AIE! There's the greenwood fern and the open woods and the smell of hay and the eye of a frog and a fern signature left in a coal and there is fern by analogy, a most ancient weed.
"IN THY SLEEP/LITTLE SORROWS SIT AND WEEP" In the night a little crow whose wing was broken lay on the ground and cried out. Strigidae the owl protector of grain heard and glided soundless nearby to a low branch. Straight ahead he looked like a man engraved as on an ancient measuring cup or seated at the knee of Michelangelo's Night waiting motionless erect. Not two weeks old the crow slept. An hour passed. A feather stirred. instantly the great head swivelled and the bird of prey leaped, spearing and carried off the body to a distant tree stump. Again he waited listening. The implacable beak then grasped it by the head and gulped it down. Three times he swallowed, spitting out the crow bones, fur and feathers. Then the great bird silent on Egyptian tombs blinked preened and hooted.
TIME TO KILL a man and his dog what fun chasing twigs into the water! Young girls bicycle by in pairs and plaid shorts a wind so soft one's whole back tingles with cilia a gentle lake the sun boils at the center, radiates the zone for man and lays a healing pad across his nape an airplane small and flat as a paper model roars behind the Virgilian scene an old man tips his straw hat down to shade his eyes, pulls up his fishline and moves on to a new spot the poor small wood louse crawls along the bark ridge for his life
JIG, YOU WINE BUMS bite the hard cool apple of the air! The season of muscatel has come when the squirrel runs up the tree fornicating and the deer bolts and man reaches for his calking gun and paint brush and the middle aged hiker throws his shoulders back. Look at him go! This is lavender and rose time in drawers when the sun is cooler but more blinding and the maple leaves distil its light into a cheerful red liqueur. Now, wine bums, the winter is long. Elixir falls from the air and even the misanthrope 's eye twinkles in the commonplace.
POEM The ants came to investigate the dead bull snake, nibbled at the viscera and hurried off with full mouths waving wfld antenae. Moths alighted, beetles swarmed, flies buzzed in the stomach. Three crows tugged and tore and flew off to their oak tree with the skin. In every house men, women and children were chewing beef Who was it said "The wonder of the world is its comprehensibility"?
YADDO From the hammer blow of the great pump I came to this lake, ripples running as a multitude at me transverse and small, and underneath, the gliding over moss. Sitting, over it, a boulder, knuckled bulk mottled and piled up, transfixed in space, a coma, sculpture its nymph, This I saw before I knew I was looking. Then a splash. is it possible a fish can leap clear out of water, flashing, mouth open, and stay in the air, then backflop and disappear softly with a dragonfly? Then two, three, further down. I stayed. The middle distance held me. There hygieia was, of perspective, and could not be without shade; and light weightless as the gentle powder before it has materialized, yet clear, the cutting edge of a diamond. But the little yellow-bellied birds were not here, chirring, They have their own mythos in the pine woods. Hush persisted, heavy as of a poem about to come into the imagination, but nothing came. "A pleasant stream irregular in shape with wooded banks," but why so pleasant? "Ité !" I heard. Or did I call? This is a small stream. it must be one of those minor deities or nymphs, one of many able to charm stones and wild beasts and to enter the red berries of the honysokle. Shapely she was, transcendent as the conception of her in the high intensity of that voice, the italics and the exclamation mark, and the listener shivered. "Ité !" a voice in him, from an older poet, forgotten........ origin forgotten. . . . . . . calling out into a myth to be with a nymph, just the two of them in that medium, both timeless, calling to her as if she were real and he had to call, by this time as in a poem a strain of myth himself. Dark woods. Deep inside. a clearing with light as in a bowl/ because of the darkness lovely. Further on a gorge and far down at the bottom a tiny stream/ grace issues from the eye. As if framed. Small boys fishing under a sign: NO ONE ALLOWED BEYOND THIS GATE. Eye me: wary. The first to get a nibble. Protected by a special providence or else the bass love them. Fish die. Without compunction. Strange! The soundless order. Not one of the noble biosphere, the bleeders. All skeletal. The eyes tell nothing. That must be it! no soul there. Enters humanity throug my eyes. Darkness on the water. Dense green moss below. Thick branches overhanging Whittier's bare foot boy. No, he's too healthy Behind me a hawthorn bush. Hawthorn! a cloying word even to Coleridge, but not to Middle English. No one here but my eyes. A long breath. Torpor. Liquifies. Limbs vibrate. tingle/ the true physical. Lakes being timeless, yet in time. I have lost my identity. The light makes me invent nymphs... and hang on exclamation marks... and call to them and they call back. Must be how myths arose, the distant luminous ones, motionless as in eternity.
ZZZZZ nasturtium petals alight: 20 watts of tangerine shaded by green leaf a meticulous parasol by Hokusai the orangy alpha and the green omega of the bee's world.
THE AVOCADO PIT a complete earth hard as stone the size of a plum Pompeian red, darkened and faded like an old Roman mural from the bath house of Menander, golden brown with delicate veins as if the earth had cracked with age or we were looking at the rivers from a satellite.
Copyright © 1986 by Callman Rawley. From The Collected Poems of Carl Rakosi, published by The National Poetry Foundation. Light and Dust Mobile Anthology of Poetry.