Saturday, July 07, 2012


Small Songs: NaPo April 2012 (Temporary Storage)

"Small Song:  Dirge"

What words for the end?
What words for the wind
to lift along the hills
with my dust?  Just these few:
     seed     bud     fruit

* * *
"Small Song:  Study"

This ecru saucer has a smooth face
with a slightly raised and rounded edge,
a thin coral band just within the rim.
Two black Mission figs stand together
beyond the center, while a third, split open,
lies before them, its coral heart variegated
with ecru seeds.  There is no significance
to this arrangement, no weighty burden 
of symbolic freight; there is only this pattern 
someone thought lovely.
* * *

"Small Song:  Fete"
Tonight I would celebrate
the too-little observed of your body:
the pulse-stirred flesh behind your knees,
the  warm curves of the undersides 
of your breasts, and, last, 
the shadowed cup at the base 
of your spine which I will fill
with quivering kisses to play like koi
* * *

"Small Song:  Limits"

t seems my toes are always peeping
up at me around the bulge of my belt;
even when they're shod and shifting out of sight
and back again during a not-too-brisk walk,
I remain aware of their constant scrutiny.  
On certain occasions, when they're bare
in yoga class, I try to return the favor
with a close inspection that rarely succeeds.
Still, I'm glad for their attentiveness
to the periphery of things because it clarifies
just how much of the world is me.

* * *

"Small Song:  Ends"

Scruffy brown and battered, the abandoned sofa
next to the county dumpster leaks stuffing
as disconsolately as last year's cattails
shed ragged clumps of seed in the rain.

* * *

"Small Song:  Caregiver"

Green treefrogs cling to the drapes,
dozing until dusk;  gopher frogs
hole up under the couch and chairs,
while spring peepers bunch in the pantry,
preparing their chorale for the evening.
Bullfrogs wade through bathtub shallows,
avoiding a knot of drowsing eastern toads.
Crazy frog lady, who else would take in 
all these princes no one ever kissed?

* * *
"Small Song: Pruning"

This cutting, this casting aside
of all that's farthest from the heartwood,
the peripheral, the tangential, 
lightens the core for the lift into spring.

* * *
"Small Song:  Unexpected"

Elegant silver-gray lady,
cool and slender beneath
the crepe myrtles at noon,
who would have anticipated
that floppy, bright magenta hat
you've just revealed, rose campion, 
as if you'll be off for some 
hot jazz and warm bourbon
once evening comes?

* * *
"Small Song: Artifact"

The moon blurs behind thin cloud,
an ancient coin worn beyond reading,
its silence tangible as its cold weight.

* * *
"Small Song:  Carr"

Pale twirls of mist lift in early light
over the bog pools,  tussock sedges
raise new green over the dun mats
of last year's growth,  young willows hang
motionless in still air, bronze-brown water
ruffles slightly with a striped newt's passage,
and, over all,  the shadow of the heron, 
long with dawn and silent, strikes.

NOTE:  "carr" is a succession stage from an area originally flooded with fresh water in transition to a forested area; it's denoted by bog terrain and the beginnings of forestation.

* * *
"Small Song:  Reclaimed"

The black plum tree writhes and contorts
as if it sucks agony from the earth;
drop by drop, passing through 
the twisted living limbs, pain transfigures
to the sweet heart's fire of its fruit.

* * *
"Small Song:  Rite"
for my niece, on graduating

The precipice frightens by its solitude;
empty air blazes with light that shows
no step, no hold, no simple descent.
You are no longer child, no longer girl;
you are woman.  The sun beckons.  Fly. 

* * *
Small Song: Portent

Shattered sun spatters over leaf litter,
scattered across the duff like tossed coins.
A common sulfur, strayed in from the field beyond, 
flickers through shafts of bright and dim; 
its yellow wings blink like a warning light.

* * *

Small Song: Snake

Little flicks of rain spit onto the river; 
tiny rings mingle, crazing the water's mirror.
A cottonmouth, head erect, surges undeterred
through the confusion of images, 
unswerving, fixed, implacable.

* * *

Small Song: Enumeration

The sidewalk's littered with unsplit pods
of cottonwood seed; these strings
of green beads form the abacus of the unborn. 
Life's profligacy terrifies.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Against all this,
I count you One, transient, random,
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .here.

* * *
(NOTE: This piece was suggested by the opening lines of 
Anne Simpson's "Finally" in which she refers to the 
cottonwood's female pod-bearing catkin as "a rosary.")

* * *

Small Song: Assuaged

Gray evening: clouds crowd in,
blunt light's thrust, mute shadows.
Sun-sharp edges blur with this softer focus,
relinquishing day's assertion of absolutes.

* * *

Small Song: Harvest

The long light of the afternoon
burnishes your breasts as it does
the bronze flesh of the bosc pear
you offer me, crossed-legged on our bed,
so much ripeness to fill my hands.

* * *

Small Song: Fundamental

The water strider dimples 
the shallows' surface; rainbow-rimmed,
shadows move slowly across
the creek's pebbled floor, a shifting
interplay of light and dark, a small world
defined by difference always in motion. 

* * *

Small Song: Transmutation

Now comes the hour of the leaf.
Cherry, dogwood, wisteria
shed their petals and resort
to green to suckle the sun.
This is the feast of light,
the revel of abundance,
the drawing within and 
transformation into self 
of some small portion 
of all that lies beyond.

* * *

Small Song: Promethean

Dim afternoon submerges into evening;
the walls of this room recede, defused 
into distance, icy with absence.

Your fingers touch one lamp and free
parchment-hued light. Out of depth, clarity;
out of chill, warmth -- these gifts of your hand.

* * *

Small Song: Firewood

Sawdust dances from the cut
as I press and pull the bowsaw
through the windstruck poplar
across the side of the yard.
Thirty five years it aspired to the sun.
I will not dishonor it with mechanical
fume or screech. My hands move slowly
as I prepare it to become its own pyre.

* * *

Small Song: Sustained

Tin roof corroded, walls gray 
with damp and rot, the empty shack
tilts fatally to the left, held erect only
by the artesian billow of the bridal 
wreath spirea, a fountain of pure light
even near dusk's end.

* * *

Small Song: Ineffectual

One by one, the peony sheds its petals,
curved white panes which drift and swirl
on the faintest of winds. No matter how
light or brief, these flower-stirring breezes
have more force than my breathless words:
. . . . . . . . . .Stay with me.
* * *
Small Song: Ripening

Late sun reflects from the river ripples
up beneath the mulberry branches,
lined with hundreds of pale green 
and a few random red fruit; they glow
in the underlight, abundant, intense, alive.

* * *

Small Song: Gratified

The willow quivers
as the tongue of the river
lightly flicks the tips
of its lowest leaves.
Such contentment
in the softly sighing rustle.

* * *

Small Song: Anticipation

In the morning shadow of the sycamore,
I close my eyes and absorb the chill
of the iron bench into my skin. I do not
think of you.
. . . . . . . . . . .But it's not enough.
I still hear the swallows' chatter above the river,
honeysuckle scent spreads over my tongue,
and the memory of your breasts presses against my back.
One simply cannot practice here amid the palpable
for the dearth which waits.

* * *

Small Song: Respite

Sitting on the slightly swaybacked porch
of the 19th century farmhouse, shadowed
by two centenarian oaks and cool even on
a warm April noon, I hear in the creaks
of the old rocking chair the sounds of time
slowing down to sit awhile in the shade.

* * *

Small Song: Weight

A single burst of photons caught all that remains
of that branch of flowering crabapple, a pink blaze
against the whiteness of you. So small, so evanescent,
how is it they carry such heaviness still?

* * *

Small Song: Game

The sun tosses moving shadows
from the wind-shoved cumulus
across the highway, playing hide-and-seek
with the roadside Blackeyed Susans.

* * *

Small Song: Fall

The cooling water of the creek frees 
. . . . .adult caddisflies.
Amber-winged, by day they seek refuge
among the drifts of dead leaves 
. . . . .along the bank.
Dusk draws them out in their thousands,
dancers in dim light, celebrants of the last brief
. . . . . . . . . .nuptials of the year.

* * *

$/31 (!)
Small Song: Joined

I plunge my hands into fresh-turned earth
to find your warmth, the soft rich weight 
of your flesh, the moisture of your body's springs --
what sustains, what gives and receives all that lives.
I will plant myself deep within your substance
that we may rise and flower, one.

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