Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Torn Corner of the Morning

Elves of the Hills
—Poems by D.R. Wagner, Locke, CA
(—Artwork Provided by D.R. Wagner)


It was a deep and thick-browed sleep
That came upon me, full of halls and doorways,
Some of flame and some of stone and some
From which the scent of heaven wafted
Upon no breeze at all but a pregnant stillness
In that air found alone in dreaming and carved
In certain chambers of the heart.  The lonesome speech
Known to fall from the mouth of ancient bells,
Tripping one and keeping one from finding
Any way back from the soft and guarded arms
Sleep surrounds us with, it boards its indeterminable
Train and makes for mountains darker still than midnight.

Here is the dwelling place of spirits long forgotten
On this earth.  Spirits whose speech is of a tongue
No longer heard upon our world and scarcely remembered
In any land.  It is hinted with a cadence known to fairy,
Heard when troops of them dwelt up an airy mountain,
Down a rushing glen.  It was a voice of wings that carried
The blue away from the sky and pushed the sun to clouds
That it might hang its lyric on the walls of our souls,
Admonishing us to be still and await a kind of rapture
One might hear only in the presence of mystery.

I have walked there and will walk there again
For I have deep business with the shades and fleeting
Beings that dwell there.  I am come to them to find
Those words which are seldom heard in any poetry
Or song, in any prayer or any curse that might
Be given to those who read these words or speak
To one another of the wonders of the dreamlife.

I learn within those rooms and behind those silent
Doorways of the many rooms and enchantments
That live beneath closed eyes and breathe that other
Breath that rushes from our lungs when we are
No longer present in this old and fitful world.
I would carry this to you that we may share it
As a feast so seldom given to each other
That one might call it madness or others
Call it truth.

 A Lantern Symphony


I have fragments, seeds as it were,
That are intimate, in my blood stream.
They call in song and pace to my heart
Beat, begging for some greater melody.

Over the Hills and Far Away
—Illustration by Margaret Tarrant, 1950


A star stumbling
Behind a cloud.
I see it correct
Itself.  It asks me not
To try to explain why
This happened.

 Catch a Moon Fish


I have managed
To make myself very small.
I can fit within these words.
My voice sounds much like your own.

 Corner of My Living Room


We heated nine pins
In a pan of milk
Until it began to boil
And it stopped the witch
That stole our milk.
She sucked it from our cows.

It poked nine holes into her heart
And the witch no longer was.



They tore off a little piece of the morning.
It was the part where the mouth was located.
Not all of it went missing, just enough to allow
Some of the light to slip out the back and follow
Night to his house of shadows.

We were able to see him reach for and hold
The hand of sorrow as if he were trying to staunch
Blood pouring from a wound.  Even the blood
Looked dark.  We could hear it splashing
On the floor.  You said it was the sea.
I had my eye on the sky so wasn’t sure.

I bent down and picked up a small part
Of light that had fallen from the edge of a wall
That morning, was touching it as a lover might
Touch the most intimate parts of a mirror.

I reached for your hand but it was the same
As that of sorrow, and my belief that this was more
Than a mass of sand that could go no farther
Stopped me dead in my shoes.  I looked past
Where the corner had gone missing.
No one would notice it.  It would become
A distance, a whispered voice, the broken
Part of moonlight caught in an unforgiving
Carnival.  No matter how many of us might
Gather, we would remain forever alone.

A couple of clouds that had nothing much to do
Found their way to the torn corner of the morning.
They managed to fill it with birds and small animals
Running across the lawns looking for food.

Waterfall on the Yellow River, China


Spun out into the evening, rain doing most
Of the talking, I try to tell myself I’m only along
For the ride.  The wind holds a fine mist between
Showers and I’m covered in moisture before
I even get to the car.  I pretend that it is a message
Somehow lost in the night that I have walked into
By mistake.  My specialty is wandering far away
From the body and finding its forms in a kind of sleeping
That makes the moon sing, unlocks desires that come
Of pressing my forehead to that moon, taking the skin
Off of stars to show what they are really about.

I’ve seen the hearts of these stars, felt their flesh
As a child feels its mother’s flesh against its mouth.
Here I am free to speak to you, illimitable in my
Understanding but not graced with a language
Stable enough to touch with my hands.  I must
Hold you close to my body, feel your breath
Upon this same evening, trace my fingers
Across your breasts, up your thighs, touch
Your lips and still I will find myself lost in ink.

I will cry and I will laugh and I shall steer
My fragile boat into the unkindest reef
Only that you may spare me this moment
Where we might stand together watching
The whirling of the universe, going to where
No bird can sing, where you can breathe for me.

 Choir of Angels


Today’s LittleNip:

—D.R. Wagner

An owl lives just outside
My window.  I saw it tonight
As it folded its wings and waited.
Otherwise, there was no sign
It ever knew I was there.


—Medusa, with thanks to D.R. Wagner for today’s poems and for providing today’s artwork. “Cutting the Chord”, “Sorrow Just Beyond the Morning”, “Witch”, and “The Deep Gifting” were posted on Medusa’s Kitchen in 2014.

Jerry Brown with Sutter in days gone by
(California mourns the passing of its First Dog, Sutter.) 
For more about the life and times of Sutter, go to

Photos in this column can be enlarged by clicking on them once,
then click on the X in the top right corner to come back
to Medusa.