Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Stillness (A cadralor)

I mistook it for a leaf, at first. Why else was it
on the ground, pale and still. Of course I came
closer, my eyes trying to sort what my mind
couldn’t quite, that this was not a leaf, it was
a goldfinch, so delicate, no sign of why it died.

When William Blake wrote “Energy is Eternal Delight”
he had the devil speak the statement. (Would he claim
other angels called stillness delight? I’d never studied
Blake the way you did, dear. All I knew was Blake, the
bravura craftsman, danced backwards on copperplate.)

The stillness of the body of the beloved, who
was once my husband. I needed to witness it, to
speak to it, his body an unravelling, no longer in
consonance with our life. We knew it would come,
the tsunami, the waves draining ahead of death.

I don’t cry much. Unless I see another’s tears
mine rarely come. My mourning wraps itself in
stillness. No pla├▒ideras need be hired—let us
sit together, let those leaves fall for a shroud,
for every wild thing that falls dead mid-breath.

Our mother star has broken through clouds, its
radiance caught by my upturned face as if I were
a sunflower. It dazzles me. All joy that was, has
been doubled, tripled, washing over me, leaving
me breathless, motionless, for a moment I’m still
in your arms. This love, as profligate as fireweed.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Golden (A cadralor)

Julian Paren, "Chanterelle mushrooms
in Rheindown Wood

Drifts of fallen elm leaves swept
up and hidden in a bin, leaching
summer light. I spilled them out,
piled the gold to make a winter’s
bed for shadbush and twinberry.

The Scythians knew the bride-price it’d take
to gain a princess. Among their gifts—a pair
of gryphons in hammered repouss├ę, ready
to seize the light with their golden claws. Did
they prick her skin when she first wore them?

The well is deep. The water’s dark. The
coin I toss to wish upon—the sun, and I
follow it down. The only way to rise and
float is to empty my pockets, but I can’t;
fingers much too numb to grasp for gold.

Love is the thing without tarnish. No, that’s
not true, love is the thing that’s ductile. Ah
no, try again, love is the thing that’s nothing
like gold? Yes, better, but still not true. Love
is what’s left, after the riffling sluice is done.

Oh, beloved, I’d lace up my boots and lace
my fingers in yours, walk beneath the fir and
the hemlock, walk into the shadows to lose
our way, to find it again lit by the light of our
kisses, by the light of golden chanterelles.


To learn more about the new poetic form, the cadralor, see Gleam.