Saturday, December 19, 2015

Enchanted by Mirrors

—Poems and Photos by D.R. Wagner, Locke, CA


I was waiting at the top of the ladder.

How about yellow moths?

My brother called up to me,

Really big yellow moths?

No, I said.  I’ll wait.

There is a family of four people
Floating over the basin.

Should I see if the wind

Is blowing them this way?

No, I said.  I’ll wait.

This place is going to go up

In flames soon.  There’s a war

Going on, you know.

No, I said.  I’ll wait.

I sifted through the ashes

With a long stick from

The top of the ladder.


Starting somewhere near the beginning

I am able to hear the clank of armor

Rattling up.  The ancient armies coming

Through time with a “What just happened?”

Caught on their heads and across their feet.

The light of the fires from burning cities

Shows the entire trail complete with rivers

Filled with blood right up to mushroom-shaped

Clouds fighting for space just outside our windows.

We are still here.  We move without judgement,

A profound ignorance.  We know we are made 

From the same dust as the entire universe.

It is quite a realization but not one that need

Cause us to constantly kill one another over

And over again.  The eyes have it.  Music has it.

It is possible to dance, to make memorable objects

That are not based on that clank of armor.

Let us go outside at this beautiful golden moment 

Right at the very end of Autumn, just before the sun

Quits.  An announcement of gold across the gardens,

Into the oaks that surround the sloughs.  All golden

For maybe fifteen minutes.  A handful of breaths.


The dreams have bones.

They have towers.

They require us to be among them.

They will take our cloaks.

We will not know how to return.

Wolves who walk upon two legs

Will smell our blood.

Fish will entertain us.

We will be enchanted by mirrors.

Whatever shall we believe?

We are trees, at best.

The trees tell us we can never escape.

Still, I remember that I am the forest.

The sun works a terrible magic.

It is a pure magic.

No fire can touch us.

In the North the crows 

Eat our very bones.

Even the ice opens for us.

Everyone is a traitor to magic.

And still they fall.

No one has dominion.



The dark story

Broken only by the noises

With which the crows carry on 

As they perch in oak tops.

In five days the Winter

Itself comes traipsing 

Up from the sloughs

Dragging itself across

The allotments of the garden.

Shadows are everywhere.

Were there a market, prices

Would be low for morning,

Evening and even noon.

They have issues with the sun.

They attach themselves

To the feet of everyone in town,

Shrinking their steps

For most of the day.

The mourning doves at noon.

Five pairs of them

So smokey gray, on the 

Power lines just above

The garden gate.

We shall have rain someone

Has said, but the horizon

Was purple with angry reds

In the last of the clouds.

At the top of Vespers

And just before Compline

A ruddy dark moves across

The river, over the levees.

Yes, you shall have rain

Says the moon, waxing late

Climbing the trees.

“Yes, you shall have rain

And before Christmas

If your bones have any

Sense left in them,”

The day says, ending itself

In the smallest of voices.


A trance of buildings 

Suckled in stone, made mostly

In fog and the detritus of yet another

Year spread across this field of mud.

Then pulled toward the end of the year,

Sometimes nearly blind, sometimes

So full of the smallest of details.

One could be left on the edge of a small

Village, standing just inside an open door

Looking out at the rain, believing it is the self.

For a moment, we own the shadows,

A pine tree’s across hard granite, a leaf

Shadow reflected upon a puddle of bright 

Water.  A lightning flash in a momentary

Quiet.  A crow sitting on a fence post

Surrounded by the last of the morning glories.

The year begs to come to a close.  

Its trees are leafless.  I can hear a breathing

Beneath this November moon, such a cold

Sphere, it could be perfect beauty.

I realize it is my own breath.

And who’s world is this, friend?
We have been here before?

Long, long ago?


                   ...a vision

Say this then, that I have known

You better than waves know the shingle

On the shore of the sea that speaks to

It, at telling of its presence, its golden

Robes, shadows deeper than the memory

China dresses up and presents as a tiger.

Crossing the sky without a name,

Claiming that it is beautiful, while a bird,

A most beautiful bird, a white one

With the head of a wolf, pounces

Upon us full of those damned flowers

That keep us all from committing suicide

In the light of such a setting sun

Too incredible to be believed.

Pleasure in a warm young bird.

The sky drifting high above us,

Feeling this on our skin like leaves

That fall on our graves with every hour we linger,

With every star we dare to name.


There is barely enough room

For the moon to hold the dreamers

But the moon does its job well.

It hangs a few stars across all space,

Sits at the corner of my bedroom window,

Has just the correct amount of syllables

To know the click of my boots against stone,

The tiny cloud of breath suddenly exhaled

Into the night air, the touch of my hand

Against the glass, all separating and still

One thing in the curiousness of time.



One night my mother

Captured the full moon

And put it in the sugar bowl.

The covered one with 

The silhouettes of the two

Men with long pipes

Talking to one another.

The one with the platinum

Decoration that never tarnishes.

Why did you do this, Mother?

I thought it looked 

So well in a proper bowl.

But now the creamer

Will have no friend.

Oh, she said,

Opening the cupboard

And grabbing the creamer.

Look, she said,

The sun.


An old rowboat lies

Just below the water

Of the slough; a gray

Shadow beneath a tear

Of Autumn light across

The surface of the place.

This trail leads directly

To the edge of this water.

For a moment I know and then

I don’t know what I am.

Part of the season,

Wanting to show the Buddha

Just how perfect all of this is.



There’s a poem

Smack in the middle

Of this one

Just sitting there
Looking back at us.


A poem.

It doesn’t want 

To talk for some

Reason and I’m

Not going to bust 

Its serenity.

It could be
The Buddha.


                               —Peter Wild

We are not abandoned.

There are waterfalls between the planets.

I invoke them as my dwelling place.

Realizing that we stand at the entrance.

Luminescence lives within us like

Cello music.  It makes grace of my bones.

I am the river in the moment, the seclusion
Of the beyond.  All that remains,

May it always be light without abandonment.


Today’s LittleNip:


From here you can 


At how the poem

Is ending.


In all the holiday brouhaha, Medusa missed noting the Sac. Voices reading that will take place this afternoon, 4:30pm, featuring Marie Reynolds and Linda Collins and hosted by Phillip Larrea. That’s 25th & R Sts., Sac. Be there!


     Richard Hansen's Poems-for-All Series has published
The Small Book by Annalesa Wagner, written when she was 8.
(D.R.'s daughter)