important fires
In their pretty buildings,
Green and purple flames
Pretending to be shelters
For little flowers and thieves.
I was tired of looking at them.
They reminded me of poetry
Or of those tunes God whistled
When he went walking
With his lions across his lawns.
What had any of this to do
With the white arms of war?
The bridges of blood
That filled the newspapers
And the filthy spill of stained words
I saw around me every day.
What was supposed to be this beautiful?
Men and women? Children?
Water? Some clouds? A world?
What could I do
With such a splendid vista?
Go hunting, I suppose.
With the forest filled
With gibbets and pits
Full of monsters.
But, oh it was nevertheless beautiful
And oh, it was a glorious day
And oh, it was only ourselves
Being good to one another.
My arm across your body
As we lie abed.
Your beautiful breasts.
The smile on your sleeping face.
A coyote passing through my bloodstream
But I was blind to his silver grey being.
I noticed that he had placed the great
Hands of a clock on my back like wings
But I could not fly, nor could I die.
I was given angel names.
Was I given too much?
I am talking to myself at night.
Everything stripped of color.
When will I hear a real voice again?
I stumble over the broken glass of memory.
I struggle to recognize clouds, roses,
The patterns of waves upon the ocean.
The coyote tells me, “Bad meat, bad water,
Keep moving toward the mountain.
Dawn will remember many things for you.”
A SUMMER WALK
Summer says: “I cannot hold anything
Very long. I fill with vegetables and fruit
But they are but a moment in time.”
The road passing so quickly it seems
Not to move at all, then becomes a blur
Of children and lovely colors swirling.
It takes all of our lives to get here.
It fills with incredible power,
Whispers a few names and departs.
The day grows late. You ask if it
Is even real, or just an enjambment
The breath encounters because
We are holding hands and dress
In this Summer, thinking we are leaves.
A KIND OF SINGING
The light beginning to crackle and glow
Around the buildings on the horizon.
In traveling through this place
We have no idea why such a phenomena
Should occur. It’s rather like a
Small child being born and immediately
Becoming recognized as a great king.
What are the chances of such a thing?
The evening scoots down the low hills
As if it were another child, on a slide,
Being called to dinner just as he
Finally gains his spot at the top.
What to do? Come home now?
Sit down, press one’s legs into the
Sides of the slide and take as much
Time as possible to descend to the ground.
Everyone will understand somehow.
When we reach the bottom of the hill,
The entire landscape looks embossed;
A storybook cover one could run one’s
Hand over and still feel the real worth
The story has to hold. No one has
Visited this place below the hill
For so long, we have forgotten the songs
That used to be sung about it.
We believe we are making up a new song.
The pool became very frightened.
Something he could not see
Said, “Do not let anyone come here.”
“I shall pray to the sea,”
Proclaimed the pool.
“The moon can carry my voice.”
“The wind can dance for me.
I will touch it with my little waves.
Someone will understand.”
“It might be a dream
Or the press of a season.
Listen to our doings,” said
His frogs. “We have songs.
Do not fear, dear pool.”
They leaned toward the sunset.
The kindness of night birds
Held them until they could sleep.
THE POETRY OF THINGS
They have found out who we are.
Mountains remember us.
They know our names.
I reached behind a shrubbery
To touch its back, hard with little
Fur patches. It bristled when touched.
Things are not supposed to have
Personalities. They only want
Us gone, so they can continue
To be things.
Be careful where you walk.
Many things have memory.
They seldom forget a kindness.
THE YELLOW PLUM
The yellow plum tree
So sure of itself.
It pops tiny, one-bite
Fruits among its leaves.
On tiptoes, in early Summer
I reach into its dark green,
Pulling golden fruit to myself.
I imagine I see your face
In the deep green shadows
But, truly, my eyes are old.
Even my memories are
Seen from a distance.
Our thanks to D.R. Wagner for this fine Saturday brunch of poems and pix, celebrating mid-summer and its bounty!
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