November hymnal (22)
So, after gratitude: the third part of autumn.
Questions without punctuation
Like love poems which will find answers only
When they reach the wrong person
In another language. Then the late slant
Of sun appears to end a sentence
Without words. No hope of early release.
The moon is balanced on the sky’s highest
Tent pole, just above the bear on the bicycle.
But nobody sees the bicycle. Suddenly
In the night’s back third we’re all up there
Clutching the ring to our parachutes
In the diffident cold, like all the stars
And no less courageous for it, our panic
Making a shape for strangers
Holding hands below.
November hymnal (21)
Late at night, the moon starting over.
Down the stairs the piano shines quietly
Under a stained glass lampshade.
Where leaves and boughs are a single shape
Connecting the trunks which disappear into darkness.
Like music is a single sealed vessel
Coming through the clouds the moon plays its phrase
in a lost key descending the sky’s scales.
Every season is within it: fruit, seed, husk, flower
Forgotten. In the dark mirror on the piano
Beyond the owl’s shadow the edges of sheet
Music shine. Starting over, before I unsnap
The accordion of thanksgiving, I’ll sleep.
November hymnal (20)
Memories of jumping in leaf piles
Are like the action of jumping
Into memory: edged shapes so light
The sharp pleasant scent
Composing myself amid total
Decomposition (meanwhile late
Fall’s upside down spring leaves
Reach the canopy of ground
And ever so slowly begin
The ascension to crown the roots)
November hymnal (19)
After freezing rain, the slow burn continues.
Ice burns, air burns. Morning mist clarifies
Into a river’s moving lens.
Sliding faster than fire.
This will always be the month of my unbecoming.
November burnishes the mind’s naked bark
As the details drift down to a grass blade’s slow spark.
The recent past dead at your feet but covering
Everything. There is no forgetting
No remembering only
November containing everything
Changing past changed future.
And on the ground the hovering
Vulture’s static shadow.
November hymnal (18)
Mid-November dusk cut short its set.
The cloud curtain did not part for an encore.
The moon crawled up it like a bug,
Marmorated like the shield shaped insects
We removed from my son’s curtain hours
Earlier, tossing them carefully out the window
And watching them buzz into flight.
Now, curtain and window and screen thrown open,
We climbed out to the roof of the porch
And watched marbled imperceptible motion of the moon,
Like an insect that came all the way from Korea
To barely move on a blue curtain.
So much of the world seems that still
While changing things faster than we can notice.
For just a minute we sat still, too. It was my son’s first time
on the outside of the structure of things. He tallied
It up: angle of the roof, texture of the tar shingles, scent
Of the colorless night and when he said This would be
A great place to write I knew he meant everywhere just
outside structure, where things come a long way to seem still.
November hymnal (17)
The night ice is a still wind.
Rips strong branches off trees
after the hours of violent silence.
Those remaining hold their tears
until the sun tells them it’s safe
and when they are done crying
there is no sign of what tore
them apart and exposed heart-
wood to the elements and circumstantial
invaders of life. Some love is like that.
The sudden split of solid direction,
the feathered slow motion crash,
the morning sunnier
and milder than anyone thought.
November hymnal (16)
October has its world afire
April the sudden bloom
May the maples set up their tents
knowing what they know
August the endless afternoons
January the hangover welcoming
the long haul ahead of March’s late snow
after February stiff arms you with winter
July the curling surf and sunburn and
the sweet magnitude of June
Oh June. September somehow
seems all seasons at once
except December’s definitive wince
But this month where nothing grows
or is saved nothing fully revealed save
absence absence of warmth absence of ice
In this space where there is nothing
To remember we remember gratitude