Tag Archives: ammons

November hymnal (28) / A Memorable Fancy (for Wm. Blake and A.R. Ammons)

November hymnal (28) / A Memorable Fancy (for Wm. Blake and A.R. Ammons)

As I was walking with the rain along the gutter
Nudging sodden leaves over to clear a way

Or arranging wind-sticks parallel to the stream
To frame water’s efficiency, I heard a thump and saw

November’s angel crouching on the curb.
I ignored him, flicking an oak leaf on its back

To watch it skry the secrets of the surface picking
Up speed but kept him in the corner of my eye

Like you do a wasp off the end of summer’s porch.
His wings were sewn of fallen black walnut twigs

His eyes empty walnut husks his oily tears black
His muddy shield a yard sign for the side that lost

Election, limbs swelling of green willow torn tender by a storm
And twined useless for winter burning. Look I said without looking

Myself at him how the fallen is transfigured into
This slender stream of mourning how every failed

Flight gives it sinew and speed. The angel had a word
But could not with a tongue of apple core spit it out

And I did not want a word with him: still I figured he meant
Well enough though a few of his feet washed away

In the strengthening rain river and I kept to the far side
Of the runoff thinking even God could not cross live water

Without a boat or an invitation or swim lessons at the Y
First: turkey vultures of which there are many in this valley

Won’t eat a living thing and my faith shambling beside me
One wing cocked like a wound’s stitches on the sky still

Had at least a threat or curse left in him but the Black
Vulture will pick at what’s weak and having seen if it puts

Up a fight or bares its belly dig in before the blessing:
The water was a streetside torrent the width of a car tire

And there came a flapping I felt more than heard
And twigs like tiny logs coursed by me in the stream

And the month clicked its beak and pieces of black
Husk I watched slide downstream toward December.