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Sunday, March 30, 2014

New Poem, rough

I have a number of elegy poems.  This is still quite rough but I think I am approaching whatever ineffable thing one approaches in poems.

March Elegy

All night I pace, insomniac
beneath a sky traveled by clouds.
The sharp wind shreds them to pale rags.
Sometimes the moon reveals her face,
a white skull floating in a sea-black sky.
Trees stand embedded in their silence.
Far off, a fox barks, perhaps the one
with a pelt of silver; her paw prints mark the creek’s edge.
Closer, an owl sounds its bass notes,
deep, echoing, a tunnel of slow song
woven from this night, these shadows.

“How do I go on?” I ask,
as if the sleeping forest can hear me,
as if the trees might say,
“Grief is a mountain.  Climb it on your hands and knees,”
as if the creek in its stone bed whispers,
“Bow to the mystery.  Warm your hands at its cold fire.”

Throw a pebble into the dark
and the creek will answer briefly,
then return to its ceaseless braiding and unbraiding,
its glassy ribbons of water.

Tell me how to hold this solitude.
Make me a branch in that water,
close to the granite ledge where the cougar
sleeps in her den. They say she is pregnant,
her belly large under the tawny pelt,
inching towards that time.

Let me borrow the gold of her eyes,
her sheathed claws.
She makes a soft nest in her den and waits.

Teach me to translate her patience
as the wind speaks no familiar language
and the moon arrays herself in a robe of stars

until your grey and silent ghost
slips from my heart and disappears.