Poems that look at relationships in the context of the wind and cold.
so much depends upon a red wheel barrow glazed with rain water beside the white chickens.
so much depends upon a red wheel barrow glazed with rain water beside the white chickens.
O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done, The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won, The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting, While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring; But O heart! heart! heart! O the bleeding drops of red, Where on the deck my Captain lies, Fallen cold and dead. O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells; Rise up- for you the flag is flung- for you the bugle trills, For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths- for you the shores a-crowding, For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning; Here Captain! dear father! This arm beneath your head! It is some dream that on the deck, You've fallen cold and dead. My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still, My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will, The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and done, From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won; Exult O shores, and ring O bells! But I with mournful tread, Walk the deck my Captain lies, Fallen cold and dead.
I knew the end would be gone before I got there. After all, all rainbows lie for a living. And as you have insisted, repeatedly, The difference between death and the Eternal Present is about as far as one Eyelash from the next, not wished upon. Rainbows are not forms or stories, are they? They are not doors ajar so much as far— Flung situations without true beginnings Or any ends—why bother—unless, as you Suggest—repeatedly—there's nothing wrong With this life, and we should all stop whining. So I shift my focus now on how to end A letter. In XOXOXO, For example, Miss, which are the hugs And which the kisses? Does anybody know? I could argue either way: the O's Are circles of embrace, the X is someone Else's star burning inside your mouth; Unless the O is a mouth that cannot speak, Because, you know, it's busy. X is the crucifixion all embraces Are, here at the nowhere of the rainbow's end, Where even light has failed its situation, Slant the only life it ever had, Where even the most gallant sunset can't Hold back for more than a nonce the rain-laden Eastern sky of night. It's clear. It's clear. X's are both hugs and kisses, O's Where stars that died gave out, gave up, gave in— Where no one meant the promises they made. Oh, and one more thing. I send my love However long and far it takes—through light, Through time, thorough all the faithlessness of men, James Augustin Galvin, X, His mark.
Someone will walk into your life, Leave a footprint on your heart, Turn it into a mudroom cluttered With encrusted boots, children's mittens, Scratchy scarves— Where you linger to unwrap Or ready yourself for rough exits Into howling gales or onto Frozen car seats, expulsions Into the great outdoors where touch Is muffled, noses glisten, And breaths stab, So that when you meet someone Who is leaving your life You will be able to wave stiff Icy mitts and look forward To an evening in spring When you can fold winter away Until your next encounter with A chill so numbing you strew The heart's antechamber With layers of rural garble.
There are a billion reasons to look down into a casket, but just one way to lie in it dead, which proves there isn't anything you can think of that isn't here for the living, who are each alive for a short time in a very different way. After she moves out, one tears up grass blades to watch which way the wind blows. Just over there, another buried his favorite dog and now look at that tree! Would you like to model for me? says the lousy painter to every woman who walks within earshot. Feeling a little dead? Maybe you spend a weekend faking a French accent, maybe you buy an even more expensive stereo and build a separate and self-sufficient world inside the garage. Something happens something happens something happens. Repetition repetition repetition. The saddest painting I ever saw was on the carpet in my friend's hallway where he tripped one night carrying a gallon of red. This was just before the divorce. Just after he told me he was trapped inside some idea of himself, one he swore bore no relation to what the rest of us had been seeing. "Nice shirt" has always meant too many things.
The wind blows through the doors of my heart. It scatters my sheet music that climbs like waves from the piano, free of the keys. Now the notes stripped, black butterflies, flattened against the screens. The wind through my heart blows all my candles out. In my heart and its rooms is dark and windy. From the mantle smashes birds' nests, teacups full of stars as the wind winds round, a mist of sorts that rises and bends and blows or is blown through the rooms of my heart that shatters the windows, rakes the bedsheets as though someone had just made love. And my dresses they are lifted like brides come to rest on the bedstead, crucifixes, dresses tangled in trees in the rooms of my heart. To save them I've thrown flowers to fields, so that someone would pick them up and know where they came from. Come the bees now clinging to flowered curtains. Off with the clothesline pinning anything, my mother's trousseau. It is not for me to say what is this wind or how it came to blow through the rooms of my heart. Wing after wing, through the rooms of the dead the wind does not blow. Nor the basement, no wheezing, no wind choking the cobwebs in our hair. It is cool here, quiet, a quilt spread on soil. But we will never lie down again.
At least that many buffet here, and I erect as the monument despite my hope to be flattened. If only the winds could take the horse-sobs that heave from me, wind-whipped without the grace of speech; if only these small creatures with amused, skeptical eyes could offer me their chittering, their business of fetching and nesting in the fields. One day I fear the barometer's shift will shatter the surface of the vessel, jarring me into bloody words—catastrophe will fill the strophe then— Unless, winds, you take my speech and rend it into untranslatable rainy hootings.
|On the under-mothered world in crisis,|
|the omens agree. A Come here||follows for reader & hero through|
|the named winds as spirits are|
|lifted through the ragged colorful o's on||butterflies called fritillarics, tortoise shells &|
|blues till their vacation settles under|
|the vein of an aspen leaf||like a compass needle stopped in|
|an avalanche. The students are moving.|
|You look outside the classroom where||construction trucks find little Troys. Dust|
|rises: part pagan, part looping. Try|
|to describe the world, you tell||them—but what is a description?|
|For centuries people carried the epic|
|inside themselves. (Past the old weather||stripping, a breeze is making some|
|6th-vowel sounds yyyyyy that will side|
|with you on the subject of syntax||as into the word wind they|
|go. A flicker passes by: air|
|let out of a Corvette tire.)||Side stories leaked into the epic,|
|told by its lover, the world.|
|The line structure changed. Voices grew||to the right of all that.|
|The epic is carried into school|
|then to scoopedout chairs. Scratchy holes||in acoustic tiles pull whwhoo-- from|
|paperbacks. There's a type of thought|
|between trance & logic where teachers||rest & the mistake you make|
|when you're not tired is no breathing.|
|The class is shuffling, something an||island drink might cure or a|
|citrus goddess. They were mostly raised|
|in tanklike SUVs called Caravan or||Quest; winds rarely visited them. Their|
|president says global warming doesn't exist.|
|Some winds seem warmer here. Some.||Warriors are extra light, perhaps from|
|ponies galloping across the plains.|
|Iphigenia waits for winds to start.|
|Winds stowed in goatskins were meant||to be released by wise men:|
|gusts & siroccos, chinooks, hamsins, whooshes,|
|blisses, katabatics, Santa Anas, & foehns.||Egyptian birds were thought to be|
|impregnated by winds. The Chinese god|
|of wind has a red-&-blue cap||like a Red Sox fan. Students|
|dislike even thinking about Agamemnon. You|
|love the human species when you||see them, even when they load|
|their backpacks early & check the|
|tiny screens embedded in their phones.||A ponytail hodler switches with light,|
|beguiled. Iphigenia waits for the good.|
|Calphas & her father have mistaken the||forms of air: Zephyr, Borcas, Eurus|
|the grouchy east breeze & Notos|
|bringer of rains. Maybe she can||see bones in the butterfly wings|
|before they invent the X-ray. Her|
|father could have removed the sails||& rowed to Troy. Nothing makes|
|sense in war, you say. Throw|
|away the hunger & the war's||all gone. There's a section between|
|the between of joy & terror|
|where the sailors know they shouldn't||open the sack of winds. It|
|gives the gods more credit. An|
|oracle is just another nature. There's||a space between the two beeps|
|of the dump truck where the|
|voice can rest. Their vowels join||the names of winds in white|
|acoustic tiles. A rabbit flies across|
|the field with Zephyr right behind.||Wind comes when warm air descends.|
|The imagined comes from the imargined.|
Air out the linens, unlatch the shutters on the eastern side, and maybe find that deck of Bicycle cards lost near the sofa. Or maybe walk around and look out the back windows first. I hear the view's magnificent: old silent pines leading down to the lakeside, layer upon layer of magnificent light. Should you be hungry, I'm sorry but there's no Chinese takeout, only a General Store. You passed it coming in, but you probably didn't notice its one weary gas pump along with all those Esso cans from decades ago. If you're somewhat confused, think Vermont, that state where people are folded into the mountains like berries in batter. . . . What I'd like when I get there is a few hundred years to sit around and concentrate on one thing at a time. I'd start with radiators and work my way up to Meister Eckhart, or why do so few people turn their lives around, so many take small steps into what they never do, the first weeks, the first lessons, until they choose something other, beginning and beginning their lives, so never knowing what it's like to risk last minute failure. . . .I'd save blue for last. Klein blue, or the blue of Crater Lake on an early June morning. That would take decades. . . .Don't forget to sway the fence gate back and forth a few times just for its creaky sound. When you swing in the tire swing make sure your socks are off. You've forgotten, I expect, the feeling of feet brushing the tops of sunflowers: In Vermont, I once met a ski bum on a summer break who had followed the snows for seven years and planned on at least seven more. We're here for the enjoyment of it, he said, to salaam into joy. . . .I expect you'll find Bibles scattered everywhere, or Talmuds, or Qur'ans, as well as little snippets of gospel music, chants, old Advent calendars with their paper doors still open. You might pay them some heed. Don't be alarmed when what's familiar starts fading, as gradually you lose your bearings, your body seems to turn opaque and then transparent, until finally it's invisible--what old age rehearses us for and vacations in the limbo of the Middle West. Take it easy, take it slow. When you think I'm on my way, the long middle passage done, fill the pantry with cereal, curry, and blue and white boxes of macaroni, place the checkerboard set, or chess if you insist, out on the flat-topped stump beneath the porch's shadow, pour some lemonade into the tallest glass you can find in the cupboard, then drum your fingers, practice lifting your eyebrows, until you tell them all--the skeptics, the bigots, blind neighbors, those damn-with-faint-praise critics on their hobbyhorses-- that I'm allowed, and if there's a place for me that love has kept protected, I'll be coming, I'll be coming too.