Elf-Shot Arrow

The bells of the local Catholic church just rang out noon as I finished today’s work, only a minute or two ago. It hasn’t been that long since I always worked in the evening because the world outside was quieter. That was important to my concentration. Now, I am trying to trust that I will hear what I need to hear even if there is a bit of interference.

Some of the verses I have posted lately might have a familiar sound to them. They are still in my favored amphibrachs, but the lines have been cut in half–four beats each, rather than eight. The long lines are important because they can convey more substance than small swift verse lines, but the smaller lines must be tighter. They have to seem like fragile little wisps of air and yet have load-bearing strength because only ‘time’ will tell how much heaviness they carry at heart.

The piece below did not come as swiftly as yesterday. First I saw a large, tightly-folded pink rosebud, which was shot and transfixed by an arrow before it could open. Then that dissolved, and I saw an orchard that was either in bloom or snow. There was concern over human activity, which has always tended to prove destructive. Can the orchard protect itself? Should it? The cousins were close long ago, but they seem to be on either side of a perceptual divide now. One fey, one human? It seems the answer can never be fully yes or no. Then this:

21 February 2021


As They Imagine Us

Our cousins first met when these mountains were wrinkles

in Earth’s distant future, its face was so young.

Down in the valley the trees were all singing,

their branches with faery snow heavily hung.

When in the autumn the orchard turns gloomy,

the trees in their numbers and staggering rows

stand sadly surrounded–a wind bearing human

malevolence steadily, steadily blows,

and they know where it comes from–another world’s weather.

Before, long ago, the same wind came by day,

and everything caught in its outbreath lay dead in

a heartbeat–a breath that taught cursewords to pray.

These trees are close listeners. Ghosts sing out secrets.

They might need a while yet to foster the blaze,

but ours lit a marvel of flame at the peak of

the mountain to come where the cousins part ways

between then and this most human-tainted of moments,

ancestors silent as incense’s song.

Everything leans to the lore of the slow-growing

wind of a dead future–grown overstrong–

till a sighing ghost-breath comes to play at the edges

of all the green orchard–and every young face

that peers from amidst the embrace of fresh petals.

What faeries imagine will likely take place;

when we look ahead, there’s an orchard turned gloomy

with winter approaching us–death-weather grim–

but petals like mountains of snow. In their future,

we’re cursewords turned music–less human than hymn.


About J

formal verse poetry and commentary at rainharp.com
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