A professor emerita at the University of Colorado and the author of 11 poetry books and two chapbooks, Ida Fasel celebrated her 100th birthday this year and is still writing and giving readings. To her the words of the Psalmist may be applied: "The righteous shall flourish as the palmtree, and grow tall as a cedar in Lebanon. Even in old age they shall bear fruit; they shall be full of vigor and strength, to declare that the Lord is upright, my Rock in whom there is no unrighteousness." (Ps. 92) Beginning with the first issue in 1996 of The Deronda Review's predecessor, The Neovictorian/Cochlea, Prof. Fasel's work has appeared in every issue of the magazine but two. We are grateful for the privilege of publishing Prof. Fasel's work through the years, and hope to go on hearing her voice till 120! To see pictures of Prof. Fasel and a list of her books, and hear her reading her poems, go to www.idafasel.com.
The poems below are in the order of their appearance in our journal. -- EC
READING DANTE LATE AT NIGHT
Strong as winters of spring, jonquil adjacent
secure as small perfect industries
of the sea;
hidden as psalm numbers behind church columns;
suitable as the wooded corner of Wyoming
with its stark connections,
strange as the familiar making itself known:
strong, secure, hidden; suitable, strange,
to read so far from where I am
on my side of the lamp
till I am startled – the shadow
your page makes as it turns,
the lift of your face in the corner
of my eye
as you wait for my look to meet yours.
What a blessed crossing, our separate ways,
in the love that moves the sun and the other stars.
Strong, secure, hidden, suitable, strange
to move lenient within another motion.
To recover quiet.
MY KIND OF STORIES
Earth, when I am supposed to hear
echoes of the first few seconds
of Big Bang, hot chunks exploding,
why the walls of Jericho instead?
When it seems as if I had no existence
before this life, why was first time
not the first time for the legends I love?
I never tire seeing God begin
to move in space like music,
telling dark from light in wind
and shadows and gleams. Odds and ends
of everything turned into something –
flowers, mosses, eohippuses.
A bird named itself by one call.
A few small stones held up the firmament.
On the sixth day, getting to man,
he took sand from river banks
close enough to hills
to smell like pines. And a woman
to be wife, mother, lady
of the finest rose quartz.
Their spines tingled to stand.
In the beginning. With his blessing.
Oh Adam, come what will
of that no-win tree,
Each stair was mysteriously meant.
-- John Milton
When he browses rock
does he delve in garnet's stately red,
amethyst's flowery violet, lapis'
blue ness of blue? Does he garnish
the terraces he climbs
with chrysolyte and topaz,
inlays of amber, wheels of beryl,
a sapphire throne?
He hacks the gem from the broken
cliff face, dusky, still holding
the secret of its light.
Such care, studying the cut,
conversing with what he cuts.
He polishes and polishes
till the rub is right
and the surface gives way
to the sheen within,
a simple stone
that sings to his hand
with a knowledge so old, so vast
transparent in it is
the whole firmament
wind and water fine-worked
for time over time over time.
Almost hidden in layers of spruce
a robin sat, wary but keeping calm,
bigger round than her house.
Spill of miniature blue,
toss of shell -- did she remember?
Work of ill wind, not mine.
She sat intense in her own life
to life coming.
Her profile eye in range of mine
I too a lady in waiting.
Was she aware?
A manner of feeling passed between us,
on guard, on hold.
Silence like clear speech contained us,
light as light crossing
the shade of a leaf,
real as all a moment true to itself
knows of trust.
Better than words.
Who lost/What you lost goes nowhere.
He is wearing the cornflower blue turtleneck
his father brought him when he drove
600 miles to bail him out of vagrancy.
It is grimy as old-painting blue; the jeans
torn in all the right symbolic places.
Has he found answers to the unanswerable
in I Chig, crystals, an ashram in India?
Did he raise his consciousness
to the highest chakra? Is Jacob's ladder
still too short of steps for the lotus?
So thin. So thin.
He is breaking my heart.
I hold my apron by the corners,
basketing the last of our apples.
"Will you come in?"
His nostrils tremble with fruity aromas
of pas remembrance.
His gaunt eyes light up.
He wants nothing better in the world
than to sit peeling apples
face to face at the kitchen table.
Mess-a-bed, bum pipe, swine's mouth,
by any name, Daneelion, you freely give
The gold of looks, the good of leaves,
a touch of holy in your wine.
At your first clumping, like
my neighbors, I assault with boots,
smother with sprays, gouge with digger,
mow over. Pesky weed to lawns.
You bail out of the season's wreckage
delicate, unthreatened, glistening.
I have come comfort of a loser's
summer wars when the soft sculptures
of your firm round seedheads in diaspora
slip apart to the breeze's slightest
breath, drift across my window
and down the street with the ease
of a voice floating an aria.
Year after year you melt
into what's intact. You return
spring ahead of the calendar, unoffended.
But where is the wish I blew you away with
years and years ago?
TRUE FREEDOM IS SIGNIFICANT BONDAGE
Those depth rabbis poring over the Talmud
trapped in what they know
they do not know
lingering over poems embedded in poems
will put up with all the nitty gritty
of just and realistic principles
and round up all the possibilities
to make sure they don’t miss
whatever might be on the sacred mind
showing through at the glorious edge
of human limits.
A life to cling to for dear life.
A sea that holds you up if you let it
be your spine.
A planet losing its blue to bluer
the farther you leave it.
The word for which there is no word
for the worth.
Hour after hour
in a gray interior
pearly from the sun’s rays
held shimmering in the narrow windows
they walk the fine line of the text
finer for wear
the hand not free to touch
the sight forbidden to have.
More than meets the eye, their bearings.
STUDY IN BLACK AND WHITE
Coming toward me
over the soft underfoot
of city concrete
among sweaty bare arms
to the sturdy rhythm of his black shoes
and the capacious swing of his black coat
out of the reverent elegance of his brimmed black hat
a white iris
in waving leaves
the wounds of an angel
healed white like a man’s
one illuminated letter
standing before God
asking only always
to dance, to praise, to trust.
Four billion years ago, about,
only your own mind around.
by haloes closeted in trees and rocks.
Are you conscious
of the eons you have been living,
you have been, where you are going?
You should be
taller than you are — uplifted
on debris of ages —
long bones, connecting bones, jawbones,
and fragments of civilizations
fitted floor to floor.
For centuries we calculated you
and now we discover you are one
of so many a many
our simple arithmetic self-destructs.
Fieldwork in origins,
divine or otherwise
is futile. You crack open
at ageless faults
and for 15 seconds we are profound.
You show some order in your behavior,
masking death mothering
seeds and bulbs and spores.
But you smash our houses by chance
and gale force winds. You multiply
with the vibrant pace of life.
How do you communicate with other
bodies of your kind?
Your cast-and-wrought-iron will
takes no notice of us.
You go on making up your stories
while we at your back
flounder in motivation, hanker
to revise, at times
throw ourselves on your writing hand.
We free ambiguities
with a plot twist, endlessly
speculate your aims.
Like, in the last thunderclap,
why did you leave
the lilac bush intact?
Although the world I harness
to my spinning wheel
isn’t Teriary granite or quantum
theory, I sometimes think
I have a glance from you
in the ocher and umber
autumn colors of the scrub oak
and willow timed
to the moutain valley where I live.
Here and there
I have found a surface opening
but only to
stressted pupal skin — the butterfly
Is there a word for me in a grain
Because we cannot know the truth
should we be content
only with what is true enough
to get along with? Give me
a sign of the size of your heart
to intrude, crystallize, metamorphose
human minerals that won’t mix.
EXCUSING MYSELF AT BUCHENWALD
on barbed wire
day after day
2. Barbed Wire
Call it sleep, call it waking:
Sun, you mark off my face from sour air.
I lift for my share, I hold back,
so many taking.
We too grow less and less. Therefore,
we know we are. Our questions
look back at us like eyes in a picture
tirelessly oepn to their expression.
Sunrise, sunset. Which is which?
Does it matter? What is truly lasting
cannot be forever unknown.
Once I was in a garden, crossing roses.
Out strode these elephantine aphids.
We are stench, the rotting soggy fragrance
of autumn leaves. When autumn is choreographer.
all a leaf en pointe can do is fall.
In the thinning light
we dwindle together, jostling words
to move right in our mind.
We lose force, we wear out.
Morning opens our eyes, darkens our soul.
did God say Let it be so he could suffer with us?
Can the divine unburden the divine?
There is no more to have: words too baffling
to utter, prayer too heavy to lift.
Oh, for the influx of warmth to our wounds!
Sun, send me your meager regards.
Let me not let go of you.
Let me not let go of him.
3. Cadmium Yellow
People of Promise
you sought the sun
for more warmth than it had to give.
You knew it was dying, not in flames,
but in icy cold.
Did you think your keepers
had to one day, any day now
had to come to their senses?
I saw you on a retrospective,
beaten from ships.
First thing on Cyprus
you set up Hebrew schools.
I wish I could daven with you.
I wish I could share the word
in its holy tongue,
the motion, the rapture
starred in cadmium yellow,
weightless as Chagall —
all I am missing out on —
so beautiful the thing itself,
history so maddening.
I'm crossing on a destroyed map
of the world, a tumble
of heaped, uprisen rock.
My sneakers have no traction on crevices.
My legs lock in ledges
like a cricket caught in the floorboards.
Every rock I hit hits me,
a dark angel of danger promising worse,
my ligaments and tissues in rags.
A glimpse, still too far off to tell.
Where uncertainty is so palpably the rule,
is light playing tricks on me,
shining out on the surface of rock
the idea that possesses me, a bit of trail,
dust stacked on dust, and little stones,
the way to where those who have taken it
into the summit's wide range were happy?
My body surges in a spontaneous cadenza.
I leap like a dancer touching
on strong ankles, in sweet reason,
a real place ahead of time.
Never anything so beautiful in the faint
drone of nature as that moving refuge,
now visible, now hidden,
so healing as those pulsations of gravel,
magenta, yellow, violet.
I catch my breath, both roads taken, underfoot proved with a deep sigh.
First the risk and then the risk.
What is there left? Now I know.
CATCHING THE GOOD DREAM
A dream slips over my head
and I am dressed for meeting.
In endowed space, at the threshold
of time no-time, I have a clear sight
of faces I know intimately,
whose features I could not describe.
And someone I take to be myself.
I don’t bring up remorse
for what was left undone.
They don’t tell me
how it is with them now.
Venues change abruptly.
Sequences make no sense.
In locked-in light that will out,
we talk naturally, easily,
interesting to each other, faces
softly sculptured to the constancy
On waking, the life between us
bonus of another life,
my mother’s laugh.
LISTENING TO LISZT
The tide comes in on black and white keys.
In the likeness of one who moved
heaven and earth and man
St. Francis puts the risen crests
to the living tissues of his foot
and is brisked across.
What is fact and what is only lovely?
Facts vanish into the wings
like a dancer, bows over and done with,
like the small decisions they are.
You can sum facts up accurately
as on an abacus and never arrive
at the holding truth of legend —
the truth of the past remembered right.
The tide comes in on boisterous winds
of fear and doubt. Here I am,
an organism (it is said)
of carbon and nitrogen compounded
over unthinkable eons. Here I am,
called to the yielding floor of steep water.
What better effects of weightlessness?
I make my way to an inland sea
like dew on a rose’s red, upheld.
SOMETHING IS BEING OVERLOOKED
(Columbine High School, Littleton, CO, April, 1999)
They wrote the script and staged it.
They supplied the props, themselves
the principals in the drama.
We admire creators, don’t we?
We admire Renaissance types.
They planned, bought, assembled, savored
the makings of their major military operation.
They were younger than Alexander
when they had their first success.
We admire action, don’t we?
We admire heroes.
They were achievers, clearly,
famous before they reached twenty.
They made the cover of Time
and are talked about worldwide.
For they are celebrities, aren’t they?
We admire celebrities.
They took their lives grandly
as befitted great powers.
They will live on, cultified, glorified,
for they are young gods, aren’t they?
Fresh new gods.
Yes, April is the cruellest month
for the handwork of those artisans.
I sit in this meadow, the height again
of the child I was, standing tall
as the daisies and purple penstemon
brushing my face. A butterfly
makes its way up the way down.
A black bee bumbles. Every moment
has their alighting in it.
What is possible becomes what is.
The sky gives its warm blue hint
of a warmer thought. Not infinity —
infinity goes nowhere. I mean forever,
the time the sky puts in my head
to catch light by before the clock resumes.
What of wounds that fester, never heal?
The oboe’s faultless A
tunes them out so purely
the whole orchestra abides by its say.
The wind counts the green pulses of grass
with my own. Suddenly the sky
is ablaze with clarion-like tones
of orange overwrought as an opera,
but thrilling. This fiction of sunset.
What a dramatic truth it tells as it streams
across the sky like one aria after another —
I blossom Indian paintbrush red.
And while I am a child again
long as I can
I shall keep the sun from going down.
IN THE TUSCAN HILLS
I am in water color view of the abbey
Charlemagne promised God he would build
if he waved the epidemic away. Celestial
prospect he needed most for life.
A light breeze leafs my hair.
Head and heart fit together
like a wedding ring set.
In the soft warm duskiness of distance
Sant’Antimo outlines itself, treasure
of the field. Does it know
what a beauty it is? The light
is leaving its surface, it gives off
a sheen from the light within.
Is the idea less real than the outer
form it took from a prayer of thanks?
It shifts shape in time and density,
the impression of the likeness
of a shadow in shadowy relief.
Virginia Woolf would call it
This incomplete crossing: inexhaustible
rest of the story, meaning almost
making it to where I am. This silence,
the thing itself in the thing it is.
I am wrapped in breezes soft as buckskin,
all my bones in a gaze.
Hope is the thing with feathers
Emily Dickinson fascicled upstairs
as 20,000 birdsongs filled the air
with futile futile futile.
Over the years I too
buoyed up, let down
rounding the years on
the feathers of good hope.
Hope is a drudge whose broom
now and then breaks out a blossom,
is a tiny flower of the tundra
that survives the fiercest winters,
is 2,000 birdsongs, or 2000, or 20
or even 2 pitching their true music
against the 20,000 —
not so not so not so.
VENTURE INTO THE INTERIOR
depends on what
you mean by memory --
in translation, Remembrance of
own words, In Search
of Time Lost. The intent
is to salvage in the present
from the present,
winding through the present
as the past is recovered from
and unstill at
his bed, detail on detail
like garden tools
lost in grass, suddenly
in plain view the very day you
off fame, they planned
so well for video,
they saw and heard the whole shebang
“all a mother
could ask for” – innocents,
some dead, some maimed for life, I share
I shall never
stop teaching: “To create/
Is greater than created to
you with massive
force. It sustains you with
the sun's wealth of warmth the rest of
Out of sight, they return.
They have to: in the beginning
forget all time. Eve to
Adam, Adam to God, I to
AMERICA, THE DEVASTATION
September 11, 2001
Great steel supports crash.
Fires rage outside and in.
Blood blossoms in concrete.
Once I thought all wars are
civil wars because all men
are brothers, are they not?
Once I thought worldwide peace
would give people freedom
to choose from the infinite
possibilities of life;
freedom from hate absorbed
in the womb, taught since birth;
freedom to pledge themselves
in good's way instead of harm's.
I saw both sides of the street
in spring join under a lofty
canopy of green, and thought
Why can't every soul
make its way beneath in
the vital need to live
in each other's worth?
I pull the curtain ropes to morning,
hands lifted in prayer,
head bowed in grief,
foot pointed to the mark.
There is only one God, I agree,
but oh, you masters of deceit
Satan is not he!
SEPTEMBER 11, 2001
The leaves fell early, and I cannot write
Of those who danced at death with such delight
In their descent. I have the shock and horror
Of Milton at the Piedmont massacre.
He made of his stunned silence holy sound
As martyred blood and ash fell to the ground.
I cannot write and yet I have the grief,
The long sob, the Einfühlung without relief.
I cannot write by day so words slip through
At night. I turn by day from vivid view
Of slaughter. I cannot write, I cannot write
Of those who danced at death with such delight.
I cannot write. I stay and yet I leave:
After the cries, the whispers of the grave.
AS REMBRANDT WOULD HAVE PAINTED HIM
September 20, 2001
He has the integrity of a Guarneri violin.
The pitch of his life is true pitch,
the truest health. He will hold out
against the catch-alls, the alternatives
without root or branch, the guidance
of what's in, what's out. He will sound
his instrument along the faultline under
the world's atrocities and break them up.
Instead of calling everything a mystery
(because everything is),
in the wingspan of spirit he'll move
with others like him of his choice,
to the power of the still moment,
the guidance of the steady light of God.
His quality is unimpeachable.
He will count the few with the many
killed by leaders who have no vision
for their people, only the vanity
of their own ruthless command.
He is more than a network of cells,
waystations receiving coded cargoes
of blood for the body. Charisma is not
his goal, nor intrigue his game.
He is a plain spoken man of honor,
which in terms of that rarity,
a Guarnerius, is flesh grained with wood
absolutely right for its purpose.
He weighs in at 999.9 fine gold –
bush that burns and is not consumed
by foolish voices from within
or brutish acts from without.
My modern mind takes an old course of right,
Its passage swift through filigrees of space
To destination PEACE it keeps in sight
In spite of questions flaunted in my face:
Can man become the best in him to be?
Can he give hate up and arms’ latest race
Despite his nature and his history?
The mark as I move moves from me, a star
Where war no longer is reality.
My dream of earth-wide brotherhood is far
From possible till all men make the leap,
Their shackles stripped, their purpose singular.
Meanwhile I join my country now at war:
Peace like all good things must be fought for.
INVITATION TO THE DANCE
Come out of your caves!
Your back needs straightening
and strengthening after so long crouching.
Your heart needs much repair
after so long attuned to hate.
Let me teach you the tango, that
of beauty and order and guided love.
First I would let you practice alone.
I’d have you take the basic
8-beat step, hands raised
as if someone were in them,
and I would count
as I made the turns myself.
Your hand of death in my living hand,
face to face
eye to eye
we would honor correctness.
We would take 8 in 16 beats
over and over
till hand in hand,
face to face
eye to eye
you saw in my eye
the thousands of hands
you cruelly struck from yours.
And when the sad violins
and the exuberant piano
ceased their just and deep avowals
of the sacredness of caring,
and still you could not bring yourself
I would have you stand alone again,
with raised arms
as if you held the world in them
and eye to eye with the world,
you’d speak on the wide screen
as one who has profited by a
single lesson enough to say
to women with as yet unborn children:
Teach them to tango.
Teach them harmony.
Harmony of one to one.
Harmony of discipline and courtesy.
One to one to all.
Teach them in the womb.
Born is too late.
Stamp before you start.
hosts the morning
paper, cellophane wrapped.
Dewdrops refresh fire-scarred walls, glass
the way for a
whole new crop of owners,
headlines tolling the latest lives
on a winding
lane at town's edge, I ran
ahead of mother wheeling the
for her dress. I go by
bus now through shattered streets. If I
beside me of
their terrible fear of
my hand offering daisies and
A 9/11 Follow up
How good to exchange my bed for the patio!
Aren’t you glad to be visitng outdoors
at last? If the sunshine bothers you,
move closer to me. In the soft June breeze
the leaves are letting just enough
light through to be gentle on my face.
Thank you, Jean, for the violets.
You know they are my favorite.
How expressive their beautiful little faces!
I read somewhere in their own language
they are saying “I return your love.”
And that is what I say to you.
I’ve also read some violets never open
like the others, but commune with
themselves, fertilize themselves, bear
closed buds. My jaw has kept me reticent
so long, I see it as the weakness
by which I become stronger.
Near death. Leaves know it well,
losing their living greens.
It’s hard to believe they are not
in pain, their coloring the bright flames
I fought the pain, bandaged tight.
Is it such a bad thing to be sewed in
with the soul? I found good laid up there,
peace of mind that sustained me in my wars.
Now the burns have left me feeling
a glow in my face.
Jean, dear, do not look at me like that!
WITH MALICE TOWARD NONE
1. Something like a Fact
I clear cones, twigs, dry grass
and find spring’s first violet in
my silent love,
and answers with its own
voice the words I wear away in my
my face with a
box cutter; others like
the violet say “I return
2. In the Margins of Error
war be holy
but to unholy men
who conceive God as excelling
3. Aspects of Hate
an end to war,
to stop the flow of hate,
to make the stubborn care enough
respect and friend
are peerless icons of
human relationships. Oh world,
of the word peace,
let me know when you have
a constructive, workable plan –
risks, tough going for the
harrowed foot that responds with soul,
perfect and more
perfect strategies, with
not a mile motivated by
leader spells peace
right, and you wrong, making
a shallows of the word with your
be honest to
back off from a world that
loves sounding its own hate more than
with all my friendly heart
am unworthy of forgiveness,
kindly judged for
shame and guilt and firmness
behind the few glow words in these
MANGROVES AND OTHER MATTERS
A mangrove is its own multiplication table –
Arms from its trunk, arms from its branches; more
arms than a monkey has, agile to seize
and dangle secure; or all the Hindu gods
Together. A growth turns reef, reefs multiply,
Islands of mangroves endlessly repeat
Their mortal business, endlessly self-immersed,
Self-rooted and self-rooting in occupied space,
Their identity assured among dead leaves,
Their preparation undaunted. Perhaps a fish
Or two caught in the fronds, but for that, so slight,
It goes on without remission, getting and begetting,
The suckled their own suckling, spent and spending,
Not the world, but ourselves too much with us.
WORDS FOR NO WORDS
Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity. -- Eccl. 9:9
You are crossed in wires,
wires you hate, artifices of survival.
A needle pierces your wrist to my heart.
You are bleeding on the sheet.
The nurses are running.
You are breathing hard.
Life threw rocks at us by the hundreds,
but we held kitchen glass to our lips
and called them champagne bubbles.
Some moments rubbed gall-raw. Some,
were lovely as a high mountain meadow,
purple lupines and white daisies
to our knees.
You are in hiding from me like psalm
numbers behind church columns.
Your eyes are closed. You cannot
speak, they cannot speak for you.
How neatly fiction makes ends meet,
completes a life in last conversations:
Lear with his daughter, Gloucester, his son.
There was time for all that was not spoken,
and for love to assert itself again.
Your hand reaches out suddenly,
with all the force of leaving
grips mine. The warmth of my hand
diminishes as yours does.
You slip away like a boat from thickets
of trees to the path the water makes
for it. Fiction offends.
Yet never could I call life vanity.
It was so good to have.
use my time-space
like an angel – never
putting ego in compassion,
in hover-reach, keeping
in touch with the tried-true silenced,
to harvest the
West’s great abstractions, a
bullet-proof vest for books under
THIS MOMENT NOW
Genesis begins with B.
You cannot start with A
because A is a first thing,
and first things we cannot tell.
B answers for that wonderful harmony
of heaven and earth, man and creator,
that mystic interval out of time
that lingers in time
and the telling of what we can.
Genesis starts day with evening.
Day was not even dawn. Day passes
through night to be brought in
like a bride in white clouds
glistening with the prime within:
the high spirits of flaming red,
the steadying momentum of golden yellow.
Morning glories under a blue and bluer sky
catch the wedding bouquet.
So time is always beginning,
time is always creating,
day into night, night into day,
book and clay, clay and book.
In day's fullness much comes to light
and much comes of it. And much may.
But day only ends in B again,
and now is forever, moment to moment
without end because of
last things too we cannot tell.
HOW I CAME TO KNOW ALL I NEED TO KNOW
I gave up on man-made theories,
facts unstable as weather forecasts
momentarily subject to revision,
when usable on the information exchange
of no more value as knowledge
than the chatter of a mountain creek
to the hikers alongside.
I struggled with the staggering
possibilities of creation,
distancing myself from hydrogen origins
to relive the 6th day of that
exhausting Week, that long day when we
came last, after the land creatures,
a mysterious hiatus between us
to make all the difference.
Morning brought legends and narratives
whose blunt and beautiful words
from another time and language
spoke to the inner glow
they had generated –
illuminations like a mountain lake
clear blue as the sky is
on a calm midsummer day, inviting
contemplation of its lapis depths,
given truths like a handful of stones,
to mark the place where I was left bereft
and would return to again and again.
the house for work
this early morning, I
took birdsong for snow lightly in song. All
sang though I was
inside. On the way home
it was scarcely to be heard for the noise
bus. But I heard.
Later it lay mounded
in its nest of moonlight, the snow it was.
Some make lies of wings, reject unaided
flight over incalculable miles
but I say
Space bends for Einstein, not angels.
space stands straight to straightaway.
“Here I am. Send me.”
Some deny inerrant arrivals right on time
originating out of this world
but I say
Time bends for physics, not angels.
passage is direct as the finger of God
on the Sistine ceiling.
When the clear crisp autumn day
whipped me white in snow to my hips
and sank the trail from sight
and made every floundering step I took
a risk of the cliff’s edge,
Suddenly a great peace came over me.
I was lifted in lightness as if I slept
and in lightness swiftly smoothly surely
Some say a blizzard draped me.
Some say Mountain Rescue found me.
Some say I was lucky not to lose
fingers or toes to hypothermia
but I say
Oh my friends, gossamer is warm.
I huddle, I stretch,
I wave my arms, kick my legs.
Cold electrodes, can you carry the tune
as half-awake, I intone
like those nodding men at Jerusalem wall
anthems from the marrow of their bones?
Machine brimming with electrical accounts
of my double dark to steel,
wagging, jerking, conducting
my polyautograph black on white,
have you any way of arching
a rainbow over my dreams?
Jackhammer stylus, zigzagging lined paper,
pressing on with pieces of my sleep,
making a narrative
of this night’s guest’s thrashing,
what ceaseless conversations
I have with God
will you leave out of the text?
LARK MY MENTOR
Trying to make the black and white keys
fly as they sing, I stop to listen.
The window is open. A lark
is sending up his song
ahead of himself from his nest in grass:
cadence tiny, assured, complete.
He rises in music of his own making,
inserting a slight variation
for the flowers below
as he passes on the wind
into the deep drifts of time and space.
What words? What prophecy?
Fainter. Fainter. Still.
Did he hear me struggle with sound-alikes
for that exquisite measure
it took him only once to say?
Lark, I shall never be satisfied
till I am part of your world
and you mine!
I watch the wind
to every obstacle
till nothing's left in sight
snow the Christo of my street
that fits every house
under one long blanket coat
with enough left over
to billow and swell in air,
of a whiteness I would have sworn to
thinking I have the final word on snow,
but what I see is morning dark,
The camps were an architect's dream
of the simplest means
for a grand design, adjusting
the heavy duty plan of the universe
to the delicate subtleties
How to save a bullet when shooting two?
Let the mother hold her baby so.
The buildings were showcases
of efficiency and high modern.
The barbed wire was hung
with portraits of selected residents,
faces lifted to sun in early light,
sun so drained, faces so emaciated,
the fine detail of fleshtones
left out to save paint.
Only yesterday. And still
the artists keep coming.
So many. So open now.
So soon the world to be savaged again,
never in theirs, another's heart pounding.
never lose sight
of the secrets. They are
the universe. So much to it!
A FEW WORDS
every breath is
an angel; with angels, their every word is hineni –
may I serve you
all my life, flying a little lower than angels, a
fuss about the
weather – rain or clearing,
in the desert street now blooming
first eyeball lies
waiting to be picked up
for body and soul burial
SCHUBERT'S "UNFINISHED SYMPHONY"
dark night of pain,
fear, regrets, and sorrows, the soul emerges singing as
hurt but shone on
leading beautiful, strong,
to a repeat -- how could there be
Our love of patterns proves we were created.
Designs complex or simple tell us so.
We are by Genesis illuminated,
By geometry and compass antedated.
Not for us the random embryo.
Our love of patterns proves we were created,
From curves and angles never separated
Colors give austerity a glow.
We are by Genesis illuminated,
Our origin with reverence narrated.
To poetry of ancient ink we owe
Our love of patterns, proof we were created
And with a serious purpose elevated
Into a vaster design than we can know.
We are by Genesis illuminated,
Its matchless words draw us from the debated:
The Big Bang guess is not our way to go.
Our love of patterns proves we were created.
We are by Genesis illuminated.