JUST AS THE COPPER SUN
Just as the copper sun, round and perfect, went
down, and the last lit hour flared, and the sky
was the last sky of the day and nothing moved—
for a moment everything was held in a formal
stillness—still I rose from what I was doing to
marvel—the only movement in the world, to
stare at the sun as if to hold it there on the swift
horizon, and I could not hold it—and still all the
soft red air surrounded me and I was tainted the
same red, and a cold blue was spreading—another
movement to match my own. Everything else was
caught : the brief bird in the air could not move,
the leaf falling from the limb in front of me was
arrested in air, and then the frozen moment let go
and the sun was the only movement, and I was
locked in a stillness, my hand in its gesture, my
mouth forming its “Oh” for my eyes which, I am
sure, held two red suns that went down at the same
moment as the one on the horizon.
(first pub. in Parting Gifts, 1998-99)
THE DOORWAY INTO LIGHT
After Loving Perspective, 1935, by René Magritte
What burns in the air is light; it shapes itself to dark and
hovers there and cuts the day away to verify the perspectives
of Magritte. A tree of symbolism magnifies
until it is as simple as a child’s belief in art : one leaf be-
comes the whole tree and a building shrinks beside it, white
sky and white dimension glare and make
comparison to show the doorway into madness is not far.
Light burns with promise and the door repeats the shape of
leaf to shape perspective—out of
the mind’s possessing—out of the changing inner room—
out of the scale of space and time—out of the constrictive
mind, according to Magritte.
(first pub. in Tiger’s Eye, 2003)
Soon autumn will find us trembling with joy—
its cool relief—its heady promise,
and thus, believed.
Time is not wasting away—
it is only lingering the longer
for the sweet nostalgia of every autumn—
all the leaves are hurrying
and the sky retracing old patterns—
oh the softly urgent winds . . .
oh the sunsets . . .
taking the leaves
letting them go
a stone wall with
|bones of light|
and waiting as
for music to un-
-furl from a tree
in the trans-forma-
tion dance her shadow
FRAGMENTS OF DESIGN.
Outside the lines, little escapings:
Cracks in the idea.
Intentions moving in other directions.
Fuzziness and clarity.
Exactness does not matter.
Continue or stop.
You’ll know when.
the drone of sound,
its soft monotony,
the sound that links
that hum beyond
the folding din and
what it becomes
that almost sensory under-
tone that holds the balance
against the sway
the orange sound in the
working of the butterfly’s
the sound made when
a brown leaf falls
on a brown day
Too much music for the mood—
sonorous, as though through rain.
And why connect music to rain?
And why storm for emphasis?
There is no sense of premonition.
What mood controls this?
You are trembling like a leaf in
rain-light—too beautiful to watch
from melancholy—that cold window.
Underneath the din I find it—
you stretched out by a quiet pool,
looking in—watching your reflection,
and mine as I bend over you.
You smile at me in the water
and point to a school of small blue fish
dozing in the shadows by the bank,
and the perfect leaf that floats above them,
the sheer white butterfly
flexing its undecided wings,
and we watch the leaf drift away
upon the faintest ripple that
breathes out from the shore.
And I lie down beside you,
my face next to yours
in the sky-deep water—
and the only sound is that of the grass,
brushing against itself in the soft green breezes.
On the bench,
this speckled yellow leaf
another leaf for my camera.
Many thanks to Joyce Odam for so skillfully poeming (and drawing) our Seed of the Week, Autumn Leaves! Our new Seed of the Week is the companion to it: Autumn Sounds. Send your poems, photos and artwork about this (or any other) subject to email@example.com. 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. And for two hours of autumn rain sounds to inspire you, go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=sARlCTIx3TU/.
Then head up to El Dorado Hills tonight, 5-7pm, for the Poetry Off-the-Shelves poetry read-around at the El Dorado Hills Library. Scroll down to the blue column (under the green column at the right) for info about this and other upcoming poetry events in our area—and note that more may be added at the last minute.