You sleep with a dream of summer weather,
wake to the thrum of rain—roped down by rain.
Nothing out there but drop-heavy feathers of grass
and rainy air. The plastic table on the terrace
has shed three legs on its way to the garden fence.
The mountains have had the sense to disappear.
It’s the Celtic temperament—wind, then torrents, then remorse.
Glory rising like a curtain over distant water.
Old stonehouse, having steered us through the dark,
docks in a pool of shadow all its own.
That widening crack in the gloom is like good luck.
Luck, which neither you nor tomorrow can depend on.
translated by Clayton Eshleman
A bit of light that descends the springhead of a gaze
twin shadow of the eyelash and the rainbow on a face
and round about
who goes there angelically
Woman the current weather
the current weather matters little to me
my life is always ahead of a hurricane
you are the morning that swoops down on the lamp a night stone
between its teeth
you are the passage of seabirds as well
you who are the wind through the salty ipomeas of consciousness
insinuating yourself from another world
you are a dragon whose lovely color is dispersed and darkens so
as to constitute the
inevitable tenor of things
I am used to brush fires
I am used to ashen bush rats and the bronze ibis of the flame
Woman binder of the foresail gorgeous ghost
helmet of algae of eucalyptus
dawn isn't it
and in the abandon of the ribbands
very savory swimmer
In the nearby plaza, musicians would often gather.
The eternal flame was fueled by propane tank.
An old man sold chive dumplings from a rolling cart,
while another grilled skewers of paprika beef.
Male turtledoves would puff their breasts, woo-ing,
and for a few coins, we each bought an hour with
the grief puppet. It had two eyes, enough teeth,
a black tangle of something like hair or fur,
a flexible spine that ran the length of your arm.
Flick your wrist, and at the end of long rods
it raised its hands as if conducting the weather.
Tilt the other wrist, and it nodded. No effort
was ever lost on its waiting face. It never
needed a nap or was too hungry to think straight.
You could have your conversation over and over,
past dusk when old men doused their charcoal,
into rising day when they warmed their skillets.
The puppet only asked what we could answer.
Some towns had their wall, others their well;
we never gave the stupid thing a name, nor
asked the name of the woman who took our coins.
But later, we could all remember that dank felt,
and how the last of grief’s flock lifted from our chests.
Again the white blanket
The fierce teeth
of steel-framed snowshoes
bite the trail open.
Where the hardwoods stand
and rarely bend
the wind blows hard
an explosion of snow
like flour dusting
the baker in a shop
long since shuttered.
In this our post-shame century
we will reclaim
the old nouns
If it rains
we’ll say oh
If she falls
out of love
with you you’ll carry
your love on a gold plate
to the forest and bury it
in the Indian graveyard.
Pioneers do not
The sweet knees
of oxen have pressed
a path for me.
A lone chickadee
sings in the snow.
as if out of air
but surely they come
bearing what news
from the troposphere.
The sky’s shifted
and Capricorns abandon
themselves to a Sagittarian
line. I like
this weird axis.
In 23,000 years
it will become again
the same sky
the Babylonians scanned.
Sunlight scatters wild bees across a blanket
of flowering lavender. The garden
grows, visibly, in one morning—
native grasses push up, tough and lovely
as your angel’s trumpets. At midday
the weather, with bushfire breath, walks about
talking to itself. A paper wasp zooms
above smooth river pebbles. In the trees
possums lie flat on leafy branches to cool off,
the cats notice, then fall back to sleep.
This day has taken our lives to arrive.
Afternoon swings open, although
the mechanics of the sun require
the moon’s white oil. Daylight fades to twilight
streaking bottlebrush flowers with shade;
a breeze clatters in the green bamboo and shakes
its lank hair. At dinnertime, the French doors present us
with a slice of night, shining clear—
a Naples-yellow moon outlines the ridges
of the mountains—all this, neatly laid out
on the dining room table
across patches of moonlight.
You can only hunker down so long & then the wind dies
or rushes on to some other place to do its damage
& all that time you've been huddled there together
holding your breath, hoping against
wildest hope that up aboveground
nothing you love has been
hoping with a deep longing
the wind has cleared
the air &
It was a bright inviting, freely formed,
though I suppose it was I who brightened,
with an internal scattering of light,
as though weather maps were more real
than the breath of autumn.
The low colourfulness
of the broken and dying leaves
was no embrittlement
to every decided colour on the sunlighted grass
and the warm-hued wood of his door.
But with the dust descending
in the glaring white gap
my backbone pulped and I closed up
like a concertina.
His tongue was hushed as Christ’s lips
or once-red grapes permitting
each touch to spread only
when the turn of the violet comes.