beauty when you rise (notebook poem)

White as sunwashed breaker
and careless of the rain the gray
heavy sky pressing the morning
birds to stillness
careless of the muck
of the marsh rainpond
stepping slow
delicate deliberate and watching
O long white body drawn up
in neck excruciating in
length in fineness
in grace
and head blackeyed
that transforms the riverine
run of neck into gold
a spear of sun poised —
Everywhere gray and rain
and gray —
but no — because following
the flight of your striking beak
the reeds I see bloom dense
brown gold light
greens of coming life
life so long waiting
now under the gray
the rain
come to blossom out of you
your whiteness
still and solid yet tumbling
breaking —
O beauty when you rise
into it the dull gray the wet
O white curved wings slow
indifferent it seems and yet
for all that
you catch me
carry me
grant me
one rising breath
on your featherborne
upsurge of grace.

sufficient mystery (notebook poem)

A gull hovers openwinged
in the still morning air — unmoving
between bay and sky — both blue
glow gathering — lit by morning
madcap of birdsong
that fills the dawn as it rises
over the ripening marsh —
The gull up there indifferent — calm
unmoved but — sunstruck —
aflame as though the light itself
impatient to hear it all
caught in her feathers
to ride her wings
into the bloom of song —
The bay then too — deep blue aglow
and the sky stretching
laughs above —
It’s only an instant though
before the sun breaks
over the horizon
searing everything —
the sky pales
birds hush their madsong
and even the restless bay
gives up its glow —
The gull alone — unmoved — still hovers
on the unseen rise of air
indifferent — white — alive —
sufficient in herself to save
the mystery of the world.

blue jay memory (notebook poem)

A shriek shattering blue
high clear calm
of summer morning sky–
Again — a hook
catching fast —
taking flight
through black pines
darkleaved oaks —
always just
at the edge of unseen —
bluegray — white
knife flight —
and again — a-wing
an arrow shriek
striking home
out of the hope
of dawn.

nameless (poem from the novel)

One, then another —
the gull’s black eyes
like berries,
like glass, like —
her head turns, tilts
impatient, and yet —
and yet with each
strike of gaze
each stab
as her white head twists,
beak slicing
the blind air between us —
with each new prod
of her nightblack eyes
I feel myself
stranger and stranger
until —
nameless in the sun —
cut free —
a body warm and long,
clam without a shell,
unprotected —
definition sliced away
by swift bold beak cuts —
stripped bare
by sun, by breeze
by ceaseless ocean roar
by merciless black eyes —
Only then I’ll be ready
to swim in the swell
of your green sea eyes.

pirate ship

for Sonyusha

There — beyond the window
in the black starless night —
quick quick — sails full
and leaning leaning barely dipping
as it cuts racing — almost too fast
and black as the night black
as the water as the moonless sky
and you see it —
no lights but the dim glow
within the cabin
you see it with me but is there anyone —
anyone else — the fishermen on the shore —
in the little boat the ship raced past
not so late that there wouldn’t be
couldn’t be anyone else —

But no — see it silent and fast
Night itself becoming the thing we seek —
becoming beams and masts
black sails
and from within — a yellow glow
the treasure gold
revealed — even as it’s stolen away.

a moment’s wonder (notebook poem)

from a motif of Pasternak’s

If that’s night you’ve brought
tumbling thick around your head,
a star there come to rest
right where your nostril flares —
if your eyes truly are
nocturnes seen from outside —
then it just might be
that’s happiness slipping
silently from your birdwing lips,
and gathered around you
your own starfilled sky
opening, opening
for you to take flight.

evening on brant point

brant_pointBetter a blacknecked goose
takes flight — one, startled —
then another — better
they wrest their nightgray
bodies from the dark marshpool
as the tired sun
sighs out red gold
into the dimming sky.
Better the still air
suddenly fills with
frantic wings, beaks
calling confusion, alarm
across the outstretched bay.
Others answer — hear it —
brants, honking too –
whitecheeked buffleheads pipe in —
all running, splashing up
the black surface,
desperate for flight,
not knowing why —
Better a flowerburst of chaos,
wild honking,
clattering beaks,
reedy voices deep —
calling the marsh,
the upreaching reeds
and tidebared shore
to rise, too —
to take wing,
and for that instant —
Oh, throw yourself open —
an instant, but only just —
before the voices find harmony,
wings — rhythm,
and evening
gently settles
on the bay.

any way that the sky (notebook poem)

IMG_0824Any way that the sky
bruised and tired
as the sun slips into slumber,
leaving the dark bay
to care for itself —
only then, blacknecked geese,
brants — heads straining forward,
wings going steady and calm
against the anxious calling —
any way that it could all make
some kind of sense — the magnificence
of evening, the turn of day
to night.
It can’t be bothered, really.
Think of it as that one
who never turned to look at you
twice, if that makes it
any better. But better yet,
see how the clouds slowly
steadily darken through gold
red purple to black,
how the sun
swells as it darkens and falls
toward the water, its blaze spilling
across the bay.
Off in the reeds, the trees beyond,
birds gather, sing,
and the geese, the brants
their reedy voices
low and urgent.

Watch and listen,
smell the bay,
the life in the muck–
feel the chill come on.
Just that.
It will be dark soon enough,
soon enough.

careless as life (notebook poem)

Toss it aside, beauty —
a sweater soaked in rain,
the scent of sheep, grass,
earth — life there loosened —
roused — stretching — as clouds
break and sun, dazzled, opens his eyes.
Toss it aside, careless —
you don’t need it — the scent
is caught in your hair,
glows in your eyes —
and while at the window, snow clings,
the carpet flowers under your feet
and songbirds scatter
— careless as life — from your lips.

from a fragment of Pasternak

It’s midday of the world. Where
are your eyes — reedbrown, lit
without sun, with clouds, with snow
white caught in the blond —
O how can the world be so quiet
so alive, yet still — what? waiting?
But for what, when clouds whisper,
when waves barely lap the shore,
when white-cheeked ducks dive
in the brutal black water as though
it were sky, blue, sunfilled, joy —
where are your eyes? It’s the midday
of the world — and everything is waiting.