Poetry - September, 2004

Poetry

The oceans feel the pulling of the moon

The oceans feel the pulling of the moon.
The whole earth feels it. Why then cannot I?
I am too fragile, small to face that doom.
The oceans live millennia; I die.
The oceans churn me under in their power.
Their force is mighty, and their mass is more.
The moon climbs high and falls, led by the hour.
If time is known, location then is sure.
But what predicts where we may be and when,
When even we don’t know? Command the sky
To turn, but what’s the will that orders men?
The heavens say it’s either God or “I.”
At waning gibbous, just a bit past full,
I see the moon, but cannot feel its pull.
Poetry

Green anole at Middleton Place

As I stood, rooted, winter-locked, my hand
outstretched in southern sun, the lizard leapt
to the branch of my arm as if there was nothing
at all to fear. As if I was the tree he sought,
he rested, weightless, green as grass, pink
throat-fan ballooning with each small breath,
and I felt something ease inside, a sweetness
rising, as he ran, quick as raindrops, up my trunk,
toe pads tickling as he touched, oh so lightly, neck,
cheek, hair, like a blessing, or a prayer.
Poetry

Even now I wing

It stands in the water stilted
head cocked like a hammer; faster
than the eye it hooks a flash of gray and then
a glimpse of silver quickly swallowed.
I wish the canoe to silence,
hold breath with the day a ruffle
of air and feathers an explosion
into grace and it’s gone a hundred
yards away. I begin the painstaking
task of easing oar and self across
the surface towards this totem an avatar
granting pure life, motion, a reason
to be. It wings forth again in perfect
silence and falls perched on the stillness
that stretches its hand out over
the water down deep into the mud the fish
that are blind to the roots into me where
even now I am winging

with the blue heron.

Poetry

Washed

     For Carl Trovall

His fingers kiss the crown of my distress,
my tresses gently lingering in his hold
while frankincense makes dizzy unto death.
Newly blanched, the black ewe joins the fold

and what is sin of me is gone, released.
Oh wetly, I am held to this. Delight,
shines the cruciform pose of the priest.
There’s Jesus in his hands. The water’s white.



Poetry

The sailing

My mother lifts her blue-veined
   hand, “I’m ready to go.”
       She stares into the white wall,

which billows into a sail.
   Little boat of bones.
       In dream she is carried

by a swift river, wearing
   a red dress. Clear water,
       and I on the bank.

But she doesn’t see me.
   She has become one with motion.
       Even in water she is fire.





Poetry

A man in his life

A man doesn’t have time in his life
to have time for everything.
He doesn’t have seasons enough to have
a season for every purpose. Ecclesiastes
was wrong about that.

A man needs to love and to hate at the same moment,
to laugh and cry with the same eyes,
with the same hands to throw stones and to gather them,
to make love in war and war in love.

And to hate and forgive and remember and forget,
to arrange and confuse, to eat and to digest
what history
takes years and years to do.

A man doesn’t have time.
When he loses he seeks, when he finds
he forgets, when he forgets he loves, when he loves
he begins to forget.

And his soul is seasoned, his soul
is very professional.
Only his body remains forever
an amateur. It tries and it misses,
gets muddled, doesn't learn a thing,
drunk and blind in its pleasures
and in its pains.

He will die as figs die in autumn,
shriveled and full of himself and sweet,
the leaves growing dry on the ground,
the bare branches already pointing to the place
where there’s time for everything.