Sunday 5 November 2006
Something springs and spills. The leaf litter along Aurora turns to scum. Another layer falls. More is promised. Just look above.
My meadow is changing. Now that I am looking, this is always true. Yellows and browns lace the green glade. Through green days. In a tri-color of tatters. The tweeding of matters.
This brown is every brown. The brown of over-ripe pears, of half-burnt books, the almost black of wetted walnut shells.
My tulips are off to bed. 200 leaves still cling to their twisted gray limbs, leather scrap, skins, all crisped and blown. My 3rd tulip, a roadside tree, stands tall and yellow. Thinner than summer.
Here in the meadow, where grows my desk, was planted a totem. By whom? The wind? A golden sprig pushed in the ground. Will it sprout or yellow? This larch totem is the most human of changes.
from The Song of Hiawatha
Great men die and are forgotten,
Wise men speak; their words of wisdom
Perish in the ears that hear them,
Do not reach the generations
That, as yet unborn, are waiting
In the great, mysterious darkness
Of the speechless days that shall be!
--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1854)
THE MORNING IS A MOTOR
Not cold, but cool. Water wells about the trees. The air is dry and brisk. The sky, gray, translucent. No music, no bells. The morning is a motor. Cars groan and growl into sight and whisper away. Airplanes howl their heaviness to the heavens. The tulips not so much shake as wriggle, frozen, brown, withering, wriggling in the hurried wind.
11:14am. Bells. Trinkets. Something enduring. Something begins.
Outside of the evergreens, everything is golding, golding. The willows, the firs, the birch leaves, thrushes. The runners. Their faces, skins.
This week, this phase, phrase, is the lighting of strings, the stringing together of voices, the pulling of history out of place. This phase, phrase, is the poetry of things. One pulls on another. One seeks meaning. Another attention.
Where we are is where we are. What is sanct about this place? How shall we homage it? How call such a place?
When the question is put, and it will be put, you will need to answer it. You will need to summon a poet. There is time now. To teach her. Learn her. Crawl in her skin. Into her rhythm and voice. Follow her trail to the summit. Learn her. Go and greet her.
It is raining. The persistence of water defines my space. I cannot hear my landscape, meadow or the forest. The trail and lake are silent to the umbrella's applause.
The bitter cold of last week has mellowed. The world is lush and warm again. A gray day with a mild wind. For hours and hours I am alone, so wonderfully alone in the world. Walking backwards through my meadow. Turning circles. Deliberate steps, measured. See I walk, see? I've taken a step. And another. Feel my humanity upon this carpet. Heel-toe. My knees crane. Heel-toe. My knees. Off to the middle of my meadow, their eyes are upon me. Those tiny birds with their blunt white beaks, like thorns on their faces. Darting, flinching, rummaging through the forest. Weightless bellies rearranging the needles on the forest floor. A double dozen black-hooded bushtits.
9 visitors today. My lowest volume yet. It rained all day. To be standing in a rain-washed meadow for 10 minutes is no problem. To be walking in the rain is not a terrible chore. To stand for 8 hours, though, is saturating. Flooding and aggravating, to body and spirit. The rain over a brown-green meadow.
"Rain is rain unless you attend to it" [Floyd Skloot, In the Shadow of Memory, p 66]. After an hour or two I begin to attend to it. And walk my deliberate walk, into the meadow's heart.
from In a Dark Time
In a dark time, the eye begins to see
I meet my shadow in the deepening shade;
I hear my echo in the echoing wood –
A human mind is small when thinking
of small things.
It is large when embracing the maker
of walking, thinking and flying.
Dan and Sue listened as if they were completely unaware of anything remotely poetic having ever existed. And then began to release their poetry onto me. Just back from The Isle of Wight, having walked the Tennyson Walk to a bluff, to a memorial, Sue described the gate around the monument with the poems pinned onto it. Poems written by locals, adults and children. She recited one or two from memory. Sue and Dan, the fine and traveled parents of an artist named Mimi, who welds gates and fences in the Northwest.
from Inviting a Friend To Go Out for an Excursion
I want so much to go out beyond the West Gate and see the lovely hills.
--Gao Qi/Kao Ch'i (1336-1374)
I read Glyn Maxwell's "Stargazing" to my visitors. "After the wave of pain, you will turn to her/and, in an instant, change the universe/to a sky you were glad you came outside to see."
You will change the universe.
After a wave of poetry. A wave of wine. A wave of blue. A most intense yearning. Silence. Bliss. Or dejection. Turn. And in an instant, which might seem 3000 feet, or 10 hours. Which might seem a snake bite or a looped dream. Might seem a melted chip or a spear of ice. The sky you were glad of. The sky of you.
"This is the act of all the descended gods/of every age and creed: to weary of all/that never ends, to take a human hand,/and go back into the house." Recycle yourself. Recognize the gods about you.
Phyllis and Diane came for a poem. They requested my verse. I read from Crab Creek Review. Two short poems. I explained the word fiu in "apostrophe to the eternal." "I am fiu" is heard in French Polynesia. It expresses a feeling of being tired or fed up. "It is a feeling of becoming totally remote from everything and everybody" [Tahiti Guide].
Phyllis and Diane are slowly recharging. Regenerating. They are self-proclaimed fiu-busters, charging forth.
But what of "the poetics of boredom?" What of the light and water?
&water &light &love