Saturday, October 17, 2015

Sketch: Black-crowned night heron on Towhead Island

The heron stalks along the river's edge.
Deliberately, it sets its foot among
The twisting roots that rise up through the still,
Half-green, half-muddy surface of the water,
All murky in the hanging treeline's shade.
Dragonflies drift above the sunset glare;
Our heron, meanwhile, scans the water's face,
Intently looking, searching, here, then there,
Its red eyes glinting in the twilight gloom.
I sigh, and lower my binoculars.

Copyright by Ike Wassom, 2015. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Pancosmon Agathon

A is for artifice: for lies, artfully told,
for Adam, for Seth, for Abel - and Cain,

and for aurochs, archeopteryx, and all that is vanished;
B is for the ball of gold, lost in boyhood,
for amber-bright bourbon whiskey,

and fevered brains and brides with secrets.
C is for cares, for worries, unconscious, irrational,

for crustaceans, crawling through depthless caverns,
and Central Park in the celestial city.
D is for the dainty, demeaned dandelion,
for depression: the doorway to a dark wisdom,

and for damaged people - for drifters, for dreamers;
E is for elegance: demure, seductive, and effortless,

for the chilly embers of an early morning,
and earwigs, eggnogs, and epileptics.
F is for a friend, unlooked-for in a foreign land,
for flakes of snow on the first of May,

and for feasting, fighting, and fornication;
G is for geese in the sky, grey and cold,

for wet grass, green with dewdrops,
and the grievers, mistaking Christ for a gardener.
H is for Helios, the sun, hurtling through nothingness,
for the halls of Sheol, horrid and silent,

and the haze in the hills that hangs heavy in June;
I is for icicles, dripping and inching downwards,
for Id: irrational, animal impulses,
and insanity, illness, and isolation;
J is for the jade gate with its hidden jewel,
for arcane jobs and their secret jargons,

and juries and jailors and justice deferred;
K is for the key of life, and its bearded keepers,

for Heaven's high King, for his prey, the Kraken,
and unwelcome kindness from estranged kinsfolk.
L is for yellow lamplight on a lonely evening,
for my ladylove, luminous in starlight,
and for laughter, lust, and grievous longing;
M is for many-tongued mockingbird, knower of mysteries,

for memories, lost in the mind's abyss,
and the milky smell of cuddling mammals.
N is for the nautilus, adrift in nighted deeps,
for that nocturnal nowhere, the interstate netherworld,

and for 'no' and 'not' and 'never-been;'
O is for the twilight opulence of the court of Oberon,

for the far-flung orbs of outer darkness,
and orcas in the ocean shallows;
P is for the penis, honest, direct, and primal,
for the panic of Bacchus: pure madness,

and for poverty, for pain, for plenty;
Q is for the quilled serpent, Quetzalcoatl,
for Qoheleth, the Questioner,
and a querulous heart and a handful of quiet.
R is for the rest of summer's rose-tinged evenings,
for a robin, raging at his reflection,

and earthward rot and whispering rainstorms;
S is for slavery: a violence to the souls of men,
for starlings, nesting inside of streetlamps,
and for squirrels, sex, and seraphim.
T is for testosterone, the tyrant hormone,
for the tick of hands and the toll of hours,

and the taste of tears and tender caresses;
U is for unformed darkness, a universe in utero,

for √úbermensch: for ugly ideas,
and the upward pull of the utter black;
V is far vapors that rise from vents in March,
for luckless Varro's vanished legions,
and the vines on a branch and the veins in your neck;
W is for wood: uncarved, wild, and willful,

for wandering derelicts, windburnt and wizened,
and the human world gone mad: for warfare.
X is for Xanthus, choked by the murderous xenophobe,
for Xochimilco and Xerxes, the Persian,

and ecstasy, frenzy, and excess of wine;
Y is for 'yesses,' achingly yearned for in secret,

for the waste of yesteryears, yawning between us,
and youth - as brilliant as yellowest sunshine;
Z is for Ziz, hidden behind Zephyrus,
for Zebulon, the herdsman, ferocious in zealousness,
and zero: the empty zone of potential.

Copyright by Ike Wassom, 2015.  All rights reserved.