The sheeted calm of evening now descends;
tip toe and mile high cool, and centred
on my once high heart with aching chill.
Sky washed with twittering the city world
now blank and round the hill
falls silent to receive the mind
and souls of once blind poets and the
thinning rill of words which might have been,
now lost; with word bound dreams of harpers,
bards, and troubadours, press on my inner mind
these words and images, and unspelled thoughts,
that I taste still.
Hear, where a car surges, throbbing through the
mindless dusk, how quiet folds behind it
following. A boy, face downward on his bed
a million miles away from chemistry, stabbed
through the heart with musing, where the shattered
stalactite of blocked mismusic stakes his heart.
Pumped poetry of hate's despair distant,
into the inner, reading mind impales him while
I hear alone, the liquid, resonating air:
short click of heels, a lass so purposeful
struts homeward on the evening run.
She leaves her meeting bus though I see not
for here leaves stir, a single leaf
shines with a tremble in sunleaving dusk,
the point of balance by a single uninspired
breathing falls to dust, and words unspoken
drop dark wings across the pointed towers
of city's crust.
Across the road
news flickers, mimed and miniature and
very bright; mouths stretched through
curtains in cathedral colours etched
upon this glowing dust.
Word of the poet's gathering, still forward
thrusts my mind; the ivory towers, mist-clad,
chance cloud, and need to thwart.
The street lamp flickers first, and stands;
this sentinel of watch and walking,
pale in dusk, lights only path
prefabricate; the AB journey
of an outer map where route is certain
and the fantasy is lost. False fairies
flickered once, enticed a lord,
into the marsh's dreaming, sucking,
shifting lust: but here we see the road
once, know it will not change
or idle with a kingdom's treasure lode;
nor does mud play and push, or roll a coronet,
or jaw bone, where lost battles flowed
upon this shrinking, shuddering earth
nor tracks a willow wisp.
Here, prodigal with penny vision,
lies an ancient Everyman beside a fern,
weed dying and unwanted there, dream soul'd.
This city gathers chill about her like a cloak,
her thinning blanket glamouring a deep crone's throat
beside a heatless, boneless flame; Mocks Morrigan,
ensourcells scavenging by nurture of her unfed need
with thought of pain, and victory, and bruising -
fitful fantasies of violence and of greed;
and endless unearned wealth, Strauss-waltzing
through the street.
Who would here
birth a poem? Should I turn
aside, mouthing some
muffled stillborn stifled line
of wanton loveliness?
Summon a flute to sing a grail?
Dispatch the ode, before the first line's read?
I might as well!
if my dream should thin itself,
thread into the world
some longing for the beauty to be truth?
if dream wraps deep arms of strength,
of royal victory -
asserts rich life within your own -
in the ancient Chinese courtyard,
and the single
line of poetry to mark
some shiftless passing transient
light in dark
and people visionless may perish unremarked
now poetry is given away and dead:
nor old gods visit
with claw feathered dread,
to daub the wattle hut with wonder now that
visioning is given away
rumble stamp and mocking laughter.
in the dust another daughter
watch the singer stamp and shout
watch him. Follow after,
as he mouths
the microphone, hip sliding
sneer surrounding, shiva-bouncing
blind bleak head
and viciousness the look;
the swank of nastiness, for power
and manliness mistook,
is burying his death and all unknowing,
sobbing, rips away
Let their dream stand.
I think they cannot hear, and my voice
fumbles at the blare, is over wrought
by chattering diners as the silver
flicks uncaught; and Chretien de Troyes
while singing, falters, ceased
upon the sweet line's call, and silent
bears away his tales of Arthur for dark
Mordred's hall because his French king's
mad, and quarrelsome, and cannot heed
his dream: because a drooling queen
mouths at her dish, luscious in obscenity
of bliss, as if the banquet were
sweet Joan hears voices, takes
her therapy and leads a normal life instead:
leaves in the forest do not fall, no soft
loam furbishes and all the Odyssey unstarted,
lingers in blind Homer's head
some brutish lord was bullying
the fear bewildered
lad who slavered him,
and Milton's blindness, rode
and raddled by the commonwealth
of custom's busy deafness was enraged,
and saw no angel slant down to the earth
nor wanderer across the iron grey sea
sang for his slain lord hurt threnody
because some bitterness
then boasted in the meadhall, drank
with lesser things than loyalty
and Blake's Satanic mills in meekness
now obedient to the common will do lie,
the redbreast in his singing cage
is found already dead. The punchline tagged
a million netted eyes have skipped and read.
I saw the best minds of your generation
were destroyed by madness,
because the best minds out of mine were silent
ravishing lost dreams they shackled to the lonely
semblance of a bed: wordless, and desperate and mute
and struggling - and all the while I see
aching and unwanted, and bemused-
deep breasted Gaia stands astride
for the sons of lost Thermopylae.
(C) Copyright 1999
All Rights Reserved
The Nexus Collection
Queen of the May
Lullaby for the Dead
POEMS FOR FORT WORTH
Soughing Song: Fort Worth
two in one