Monday, July 09, 2012

Shapes in the Salt Grass

That haunted Paradise, spectral on all sides.
The wash of a river advancing over the fields.
Steadying the hillside, a great hand of fog.

Angels fall like ashes
over a wasteland of daffodils. Nothing appears on the horizon
but a gash in the sky that looks like the sun.
A rook repeats its chips of glass
between the unknown tongues.

Perhaps the memory of an old hole
dynamited in an antique chest
before the last purposes found rest
remains, a stain in the vestibule,
a piece of starlight folded like paper
and pressed between two fingers like an end of thread.
But the mantra of remembering goes quietly flat.

Where are you, landscape that cradled me?
Are you nowhere, a frame of flat designs
in a corner of a thalamus,
a deception, a miracle, an endlessly ruminating cud,
a hovel in lilacs, a castle in flames,
a spoonful of mud, the majesty of a god?

A Cousin in His Tower

"Love may be my motto,
but evil was my muse.
The falling winter
had no path
to a deeper darkness
than mine.
I rejoice in a regiment of cloud banks
worrying the horizon, and the wintry tongue
between the ewer and its sagely blank
plate. Oh, I like dogs, children,
birdsong tufted between the rafters
in the morning, and a ripe peach.
Ataraxy, apatheia, night, emptiness
make between them much sweetness.
A demijohn of tears
with which I rinse my palate,
then I am gone, from the window,
like solitary laughter.
Love may be my motto,
but an evil imagination gave me power.
Pride, arrogance, the sovereign Self:
Ego kept me alive."
After Reading an Article About How the Brain Creates What We Call Reality

My dearest sister -

My brain - you see - is the World -
but the World I see - is my Brain -
Fantasy my Reality -
Reality - my Dream -

sublimest dream where You
are wrought - a Marvelous Hero
and the unbounded world - is Paradise -
flowering behind the angels bearing fiery swords - of your eyes.

(I have taken the world's Evil
and burned it down - to Ash -
see the smudge - of Gray on my Palm -
look closely while I blow it - away)

- Emily

Wednesday, July 04, 2012


An old man kneels
in front of a stone.

Once I was famous,
forgotten now,
handsome once,
ugly now,
alpha once,
feeble now,
wealthy once,
a poor man now—

but you loved me
from sun to sun,
and they were kind
whatever the moon,
and food and wine
are rich on my tongue,
and every summer
lilacs bloom.

I have lost
all I won.
I have no trophy
brighter than the sun,
no applause
louder than birdsong.

Still, soothing
it is to know
that winning what most
will never know,
drunk on the shouts
of the applauding crowds,
metaled, victorious,
exalted, alone,
is beautiful, is fine, is very fine,
yet small,
a crumb of sweetness
that falls from the table
like a crushed star,
almost nothing at all.

The day I was born,
the day I die,
I lose the same world
that I won.
And you I won—
it was very sweet.
Then you I lost.
And where is the triumph
in that defeat?

Winning was nothing,
nothing at all.
The only gift
that mattered here
was the gift we all
were given here.
We make of it
what we can, or cannot.
From wind to wind,
you came, you went.
From same to same,
I went, and came.

The old man
bends to the stone
and kisses the carved letters of the name.