30 June 1998 | Fiction, poetry


Sometimes the river that gave birth to me
Whispers in my ear. And while the harsh hand
Of day keeps at me, my river
Sounds like birds walking on the leaves,
And the waters speak to me in Finnish:
Ikävä on olla kartanolla –
I am alone and waiting in the yard….

The darkling thrush

Always answers are at hand,
flight’s body above sere grass,
or the slow feet of the blind
working sun white mysteries
of sod, roots, trunks of ash;

the neutral winds
are alive enough
to spin in milliseconds
exact things
lifted into words.

All birds a-wing
know the bordered fields
of sightlessness, those places
which shape
my pond edged steps:

their music draws across the lawns
like ghosting stars.


The glory of chance
and the hazard of death
met one another
on a windy street –

two rain shadows,
with the papery, blue faces
of old money –

their cloaks
like palpitant wings,
angels of riot
under winter poplars.

They saw, each to each,
the dark-tongued
and unthreaded
pigments of philos –

knowing how indecorous it was,
love, shining like that
in the other’s face –
while somewhere in the trees

the crows went fighting
over a starling’s eye.
Two kinsmen in rain –
rain to snow.


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