Branches encased in ice
frozen at the edge of light
the sound of ice igniting
is like fire shattering
contracting and expanding
the crack in the earth
methane through permafrost
at the glazing a transformation
things pass into transparency
in a sleep-like state all children
of light and light of blight
on a planet of fire and ice
and crystals of mortal salt
the stillness before the setting
the wind at first frost
freezes the skin of water
the ringing of light
and conception of rime
freezing point of mind
and all the unkindness
and all that is malign
appears like a silver thaw
of clouds crushing to a stop
Our shadows be frozen to the street.
Without vectors lovers can’t meet.
Century gods are like sprinters,
They don’t run time’s marathon.
No excuses for evil done or doing.
Reasons not be otherwise than lies.
Wouldn’t have power and greed
Or deadly, supersonic armories.
The flowering of youngest light
Could warm us at a touch,
Chaos lose all momentum
And midway to zero speed– restored.
Then it might rain and rain and rain
Slowest, saddest tears, of that god’s heaven.
We spoke wine-press “purple words”
Blending with wine-makers’ voices
Splashing purple across work floors.
“Blue words” kept the world aloft,
Like branch, bird, cloud and water…
Like time, spirit, celestial and divine…
“Green words” grew among us like grapes
And sang the sun’s green gratitude
For smoke and rain, twilight and dreams.
The “black words” we saw in color
Were indigo buntings in a magic forest
Or like fish that swallow moonlight.
Only at the entrance to the underworld
Are the unforgiving fluent in ash,
Though the words are dowsed in past light.
Lifts construction machines like stones
And casts them into a heap.
Love stops armies with sweet
Slow bullets of sleep.
It terrorizes terrorists with weapons
Of impossible propaganda.
It blasts through diamond
To reach the cave of the poem.
Curiously my childhood doctor had an Arthur Schopenhauer set of philosophy books in his waiting room glass cabinet. Back then I didn’t know Schopenhauer from schadenfreude, but the books fascinated me. Seemingly out of place, they looked sterile, somehow instrumental, completely necessary… Years later I’d learn about Schopenhauer in philosophy classes, remembering the glass cabinet waiting room and childhood doctor appointments at which I would always be given the means to recovery… Last time I saw the doctor was at a funeral. He died shortly after the funeral, taking my secret with him. As a thought experiment, I sometimes imagine those Schopenhauer books are still behind glass, and that everything else has changed.
Keep me awake one minute beyond those I love
That I may guide them safely through dark doors
Keep me awake one minute beyond first light
Like an after-image of light eternal
Don’t shut my eyes unless sleepless I depart
Sleepless arrive where sleepless I embarked
Don’t close my hands before I touch the last wave
Don’t bind my feet until the dance is slowing
Don’t cover my mind before it pictures its dream
Don’t bury me before I write my grave
Or stop my blood until it flies in birds
Don’t let the wind blow into my mouth
Before my spirit steps into its spaces
Such a thin reed for so round a whistle–
I stop inside myself inside the fog.
I look around, owl-like.
Past and present meet.
The future calls from the street.
In all places I think
it is like this at times,
a wavering moment
in which something endures.