Drowning, Pond and Pool

25 December 2017

24

Down in the Drowning Pool

Draw down through a pair of hands, the Moon down through the pouring rain
that used to make us wait outside, but now it’s found its first-born’s brain,
and deep within it, one long nerve that’s used to its own way from where
it met its future and its fate and there—Your mirror paid your fare;

it found it in the beauty you had asked for and received all night.
Music used your face to make its magic serve the higher light,
but if it tried and failed to warn you—beauty is a hard soft road.
Never paved with gold, nor paved at all, yet it must bear a load

that ages everyone it touches, like fine grave-mould on a bloom
that has the will to open widely, yet will not; this too-dark room
cannot but help the shadows gather, mold climb up the damp dark walls,
and beauty understand the madness resting well within the calls

the hymns all bear within their secret heart of hearts. I hear them sigh:
Voices who would always follow, harmonies that moan and cry
but never once identify their sources or the selves they claim—
Deeply, badly known; frustrated; those who go without a name

because they bear so many not a soul alive could once make sense
of where they came from—We who love our ancestors shall recommence
the song from line one, syllable not sung yet, but about to be—
Eerie once occasioning a soul who’s flown from star to tree

to bring the message home on wings that shiver in the cold, but veer
toward the open window where the children gather every year—
the warmest, kindest pair of hands still waiting, as they always do—
the grey, grey angels waiting here at home to welcome loved ones, you,

and your imagination—child of heaven, light, and pain, and loss,
who’s swifting coming hard and sad of age, the hands held out will cross
with other strange yet softly shining roads that lead from flesh to soul
through endless crossing highways, as you hear the call that calls you whole.

You’ve been and gone and called out for another soul, a friend, to wait
beside you as the sky cries on—as overhead, each turn of fate
has stars to show—for us, below its shadow, and its influence—
It’s all our hands, all four of them, held out, and—How’s a soul make sense?

Down in the drowning pool, the bones all clatter as they reach the face
of sheer light on the blooming surface, clear spring water, Queen Anne’s lace,
and bitter roots, devotions, dried old medicines, and ponds in must—
Deeper down the final veins, the Ocean moves; love lives on trust.

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Evergreen

My Teacher

Her Church

Christmas Eve, This Year:

24 December 2017

23

How Green We Were and Are

How green the veins of your very own valley, the one running downhill, your arms at your sides.

Children bestride a dead horse, we were told; get you safe home to bed; say your prayers; no one rides

the nightmare on purpose. She’s always hated the children she’s borne under—some say, duress.

That’s a long garment with skirts that go flapping about and fair trip her so much, she says yes

to the dead man who waits at the end of the alley. He’s hers all along; she just tries to hold out

and not be so sad she can’t answer the shadow he’s casting across her known path. She’s about

to grow worried and start from a far distant quarter to where even ghosts dance with terrible nerves.

Give it an hour till the Moon rises higher, then listen again: Angel nobody serves,

She’s had a sure sign in the interval since she was told she had often been seen with the likes

of a ghost or an angel, conjoined hand in hand, as the ocean rolls over the land and the strikes

of the birds with their beaks on the glass as the cracks fly across from horizon to starline to—this

little room lined with little closed windows where nothing and no one should be unless untimely bliss

was their calling. It calls on and on. It calls always. It calls us Forever; it calls us its friends.

Angels as light as a feather come over our eyelids and sigh to us, all that love lends

the souls it loves best comes repeating like heartbeats—so listen or not, as you will; it lends you

the long cast of its eyes through the darkest of mirrors where deep intuition knows how to come true—

but when waking comes hard and the morning too early, I feel my arm flex, and the vein is so sore.

How green was my underhill maker of dreams as I sank down and down to where cataracts roar,

and the ocean as was has become a fine stream that is littered with silver and gold in the rock.

I’m walking out with my angel by night, and the friends of my childhood—Lord, no common stock—

where we’ll all be forgiven for waiting for changes to happen that open the real door where shine

the eyes and the great combined weight of the ancestors, knowing their hearts like an old, swollen vine

that bears through the seasons and centuries—even the turnings of pages from leaf-mould to leaves

that Forever will find itself happy to shine from, a written-down salve for the wound that bereaves—

The veins of love’s very own valley are fertile with color no unhappy heart could provide.

Blue-green as sleeping through long restless nightmares, yet happy as riding—our loves all should ride

through the hours after midnight, then wake with the dew as the Sun scarcely dares show its face above land—

That’s bound to grant us an hour just to lie soft abed, each a dead man as was, hand in hand.

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Separating Line

Watch this space.  And in the meantime, listen:

Separating Line

 

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It Will Not Let Me Rest

I won’t let it rest, either:

26 June 2017

34

Love Held Strong

I don’t know how to work a heart that pounds like hooves all night, all day,

and won’t lie down and let me go to sleep no matter how I pray.

I call the name that called me first, and still the race goes on and on.

I won’t lie quiet; that is not within my power. I’ll soon be gone

if this continues. Who are you to block my way? My throat, I mean—

I don’t know how to work with you. It seems to me you’re in between

self-sacrifice and under-handed curiosity. My friend

who waited by my side when I felt faint—who’s waiting now, the end

in sight—he knows the airy ways between the worlds grow warm with spring,

lean across the windowsill like spilling-over grace, then sing

the little humming lullabye that hid behind your sleeping mind

whenever it lay so awake, it took us for a ride—the kind

you never wanted, nor will ever welcome—but are you still here?

Listening, and giving voice to everything that calls through clear,

clear casts of mind, that wants to know you feel it as it rises, breath

a little bit mistaken for a choking sound that portends death

in other stories; not in ours; will you still lean across the sill,

tell the wandering ghost your tale, sing to it, and aye—fulfill

an ancient promise in the doing so, although you feared the next

admonishment lest it should follow—readings from an elder text—

and voiceless superstitions given language here in many ways?

Even if your only ghosts speak your home tongue, their hymns of praise

will come across as foreign sometimes. In the interval, if heart

must lie just pounding, thrashing, hurting so, so much, the morning art

the helpers who attend fierce souls between old worlds—they’ll find and share

our blent endeavors. Rhyme and dance, old words so strange and weird, their care

has fallen here to us, to me, to one who lives on Earth where sweet

green trees give way to blossom every spring—Rise to your singing feet,

dear poet child, and make your telling marks with either hand as draw

all over lovely living’s face with shining masks upon the raw,

hurt, lonely, very sinking place where smiles were made before death came—

That heart was made to push us through. For god’s sake, don’t lie down, no name;

This heart won’t burst for too much love; if it falls dead, it’s for sheer lack

of all the beauty you were sent to share with us, here, in this black,

black hallway in between bright shores. And there’s—the door; and here you—stand.

When the rope was weak and broke, you held out—and love took your hand.

 

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After the Bloody Assizes

More has been going on than I can capture in words, in prose. As always, song conveys so much more. This is what I presented the last time I read in public. I knew then, and stated, that it was the start of much, much more. I was not wrong. We’ll be getting more tonight. I’ll try to do a better job of keeping you informed!

Here’s a soundtrack, and a slideshow:

The Bloody Assizes

22 April 2017

36

I’ll Go Your Last Mile

The smaller rider needs a longer drop. You’ve kept me on a lead

so tight, if I fall over now, I’ll chafe and struggle, burn and bleed,

but I’ll not die for such long seconds, you’ll be dead of shame before

I draw a horrid, strangled breath, my last, and hit the cold, far floor.

You had the space and time to get it right, but you chose thick, slow rope.

Make it easy on yourself, my friend; I’ve made no peace with hope

in all my sleepless hours, so I’ll not hold out patience here for that.

Walk beside me if you will, and show me in your hand your hat.

Now you’re talking: When tomorrow comes, you’ll wake up, wroth and wet.

All night long my spirit rides the nightmare that will have you yet,

and nothing you can do will keep that vital essence from its course.

Aye, you used your station and your power—but I was born of horse,

and I have legs and lungs and heart you’ve never once imagined: I

have danced so long, I’m like a tree that sways beneath a stormy sky,

but fears no stroke, for lightning’s met my skin so many times, and sway

is what I’ve done, and storms have glanced right off, and I’m still here to stay.

But then—I’m not a tree; I’m like a shaft of light from off the Moon.

Searching at your window first, and then your mirror, late and soon,

then racing round and going almost mad, but there still not a trace

of what we meant to leave here when we woke you up to see our face,

the one we cast together like an inverse shadow through a glass.

When you walk outside and read through rain the name and dates the lass

you wonder through before you sleep—her name’s like yours, but long years gone—

Riders used to be much smaller. Look at this long laid-out lawn—

hundreds could have lain here end-to-end, but only dozens now.

Small she was, and frail. A long, long drop for her, who swore the vow

that led her to this resting-place—a mean old man cried, too much rope;

she’s not allowed to hang herself. My dream child, let us two elope;

there’s nothing here to hope for, as the world grows foul and small and far.

You have always been close by, a holding hand—a guiding star

before us both that leads us on when all else fails. The small, small drops—

but even through the torn and bleeding veil, here’s where false silence stops.

I’ll walk with you; I’ll walk your mile. I’ll wait with you as trees grow green,

lush canopies against the all-day Sun that burns the ghosts we’ve seen

ourselves turn into, as we gently lean toward the threshold-gait.

Far past there, I’m still with you; I’ll dance for you; I’ll bear your wait.

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Happy Hello

It’s been a while, but I’ve been working. Here is something I read at a local gathering a few days ago:

3 April 2017

3

Without the Lilies’ Leave

Without the lilies’ leave, I could not read these lines to you tonight.
I could not let you set them down in letters for all time; a blight
would have to fall upon your mind and senses, so you’d sleep and fail
to bring back half a syllable. We love you, stupid human male

though you might be, but we must bear our standards well in hand. Please take
up pen and ink, and yes, write down each word you hear, each wound you fake,
each time you interrupt your teacher—then go back, and cross it out.
You went out beyond the lilies’ leave with senses set to shout,

and that’s not proper understanding. Look above, and see the wings
of angels that look just like broad green magic on a stalk that brings
you closer to the very verge of heaven than you’ve ever been
alive before, and then—take notice once again: Your soul’s been seen

in this strange neighborhood before, and had it’s picture taken. Look:
I walked down to the corner store, and reached up and took down a book,
and there it was, the splendid image branded now within my mind.
All the streets I’ve walked and all the miles I’ve danced, and now I find

that I was dreaming all the while, or even rapt in nightmare’s toils.
Something in the place behind my eyes shone bright—a miner’s spoils,
if he could only reach that far behind the female face he dreamed—
but then he saw the deadness that had taken place behind the reamed

embarrassment of untold stories dreamt before he knew his own.
Child, she’ll hold your hand all night, but her vagina’s turned to stone,
the only trace of what she looked like trailing down these walls as light
from outside flickers over them like eyelids finding strange new sight

within your presence. Will you meet her, stand your ground, as it is hers?
When cold air from deep down under shakes your flame, your vision blurs,
and shivers run all through you like a dream recalled that brought real death.
Oh, a corpse can’t feed the lilies here, nor send a dying breath

where it will carry meaning, portent, fertilizer, dreams of smells
that catalyze a million hours of understanding deeper spells—
for underneath the woman’s breath who sang me first through song’s hard ways,
the stone was almost fluid, nigh elastic, light and soft, and praise

accumulates within its presence everywhere it meets our hands,
the human ones who write it down and note its patterns. Happy lands
where lilies rise and bloom in great wild rafts and have so much to say—
If you’re still here, and you’re still male—dear lilies swear—you’ll read our way.

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Fate’s In a Roil

I wrote a pretty good post for this piece, then lost it in trying to upload it.  Thank goodness I always compose real poems in Word and copy and paste my new lines here.

Just so you know, it was something about the mists of autumn, and the reminders of death, and the not really minding real death because time is not real, and we’ve been dead but we’ve not died.

21 September 2016

21

Fates in a Roil Dream Us One

I’ve trailed alongside all these frail woodland gardens, these places of weather no mortal can see

without giving way to an old, wordless longing that death should lie down here and now, beside me.

New weather surrounds us, with fine airs and graces that even the sweet faery angels would

strip from the skin of our hearing as false in its precious demeanor. Its corpse might be stood

by the head of our bed, with a pencil mark leaving a record—that this fearful creature stood three or four feet

from magic to endlessness, coughing a little, and sad, even crying. I heard its heart beat

out loud as it held itself up, wanting only to fall down and curl in a circle and weep

without any witness. It made me so happy to know I had seen this in clear early sleep,

had had several hours to compose my response, and then held out my hand, as he raised his wet face.

Even this very next night, we’ll be dancing together in Moonlit arboreal space,

as curtains of luscious green light wave all round us like flags from a ship carried here by pure force

of utterly unspoken love who has known its desire for the power this wild watercourse

has run on since last tidal, final disasters drove acres of land over oceans of cliffs.

I just trail alongside the loved one who’s vanished, who will once again, as we’re still hearing riffs

so mournful, so knowing, so rooted in being aware of the distance between there and here—

I’ll follow this trail a while longer; I’m not going home altogether till our one soul’s clear

in the mirror we hold to ourselves—and each other. I can scarce sleep for my hearing your cries.

New worlds are viewed in good focus, but that’s—never mind. Under underworld newfallen skies,

gardens of beautiful branches bent low to the source of the keening their bare children share—

gardens will green in the morning, and new leaves will reach out in fragrance, and blossoms will wear

the smile—the first, tenderest blossom—the cast of your sight as your turned to behold old light’s source.

Humanly beautiful woman, you cast your own shadow before that of love’s oldest horse,

the nightmare who taught you how long in the saddle you’d have to ride hard—then she left you alone

with the otherworld’s best, gladdest answer, the man who was ghost first, and then living musics’s lost moan

that no one will ever remember if you will not share out these weird, nightly cables and posts.

Under the lamplight that’s shaded by branches of evergreen forests that harbor our ghosts—

two little lovers who walk close beside one another scarce dare to join hands—but they should.

I had to die many times before I—knew the man I felt sent here to love—was no good—

unless he’d read back all the fluid transcriptions that made so much ink cost a sad girl new tears.

This subtle, gentle reminder of ghosts who have entered your dreams, and said Vacate! to fears—

Walk through the forests our friends have kept safe from the saw of the hater who counts—and loves none.

Nightmares await, but we’re sleepy, so sleepy; we’ll lie down where fates in a roil dream us one.

 

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