from "The Unexpected" by Carol Berge



            THE UNEXPECTED            


              CAROL BERGE             



    yes    you are permitted    you are 
    allowed    yes    you are hallowed
    are given grace    are
    as you are as you stand as you
         yes    you are forgiven you
    are loved are embraced
                               you are
    called excellent as you stand and
    as you simply sit 
                      yes    you start
    thus    a small step    this step
    a hesitant    a wondering    as frond
    of fern in wind
                    then milkweed or
    another step until
                       moss    and then
    yes    you are running there is rain
    the air of light    the leaves
                                   all the
    faces the finally friends o
           you are so beautiful as you
    walk as you run fly not moving in
    wind     leaves
                    are hallowed    the sun
    and your face    o listen
                              all the
               yes    finally



    each of them says 'I have loved you
    because you have never told me i am ugly'
    soap sets blood: cool water removes it.
    there they go, down the oldest streets
    in each of the cities, wearing the tall hat
    of self-abnegation, their worn fingernails 
    adorned with commemorative postage-stamps
    bearing their youthful faces. last year's
    rumors made cabbages sources of nutrition
    and potatoes were valueless: this was
    reversed ten years ago, and the housewives
    cooked them in every phase. but when
    the house became quiet, the night drowning
    in denigration, 'i have loved you well,
    mark this, mark what i have done, notice,'
    with water, with kettles full of hot water,
    to set the blood, and the next morning
    there they go, toward the village fountain,
    toward the white mistakes of soap to set it.



         for Frank Murphy
    It sits
    it is being an animal
    a male animal
    alive on earth
    it is alive.
    It is alive
    apparently motionless
    the atoms within are moving
    back toward earth
    it is a cat sitting
    apparently doing nothing.
    The ribcage moves
    the diaphragm moves slightly
    the lungs
    the digestive tract.
    Eyes stare straight ahead
    into infinity.
    As he sits immobile
    he is moving moving moving



    i.  to go out
                  to the world
        this time dressed as a
        japanese printmaker,
        not the eyes or
        epicanthus, but
        as that of an island:
             out into a world,
        to find it earth! and
        more simple, complex
        than it seemed:
        to a few lines with
        shadings, the wood
        to its grain
        rather than to the 
        external form.
        part of earth are you!
        and after that, to
        go out, 
        perhaps dressed as a
        haida shaman,
                      finding it
        all ocean! and
        strewn with cowry: lines
        across sand.
        the land bridged.
    ii. let it
              be an earth color;
        orange or hematite or
        dark as vital loam
        where rivers are,
                         or blue
        of roots from
        the parched mesas,
        distillate of rain
        toward one hand.
        but always
                  as this rug
        of wool from a real sheep,
        alive, shorn with shears
        and dyed
                perhaps with berries
        until brilliant, or
                           left so:
        the soft natural.
        but always
                   fashioned with
        eyes, with hands,
        as friends' faces, worn or
        young: with the
        nature of it

    (for d. levertov)
    as when the person's bones and thoughts
    show like branches, through the skin,
    through the years, overlaid in muted or
    fern tracery. or the voice remembered
    when the page is read. it is the sense
    of the thing to come, when discovering
    this face that is not new, after all:
    the idea opposite you which agrees
    with these definitions you have become.
    under spruce, the needles fall and fall,
    the new in patterns resembling letters,
    the past forming their base or the way
    through which the fine sheets climb.
    it is those moving near you, to remind
    of roots and sources, of your own leaf.


    What each of us does
    is so interesting.
    Especially to each other.
    Interesting to each other.
    What we do
    to and with each other.
    This is the most
    interesting place on
    earth at the most
    interesting possible time.
    Here. Right now. We are
    right, now; we are right
    here. We are all right.
    Yes, we are all here.
    Here we are, and it is
    all we are. All of it is so
    interesting, to each other,
    what a place to be placed
    in, in history,
    at this time on earth!
    Doing what we do, the way 
    we do it, to and with
    each other. And always
    so interested in each other.
    If you move here, you
    will automatically be here 
    too, and you will be
    part of what we do
    a moving part of it all
    and therefore interesting
    while you are doing and
    being done to.
    Meantime, we are all here
    in this place and it is
    the best place to be
    more now than ever. 

   THE UNEXPECTED was published by Membrane     
       Press, now Light and Dust Books. 
        Copyright 1976 by Carol Berge. 


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