Category: Poetry

A plain of silver grass

A plain of silver grass and one black horse,
one horse that ran beneath the lime-green sun.
And out of his mouth, a dove;
and out of his head, a rainbow;
and the great red heart sang, sang.
And a white mare stamped the Earth,
dreaming of silver plains.

Only the shadow of a shadow

Only the shadow of a shadow
marked where the white bird fell.
Only the echo of an echo
sounded the unicorn step.
When Dark had stifled the affairs of man,
the mythical beast arose.
Of Shadow born, to Echo wed,
the breeding darkness woke to find itself
and built the Earth out of its loneliness.
And, lest it be too generous to mankind,
invented Memory.

We bury the dead in convenient haste

We bury the dead in convenient haste,
my family.
A legacy perhaps.
We were pioneers
and those who struggle have little time for Death.
The act is stark, a black-and-white thing to do.
The Puritan knife that was our Will
carved a narrow way of life,
for all that life’s variety.
By a dying fire, good hunters, cleaning our weapons,
we turn, curious, in our hands
bits of lives that met our blade
but did not turn it:
a summer bluejay;
a favorite mare;
the odd young Englishman to cut the hay one year;
the son who drowned – was it accidental? –
big snows,
short summers
and a full table.
was a held        breath.

No need to scorn us, friend

…”We move this way to keep from going blind”Weldon Kees

No need to scorn us, friend,
you proud.
We move this way to keep from going blind.
All that we know of mind:
a cloud.
We move this way to keep from going blind.
It ends as all things for us end:
with tears.
No need to scorn us, friend.
You proud,
a cloud with tears.
No need to scorn us, friend.
We move this way to keep from going blind.

Weep only that it must have happened

…”A false world ends in real debris”Elder Olsen

Weep only that it must have happened,
not that it burned the day.
Sooner or later, best perhaps at first,
as all your close-held anger
singed that heart too often
and love went up in flames,
leaving the best we could gather;
ashes of a beauty that was.
There are two kinds of tears
and both have blessed this night
and seeded the honest day.

The Trial

Not insane, your honor, by reason of guilt.
(The jury is the future, witnesses are Them. The trial
an unwise laughter. Only the sentence
is real.)
There are no walls anywhere. I hammer
toward your voice, against my slylence.
That frantic fool was one of us
and not quite you, I think.
Nor me, though you may not
believe it nevertheless
(ALWAYS the less!)
it is true at least.
Your honor, I call for my first witless…
The adjournment is postponed til yesterday.
The judge is dry as wit.
A gust of wind….the powder-dry face is blown away
and the leering vacuum appears again.
You knew it would, but you are surprised just the same;
you are just the same.
Any last words?
In the beginning….
But you know there was no beginning.
Can you face there was no beginning? Liar!
If you could, you wouldn’t be here. Not Guilty!
My client pleads the mercy of the court.
The court has no mercy.
My client pleads his mother.
Off with her head!
My client pleads.
What use? You know that he was long condemned. He knows!
He knows. For my last meal: Bagels and locks.
We have no locks. Will keys do?
Doors! Give me doors for my keys! Oak doors, iron doors,
screen doors, scream doors, any doors for my keys!
The victim is too keyed-up, and the judge chuckled at his
weticism, cracking his porcelain beard.
To the scaffold! On with his head!
There is no help.

Even this shall pass

Even this shall pass
away, for it is in
Always in time for the first battle
bullrun bottle battle butt.
But if
tomorrow isn’t
how today?
Notice we ask naught
Why, it is easy if you know how.
How! Paleface speak
with forked tongue
forked flocked fucked folked
tongue the larder of bees
and the sons of bees.
Go, delicately seize the seas
without touching the see-weed.
Part the salt from the water
and take your choice
your choice your choicest
morsels feed the dogs
dogging our footsteps
We go our separate ways.
I bid you grace and beauty.
You must pay
your own