Here in the dusk, by a slow, bright stream,
the unmindful child—
ever at the brink of curiosity,
with childlike faith and followings—
comes to sit on the bank and listen to
the moving water shimmer past.
And the bushes sigh with disturbance,
and the dark trees whisper.
And the musing child—in the dusk—
in the rippling moonlight—
sits stroking the make-believe rabbit
the child would love to keep and love.
And high in the trees now, in the dark,
the Cheshire cat sits purring.
(prev. pub. in Medusa’s Kitchen, 8/7/2018)
she lives tightly
like shoulders of fear
like hunched intentions
replaced by procrastinations
her seasons lag
like her work
like her dreams
her eyesight is failing
her energies lie to her
she closes the spaces
with tiny perfections
then admires them
till they disappear
You thought the stars would move her,
the sentiment of roses,
the well-rehearsed looks
from your adoring eyes—
even long walks by the summer ocean or
braving some tawdry neighborhood with all its
danger : the following shadows : the undertones
of warning : your bravado : her challenge to you,
and you obliged—her own star in the heavens,
endless roses, suffering looks
from your adoring eyes—the way
you never understood her.
He follows the formula.
The smug smile of control
in charge of the humor here,
on stage with himself,
the bright boy from so long ago,
still good with a dig or a quip.
Most of us still smile at him
with tired indulgence.
THE NARROWING POINT
This long path between trees, their shadows
crisscrossing in the last of the sunlight—
this long perspective into evening, this soft
intensity of light—how soon the darkness
will know itself and obliterate
the narrowing point the eye is fixed upon.
NAMING THE DARKNESS
After “Stanbury Moor” (Photograph by Fay Godwin) from Remains of Elmet (Poems by Ted Hughes)
What shall I name this darkness with its torn black sky,
its shadows that sweep the distances.
I know this night is strange but it has brought me here
to mourn, so I mourn. I fasten to the horizon
with bleak unwilling eyes—it is too far.
I am where I am, at another beginning, no strength
and no provisions. One silver path cuts through
the land, one curve of hill outlining land from sky.
A last thin rim of light hangs low enough to sharpen—
I’ll aim to that—still bright enough to beckon.
THE MOONS OF HEAVEN
The moons of heaven
pluralize and drift—
how much time they take
is a moot concept;
they change and travel—
the trapped sky—
trapped by the moons.
We try to imagine
why the moons
come and go,
across the sky’s
until we know.
the envious mind
but a focus of image,
through which all our
truth and doubt seek transfer.
THE TIMELESS SUMMER
As the red crest rises, I live on beyond it: my
other life—the one not taken by the red dream
—or any other death, avoided.
(That my cry of warning went unheeded in the
dream is a small detail, wondered about . . . )
As the red crest rises, I wait in the interminable,
slow-motioned wait a dream takes to realize it
is a dream and I needn’t fear it.
(That I went strangely terrified toward the town
with its unheeding people is still a guilt of fail-
ure; they looked at me as if I was only dream-
ing . . . )
As the red crest rises, it becomes a red cowl—
unbreaking, but curving ever higher—over the
shore-front shops and narrow boardwalks and
the indifferent people.
(That I still bear the weight of that terror is
part of the old distance—the sea was Kelly-Red
—rendered into a permanent dream that I once
dreamed and still can feel : the ultimate crash
ing and my urge of warning . . . )
I want to be one
with this loneliness—
here in this center which can go
each way—here where all things coexist,
the light flaring down and the darkness filling.
I want to be the light as it disperses,
and to be the shadow that is touched
by the dispersing light; I want to
be the stillness that watches this;
I want to be the motion that results.
Oh, here is a sleeping bird with a silver wing
and a wing of dark. I want to fall asleep
in its eye and be where it is—
alive and alone in this
I want to be no threat and have no foe.
I want to take in a long, deep breath
and let out a quiet sigh—the
way I do when I turn from
din to quiet music.
THE HERB OF GRACE
There is a little rue to feel—
there is a little view
that falters as you see it.
There is a little trick to know—
but nothing that will free it.
Joyce Odam (with help from daughter Robin Gale Odam), has sent us poems and artwork about our Seed of the Week, Narrow Escapes (starting with Alice) on this last day of May, and we thank them for that. Our new Seed of the Week is “Too Close to the Sun”. Send your poems, photos & 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. And see every Form Fiddlers’ Friday for poetry form challenges, including those of the Ekphrastic type.
If you happen to be re-visiting yesterday’s post, the one with the staircases, don’t be bumfuzzled by the second photo of same—I accidentally posted the same photo twice. Stairwell 1 and Stairwell 2 became two copies of Stairwell 1. (Sorry to Nolcha Fox, who sent these two public domain photos to go with her poems.)
—Public Domain Photo
For upcoming poetry events in
Northern California and otherwheres,
UPCOMING NORCAL EVENTS
in the links at the top of this page.
Photos in this column can be enlarged by
clicking on them once, then clicking on the x
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