These autumn gardens, russet, gray and brown,
The sward with shrivelled foliage strown,
The shrubs and trees
By weary wings of sunshine overflown
And timid silences,—
Since first you, darling, called my spirit yours,
Seem happy, and the gladness pours
From day to day,
And yester-year across this year endures
Unto next year away.
Now in these places where I used to rove
And give the dropping leaves my love
And weep to them,
They seem to fall divinely from above,
Like to a diadem
Closing in one with the disheartened flowers.
High up the migrant birds in showers
Shine in the sky,
And all the movement of the natural hours
Turns into melody.
despite books kindled in electronic flames.
The locket of bookish love
still opens and shuts.
But its words have migrated
to a luminous elsewhere.
Neither completely oral nor written —
a somewhere in between.
Then will oak, willow,
birch, and olive poets return
to their digital tribes —
trees wander back to the forest?
We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.
We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love’s light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.
The blue-black mountains are etched
with ice. I drive south in fading light.
The lights of my car set out before
me, and disappear before my very eyes.
And as I approach thirty, the distances
are shorter than I guess? The mind
travels at the speed of light. But for
how many people are the passions
ironwood, ironwood that hardens and hardens?
Take the ex-musician, insurance salesman,
who sells himself a policy on his own life;
or the magician who has himself locked
in a chest and thrown into the sea,
only to discover he is caught in his own chains.
I want a passion that grows and grows.
To feel, think, act, and be defined
by your actions, thoughts, feelings.
As in the bones of a hand in an X-ray,
I want the clear white light to work
against the fuzzy blurred edges of the darkness:
even if the darkness precedes and follows
us, we have a chance, briefly, to shine.
Above the east horizon,
The great red flower of the dawn
Opens slowly, petal by petal;
The trees emerge from darkness
With ghostly silver leaves,
Now consciousness emerges
Reluctantly out of tides of sleep;
Finding with cold surprise
No strange new thing to match its dreams,
But merely the familiar shapes
Of bedpost, window-pane, and wall.
Within the city,
The streets which were the last to fall to sleep,
Hold yet stale fragments of the night.
Sleep oozes out of stagnant ash-barrels,
Sleep drowses over litter in the streets.
Sleep nods upon the milkcans by back doors.
And, in shut rooms,
Behind the lowered window-blinds,
Drawn white faces unwittingly flout the day.
But, at the edges of the city,
Sleep is already washed away;
Light filters through the moist green leaves,
It runs into the cups of flowers,
It leaps in sparks through drops of dew,
It whirls against the window-panes
With waking birds;
Blinds are rolled up and chimneys smoke,
Feet clatter past in silent paths,
And down white vanishing ways of steel,
A dozen railway trains converge
Upon night’s stronghold.
If music plays with film
then film is an illustration
of music’s movement.
Snap, blast, sever, sever, stop.
Even the dog twitching his ears.
If islands nestle in the ocean,
and a statue rises above the pilgrim,
then we are standing on a cliff
and the pilgrim has reached her goal.
The light is as pale as the back of her hand.
If the dancers twitch arrythmically
their dance is only partly kept.
At twenty-four frames per second,
film makes a lonely memory.
They sway staccato, staggered, stretched.
If drums repeat the pace
of film’s slip through the gate,
then the song’s refrain
retells film’s fades and cutaways.
Even its night-quiet darks.
If horns evoke an antique joy,
lens flares and close-ups send
their renderings into red relief.
How has mankind managed grief?
Light, noise, movement, breath.
If blood is to the body
as film is to the camera,
if film is a flat and lucid eye,
if light is a perishable gift,
then the night is the gate of the dark.
If light falls away with always
then film is a parcel of rest.
Panoramas, linked and strung
as castle-steps, lawns, the fine
iron bars of the castle gate.
If drums pace the beat of blood
and film is the speed of the rattle
of breath, then the dancers have
truly escaped us. We slow
as they quicken. We go and go.
Like a rain I feel but cannot see,
the names of the dead, falling.
Silences I hear between
first names, middle, last
are slivers of empty air between
lines of rain. I want
to be in these tiny silences
that cannot hold their deaths
but join them to all silence –
rests in a piece of music,
the quiet beneath a rock,
the feather on a crow,
beak closed, wings