1 It’s crisp but not yet glove weather. Elongated shadows fall from the autumn sun. Above the sky is so blue it looks unreal.
2 People are seated along the path, faces turned up toward the sun. Construction workers eat their lunches together in Spanish. Empty benches line the shaded side of the street.
3 Girls in short plaid school uniforms drift in bunches. A couple walks slowly, holding hands. A nanny sings softly to the child in her carriage.
4 Dogs wait patiently as their owners chat. Squirrels chase each other, rustling leaves and bouncing branches. Birds call in many languages; I only see sparrows and starlings.
5 The remains of the Marathon are piled up along Fifth Avenue. Vestiges of Halloween decorations still linger on buildings. Pine cones and needles mingle with oak leaves on the ground.
Brendan at earthweal discussed this week the intimacy of our landscapes. He suggested “a walk on the wild side”. This is not exactly a wild walk, but it’s my landscape, where I often go both to get from Point A to Point B here in the city, and to get outside of myself.
I He wanted mountains as his final resting place: climb and let me fly.
II We climbed, ten, The landscape open, no trees, just empty and wide.
III The black ashes fell up to the ground. The sun remained in the sky.
IV A camera captured pieces. All around earth rocks family air.
V Our conflicts dissolving into suspended time, breathing memories, the connections blinding, the future past.
VI The shadow of inheritance. The pull of familiarity. Love crossed with contradiction, no answers, lost words, absences uncertain and unknown.
VII O voice of silences what would you say to us now? Do you not seek the many questions embedded in the reparations we expect to find?
VIII I know only murmurs and the rhythm of searching. But I know too that death is involved in what I know.
IX When we came down from the mountain our bodies flew, scattered to many destinations.
X At the sound of each day and each day returning we noted the discordant measure of hours and years.
XI He did not ask for more time. He did not seek miracles or complain of cruelty. He knew that all stories have an end.
XII Her mind departed long before her heart failed.
XIII We went back up the mountain. It was different and the same and the earth the sky accepted anew our darkest gift.
Joy has asked us this week at earthweal to talk about the first poems that helped you to find your own inner eye and voice, and write about it. I’m sure there were poems and poets that influenced me before Wallace Stevens, but none has been as central to me as his “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird”. I’ve posted at least 4 variations of it, including one for earthweal.
But the poem above is the one that still cuts closest. The photos are cropped versions of panoramas composed by my older daughter from photos she took in the mountains of Arizona where my father requested that we spread his ashes. My mother did not make any request except to be cremated, but we managed to find the very same place to spread her ashes years later after her death. As I wrote in my original post: I’ve been thinking about my parents. My generation is becoming the elders now. I do not think we are prepared for it.
1 Once upon a time, wonder. Inside narrative, it becomes lost, leaves only invisible tracks. Who will see them, find them, save them? Always a long journey to the center of the spiral.
where is happily? nowhere to be
seen– and after? suddenly it engulfs
2 Over rainbows, they said, somewhere, lies the road to Nirvana. Don’t be fooled, they said, by the enticing Road to Ruin. But where to begin? Where, even, is the rainbow? I appeal to the mystery hidden inside darkness.
track my journey by the moon
Two quadrilles for dVerse, where Merril provided the word track. I was inspired to write these by Lisa at Tao Talk, who used “once upon a time” as the beginning of one of her troikus for her poetry postcards this year. I’ve illustrated the quadrilles with some of my own poetry postcards from 2021, where I printed some of my moon photos and gave them words.
If I could see horizon’s light at first dawn, Venus would greet me shining up the rising sun. But I live in darkness, almost-full moon suffused with secrets, luminous, surprising me–reflecting through my window, later, soon– casting shadowed leaves that shift, mesmerizing, absorbed in Van Morrison’s musical dance– hazy as to borderlines, transformed, entranced. Perhaps Diana orbits inside my dreams– I almost catch her in the wavering beams– and following the fragments, drift—caught between.
An eleventh power poem for the prompt offered by Grace for the dVerse 11th anniversary celebration, also in answer to this week’s W3 challenge, a response to Steven S. Wallace and his poem “Oh Luna” that contains three proper nouns.