Tell Us For We Are Ashavaric
Tell us, for we are lesser poets
poets of tassel bells, dadaliac
fillaforms, and tuberose. Tell,
why dairy maids daily sell furmity
from vanities fair to Canterbury?
Tell us of coils round the umbo
center sockets and ball, dovetailed
grafts, inter-cogged gears, minglements
of plain women and uncertain men;
how Anna's face is orphite turtle-shell,
how regret chops day, stills the night.
We know a smatter of pouring down
how rain fills the shallow, drying moat
round the tombs round Langley hill.
We know Katy's darling eyes are closed,
we hear the wails from tavern GitchyGoom.
But tell us the phantom lure of porticos
we want to know more, Pater's Van Storck;
why supple nuns take bread soaked in blood;
why Gnostic Jews drown books in the sea.
Tell us, the lesser poets, how thickety
bees swarm and how certain the message
in deepest structures of their dance;
why subtle cleaves dimidiate the whorl
of wild leeks, why she is daffolic when
she sits straddle my fence zigged-zagged;
why Traherne's migrant moths fly miles
to die in Rachel's fields of orient wheat.
Pry us, for we are ashaveric poets,
pry us loose from sustained intent,
from incessant craft, iambic monotonies,
from our self-annulling, adulatory lives
then, tell us much the more of the same.
I am not he, not that gazer into beauty's self-
yet I water-gaze and the pond is smooth
and wings above the trees are breeze, light;
and she, not the girl who fell in love, but one
who throws a diamond stone, lifts my reflect
into a run of circles centric to the edge of pond
where return reassembles, resembles me again,
Against waves toppling late against the bank,
my face settles, the pond is smooth once more,
and a girl with buckets full of glinting coal
lies back upon a cot of thrush and willow, leaves.
My Mermaid's Untimely Rip
How could you now plunge down inside
this is our holiday, these rocks off Corfu,
sweep past those scales, ambiguous in vee
and by your hand rip out a gob of egg?
Must you know?
Your belly sinks, never yellow in stretch
first month, a nursery weedy-roomed,
a sapphire grotto cave, vault below the reef.
Once dainty lip-o-perch, now a shekeled
half-a-girl you mullet glide to Cape Sissure.
Yes, from the cape to Capricorn.
He would live to wrest spikes and chains
from Neptune's grip; slip into dreams
of hetaira drowned wrecked, a ship of gifts,
concubines from the Greeks and amphoras
full of oil and merchant myrrh. He mummers
the ear of Puella, salamander-girl of the deep.
I regret the nature of fish.
She would live to fashion chrysoprase
comb Helen's hair, brush dust from her eyes,
listen her tower tale of Paris noting wind
and angle of arrow flight her flow long pent.
My mermaid's mirror became Psyche's lamp.
Then, swift in light go, swim away to Capricorn
I will tramp roads and rails on the ocean floor.
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Copyright 2004 Avatar Review