Assembling the Earth

 [Poetry], Assembling the Earth  Comments Off on Assembling the Earth
Aug 312011
Look with me at what we call,
Substantial or ephemeral,
All of Earth, where we must end,
And all of sky's over-awning All:
Sense the sub-stratum and the theme
Dawning out of sincerer dream.
Note how dark must always end,
How Earth's quickened sharps of light
Coalesce by pixels until we see
Lightly lightninged twig-ends,
Dew-draped, shiver and invite
Greater light, or light's dark reverse
The odor of more crowded trees
Blends with the musk of night.
I sort my knowledge into verbs:
I did, I can, I do, I can't.
And other more what-ifs I list:
I shall, I wish, I shan't, I want.
And a thousand thousand others 
Unvoiced, unheard.

All that puts a soul at ease
Enough to stammer and confess
The inconvenient, the gulped absurd,
Or to think a something mystic
Rather too simplistic,
Brings the daunting Earth to words,
And helps to carry, as you guess,
Our everything to is.

I kept a million themes beside my bed
In a rosewood box with a turtle,
With one working tin hinge beside
The turtle decaled spread-eagled;
I left the springed hinge untried,
And added blanks to the map
On the warm rosewood back 
Of the rose-boned wooden turtle.
It was better, or so I deemed,
To live unknowing and to dream
Than know every meaning's means.
I kept the box beside me a thousand days,
An indian symbol of the Earth,
Unopened save as a question may
Discover unbidden worth,
The way a kiss becomes a question,
A new-burned feeling without borders,
A meeting, this meeting, --here,--
Solemnly together without a seam
In loving and in waking dream

A part or portion 
Of the natural order,
Opening and answerless,
In a realness of air.

To a Summer Hailstorm

 [Poetry], Assembling the Earth  Comments Off on To a Summer Hailstorm
Aug 282011
I have been in existential hail
Since Noah first began to bail;
Hailstorm, shake me till my sadness goes;
Strike me till new blood flows.
Ravish mind with unfettered ice;
Let cold be all of your advice.
Thunder down and dent the car.
Remind us of winter with a faithful scar.
Strip skin to tatters with your kisses,
Only, hailstorm, do not miss us.
Tear the mailbox from off its stick;
Freeze the healthy and the sick;
Fill the chimney with cotton balls;
Catch the walker in a squall.
Rattle buckshot with heaven's force--
I am the target, you the source.
Disappear and vanish in a drought
To all but me, who keeps you caught
Closer than my second thought.
Magnificent blank in skies above me,
Stoop to whisper that you love me;
Like a naked cinder for your use
Seize me, hailstorm and muse.

Ordinary Things

 [Poetry], Assembling the Earth, Sonnets  Comments Off on Ordinary Things
Aug 282011
There's a dark deep down in ordinary things
Resists our bringing them into view,
Or else in bringing them what light we bring,
As if to ask the question 'Who are you?'

I do not know what answer I would make
Being myself, and, so, invisible--
Although I know when I give or when I take,
Outfitting my days as I best am able.

There's a dark deep down in ordinary things
Resists us, the way a mirror pushes
Until we're left again with things as things,
Alone among our daylit doubts and guesses.

I am one keeps to himself, and although
I do, I do not keep the dark alone.

Wintering by the Atlantic [sonnet version]

 [Poetry], Assembling the Earth, Sonnets  Comments Off on Wintering by the Atlantic [sonnet version]
Aug 282011
As snow and snow will in snowing meet,
What slid down danced into a wild sleet
And randomly clung, each to each, 
Resisting ocean's disassembling touch           
That undoes the individual who falls
And in that fall returns to ocean's all.
There was nothing there in what was of sky,
No help of light to help say why,
Only usurpation's snow-deadened hiss
That ended each self-formed singleness
Distilled from upper vagueness and the cold.
They did not fall because they had been told.
They fell because there was nothing else to do
But fall, and this the ocean knew.

In a Manger

 [Poetry], Assembling the Earth, Sonnets  Comments Off on In a Manger
Aug 282011
It lay self-entangled, curled as ramshorns,
--And pushed the belly into being mother--
Who, to be herself, had first to the Other,--
Which looked as if it didn't want being born.

Its sideways was more, and worse, than backwards.
It had to be sawn out to be itself a lamb,
Startle the clover and bleat "I am."
The bowie knife came handy without a word.

A tense scarlet torn sort of giving-in,
A clattering shape cauled on scattered straw,
Ungainly upright legs besides the ewe's,
Shook me wet and bellowed out of pain.

What had come too soon would need a mother's milk.
I pulled all night through wetness with raw silk.

The Paper Mill

 [Poetry], Assembling the Earth, Sonnets  Comments Off on The Paper Mill
Aug 282011
I look into the portions of my thought, cold and dull.
Wheel in wheel unsettles the quiet mill asleep
And puts an uneasy harness on all I feel.
The river like a clock runs fast and deep.

Soon there will be paper, deep and white.
Wet slush from the chute, heaps of pulp and dust,
Driven by the living water to be a blank in sight.
A haaing gear gives my cheek a buss.

I pole a belt to the drive shaft, and all begins--
Horses in wheels turn, turn in their dreams;
Floorboards shake with purpose, dark and dim.
The razor nibs of the saw-wheel start a seam.

I weep, weep for sleep and do as I must.
I look into the cold dull portions of my thought.

A Blue Perhaps

 [Poetry], Assembling the Earth, Sonnets  Comments Off on A Blue Perhaps
Aug 282011
The provident power of hurt and harm
The provenance of an eye ingathers,
(Its certain witness of a moment's charm
That lightly changes a life forever),
Bluely demonstrates in this morning glory
That measures us, our smallness and our fear,
With too blue an eye to ever bear
Until a touch of night shuts its story.
Then we dream, with a certain sort of blue rue,
And wonder in sleep's deep wanderment
If the sun will show us what to do
Or if dreaming can tell us what we meant.
An eye perhaps has followed us all day through,
But we do not know the eye's intent.


 [Poetry], Assembling the Earth, Sonnets  Comments Off on Water-Break
Aug 282011
Having grown long words in fieldgrass daylong,
I stepped into a wooded brook to dip
Ink-worded hands into the snickering quips    
Offered up by the silverquick stream;
I wondered just what the water had meant to mean,
Whose loose stones insist the water into song.

Many times I had lost what footing I had felt,
Suddenly cried out, or laughed in despair,
By hard wet things beneath thrown over,
Raw agony raised to the eloquence of a welt;

And, with water in my mouth, I'd often remarked
The sincerer operations of the lark,
Spilling a slippery noise above taciturn rocks 
That break bones and never forget.

Rooted Things

 [Poetry], Assembling the Earth, Sonnets  Comments Off on Rooted Things
Aug 282011
Three dark junipers shadow where time stood,
Representative of my brothers and
Myself, from earth and water grown to good
Plain wood on the township's public land.

Huddled under them by the neighboring pond
Fireworks cracked to color July the Fourth;
We then, as I now, beside the dawn-like mud
Stood every year we'd been on earth,

Three stranger brothers our divided folks
Reaped as seedlings from the brick adoption house
Into a home too shy and shamed for such a name.

Now torn away ourselves to spouses
And lives, from rooted things by time unyolked,
I stand between the trees without a name.