Janet Rodney - from "Crystals"

from Crystals
by Janet Rodney


The time
of which I write

is a memory

of getting back
to Mother Earth, mouth
pressed to hers, desire's

curl of lips
when love
for Father Water
is strongest

I look for his eye and hear
a hellish laughter
as from outside

up from the ocean.


Long after all horizons
have proved themselves mortal

I see my rider shadow
galloping along the beach,

it is August, lead-bellied
gulls rise toward the Rock

where Atlantic currents
and Mediterranean mix

wild roses
corrupting on its face,

you are right,
at this time the mind

is a mirror to the sun
the heart a coal
bright in, the wind,

is mine
but the ride

before the sequence
vanishes like lead

drawn down
thru deep water.

The Androgynous Principle (A)

In a small dream
in a small room
in a small town in New Jersey

I am on the make,
a huntress stepping out
of fathomless woods

her small breasts
are smooth
as riverstones
her own phallus, a knife
hung around her neck
of delight.

The prey this evening
is elusive:
she would like to be

worthy of her victim
who doesn't appear
to cruise these parts
this hour

would like to give her body
to the victim of her choice
precisely when he, the hunted,
steps out of her

moves in, penetrating, manly,
fucking in blindness
bringing them news
of light.

The Androgynous Principle (B)

Each day the sun 
rises inside her eye

for new fields,
at night drops
like a coin into water, she

is blown back by
darkness, her coat of shells
catching a light

from below
where he is hidden,
shining in water he waits

while she
dangles her clothes on a tree,
descends to the edge,
water rising slowly up

her body
between her thighs
he drinks her.


Here we are 
and all we see
is more

than ourselves,
the failing leaves
and flowerheads
float on the canal
like scales of carp

here we are and more,
wind driving thru
the cracks of our windows
bringing on the cold
we know

from our skin
(and over hard ground walk
the circuit of each other)

that winter
has made it
our way again

The Female Principle (A).

That door I see
half opening

to disclose a room where
a city perpetually

women involved
in panic, the bloodlust
upon them
and buoyancy of breasts

in the confusion
one stands

where the river's nerve
betrays anchor
and coils around

until her hair
charges down her shoulders
the old maple
strong beside the house
clasping within its shade
the garden

and the silence of landscape
sinking in the windows
I stand behind

the old fire coming near again,
just in case I might have,
in case.

The Female Principle (B).

She can have
many husbands
she can
truck on,
eat meat totally
watch tv or merely

darken the doorway
where she stands, and
within that timeframe

as if nothing
had ever been there
assume that the mind

stamps upon her field
of vision its own
shapes, yes

she can let this happen
and more, make
the food increase
let him

rub down with oil
any one of her forms

let his
fingers penetrate
wherever they will,
give him herself
by pushing away
so he'll delight in
her innocence
enjoy real feelings

from the source
of all order, way out
beyond their smells

her teeth snapping
at the dawn

to remind that if
this is nothing
the rest
is silence.


What we feel we know
of the way things hang together

to see a rainbow in the night
or to hang weights on the wings of the winde
seems far more intelligible

to a thinking substance
on the move
with its tenement of clay.

The Consolation of Philosophy (A).


Her clothes are of
the finest thread, she
is old
with a young body

her smile
is full of light
she beams into
the eyes of men

and rides the sky's curve,
breasts flattened
against a moving window.

   * * *

We find her on the track
that feeds us
to a place

where all comes together
standing like a tree,
a monument
in power

of balance
where the light deflects
just once
to meet us

so in the name of love
we can enter
the sharp-lined city,
Babylon, Paris, its name

is irrelevant,
the texture of its streets

in the recurring way
time has
with us.


In the dark rain
exhaust clouds rise
from waiting cars

lights change
and someone laughs

the train pulls out
at odds
with the station

a chair is dragged
across the floor,
people sitting down upstairs

a father and daughter
or son

do you see
the separate lineage,
words leading away
from old flesh patterns

in a flash: someone says

and you become
a science within
of immensely small

her profile against

the moving landscape.

The Consolation of Philosophy (B).

It is clear 
as she goes down
that stair

how she leaves
this place and her hands
shade her brow

that she
will be back

always leading
as no friend will lead you
so the blind
old man or child

can have eyes
and rest
from turning up the soil

year after year
while earth and body

waste away
and imperceptibly
a man and woman grow old
it is clear that

with her company or

you have no more
or less
to hope for
and this

is her consolation.

The Consolation of Philosophy (C),


To this day
one thinks of the structure,
evidence of haste
foundations made up

of diverse stones
in some places unwrought
and laid as

each worker brought them or
from graves, old stone
already cut

the circuit
of a city extending
in every direction,
the stone

around her neck
worn smooth
by rubbing.


She walks out of history
just like that
as the gate blown open

slams shut
and a tree's shadow
travels the wall
downward, branches

scraping branches
while waking, men
prepare for sleep.


Trust me, she says,
it is evening here,
sky and earth

sink back
thru the holes of our eyes
the sea's drawl
recedes from our ears
speaking only to the coast

and all down the beach
its long vowels
are moaned by the winds
and when the petals

put forth in spring,
each created thing
discloses itself
on the borders of light

and here also the void

discloses itself
on the borders
of light.


In the hemisphere
of sleep
our dreams rise

and set like suns

until that time
we already know
when one keeps on

with beams of
intolerable light.

   * * *

And travelling to the ends of the world
lighted by the sun
until it becomes
a pinpoint

between the eyes we carry
that dot of light
between our eyes
that black dot of light.

   * * *

Its smallness dividing
down and down to
the last speck,
its abyss and skies, plants
and earth, animals, people,

us without end or rest,
in the minute enormity.

   * * *

From this our cell,
our lodging, universe,
we know
the earth's curve
its cities, trees and all
the seasons,
our jailors.


In spite of perverse longings, brevity
defines our condition
and one day

is time enough, providing we learn
to move
and just grow whole

within the iron dream,
its straight path unflinching

thru years
to the heart.

Copyright © 1979 by Janet Rodney.

Crystals was published by North Atlantic Books.

Light and Dust @ Grist Mobile Anthology of Poetry.

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