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EUROPE 1999

 

                   

 

 

FINISHED INDEX

 

A…

A DROP OF WAX

AFTER A VISIT TO AREZZO

 

D…

DANTE AND MOSES

 

I…

I ATE AN EGG AS THICK AS MEAT

IL PARADISO/ITALIA

 

R…

REMEMBRANCES OF ITALY

 

T…

There are rewards issuing from the wind

 

7 POEMS

LAST POEM: DANTE AND MOSES

 

 

                              May 10th 1999 – France

 

                              A DROP OF WAX

 

                              A drop of candle wax

                              fell on my watch today

                              and I can't tell what time it is

                              except that everything is very old.

                              I'm in France again, and all the world

                              is full of wonder:

                              from the chicken clucking in the grass

                              to the ease of country wine;

                              from fumbling hands upon a goat's udder

                              to the story-book castle on the hill.

                              I saw a countrywoman's face

                              that was as kind as milk.

                              I met an English lad who spoke

                              impeccable French.

                              I'm living amidst hazel nuts

                              and deep garden grasses.

                              The stars here are the same

                              as in the Oregon sky.

                              That's an amazement to me

                              for all else has changed.

                              My heart is emerging from deep dreaming

                              into a passionate awareness

                              of adventure.

                              This is the world of my soul

                              where spirit intermingles with my body's

                              emotions.

                              This is the place I heard an angel's voice

                              and the people love a poet and his stories.

                              How can I express the wonder except through

                              thankfulness, and words,

                              and to let pass through me

                              this spirit that caresses

                              elegant trees with wind,

                              that puts songs in bird’s beaks

                              this moon in that sky

                              and a sweet silver light

                              in my own eyes.

 

                             

                                      I ATE AN EGG AS THICK AS MEAT

 

                              I ate an egg as thick as meat

                              with yoke the color of poppy seeds

                              when the pollen has fallen

                              thick on the ground

                              like a ring of fire spread around.

                              It's shell was tough; it's taste was sweet:

                              I ate an egg as thick as meat.

 

                              -------------------------

 

                              A place where one could grow a poetic soul.

 

                              Candle-light; white walls;

                              old wooden windows, old wooden doors;

                              old mirrors, old stairs, old keys.

 

                              The stately trees, the plants;

                              the interwoven lace of leaves.

                              Even on gray days the land shines

                              with beauty.

 

                              In the green glades of France.

 

                   

 

AFTER A VISIT TO AREZZO

 

                    I want to carry the world with me

                    I want to carry this village

                    like a varied meal

                    waiting for an eater:

                    from a pine cone in a specific park,

                    to a fountain gazed upon by a billion eyes

                    through countless centuries.

                    Love expands, fear contracts.

                    Can it be said simpler?

                    The spirit moves upon the dreams of men

                    and carries the heart

                    through the essence of ancient frescos

                    into the freshness of winter streams.

                    The mind freezes and turns inward

                    upon the cold core of fear

                    as the world falls away

                    in countless conspiracies.

                    An old priest paid me the complement

                    of a warm smile,

                    sensing the sound of birds

                    in my foot beats.

                    An old women wept

                    at a few coins dropped in her purse

                    and thanked Madonna for a child

                    that stood behind me,

                                 hidden in my shadows,

                    so I couldn't see

                    it's beautiful face.

                  

 

 

 

                   There are rewards issuing from the wind

 

                   There are rewards issuing from the wind

                    as the circles of the world

                    grow large and thin

                    while the radiant child jumps up then in

                    and disappears through reflections.

 

 

 

 

 

                    REMEMBRANCES OF ITALY

 

                    Here is the famous, art filled square

                    were they made a torch of Savonarola's hair

                    and Israel's David long stood at ease

                    with that monstrous man called Hercules.

                    Here, on a scale minute and grand

                    is an art-rich, robust, confusing land.

                    It’s hunter's guns and farmer's shears

                    that mark the rhythm of the years

                    where cricket’s songs and wild bird's beat

                    meld with the sounds of caw and bleat.

                    Here, Ivo the farmer daily keeps

                    watch upon his scattered sheep,

                    and a 1,000 candles in the night

                    have bathed my soul with milky light:

                    a tender light which often kills

                    pure white moths which have no frills;

                    and olive trees each slowly say

                    their olive oil's slippery ways.

                    Where are the Romans, where the Goths?

                    Gone the way of fragile moths,

                    for the resinous flame of everyday

                    burnt each empire clean away

                    while Giotto, lost in candled light,

                    painted his mind from black to white,

                    and Michelangelo, all alone,

                    carved his soul in Carrera stone...

                    while Fra Angelico became a saint

                    by carressing God in colored paint

                    and Bernini built on Peter's bones

                    a new Cesar's brazen throne.

                    Oh, Micaleangelo, create again

                    the sacred family with your hand;

                    come Botticelli, spatter your graces

                    in a thousand perfect angelic faces;

                    and St. Francis, with your burning eyes,

                    run through this night with fireflies

                    where a 1,000 years of prayers and moans

                    have soaked into San Antimo's stones,

                    and an island of Lilies floats on the sea

                    like a dream of God that sings to me

                    while the sun sinks deep in a mist of gold

                    like visions in stories Dante told.

 

 

 

                                       

                   

 

                    8/16/99

 

                    IL PARADISO/ITALIA

 

                    For three months I've been living

                    under the summer scorching Italian sun.

                    Three months with the crickets and the krills;

                    three months offering my ankles to invisible 

                    mosquitoes;

                    three months alone and open

                    drinking summer into my belly

                    as if it were a sweet drink

                    of peaches and carnations.

                    I've sought relief from the heat

                    in the naked expanses of beaches:

                    the “mare” (that sea-soaked place),

                    then walked for days through furnaced cities

                    with sea salt sucking moister from my skin.

                    The wind has been a savior.

                    It has brought a little cherry popsicle relief.

                    The grasshoppers are slowly eating my tent…

                    I dreamt of a grasshopper king the other night

                    as I lay under a glistening sky.

                    In spring I lived with nightingales and fireflies.

                    Now, only the hardiest creatures remain:

                    the ants, the grasshoppers, the giant flies.

                    Even the spiders have melted away.

                    Perhaps it's good that it is so:

                    less creatures to battle for the swollen figs which

                    are spilling out their sweetness.

                    I'm full of hay. My skin is brown

                    and I’m happy. I don't think much:

                    just listen to the crickets and the krills

                    and pray without words.

 

 

 

 

 

9/2/99

 

DANTE AND MOSES

 

Why do poet’s write?

Perhaps to wake up from the night;

to put their little shoes of fragile lace on;

to let their minds move with words

like a tango dancer, sensuous

and silky with song.

I write for the sake of joy—

that secret delight in living;

and for that passion which wrestles with all

that keeps one from breathing

the blue sky so deeply into your lungs

that your toes flair  red like roses.

And I write for color:

that splash of thought,

that wild smear of paint

in the bare breast

as the mind opens

through the movement of words;

or relaxes into silent  rivers,

savoring the passion of life—

or approaching the root impulse

of a poem, longs for the naked holy

as Dante hovered near Beatrice,

or as Moses, high on the hills of Moab,

gazed through blue haze

across the unattainable Jordan.

 

 

 

 

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