Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Iambics for the End of March

As Red winged blackbirds have made a return
From hinter haunts, Robin, that crimson cock,
Is stepping dandified through basic thoughts
Of lawn, of dandelion, of worms and dirt –
What life was back in August’s august days
Redresses later suns with longer days
And writerly thoughts become agog as herds
Amused and tilting toward the steepled cliffs
Known as Gerasene…

And so, all iambics aside, we return to the thrilling days of yesteryear – good wine, great talk and superb company.

This year, are we heading West, young(ish) men, West, to carry on our backs the “Tradita Sunt” which is Gerasene 2010?

I would like to get a consensus on making the trip to the Lickona Domicile – for planning purposes and such.

We’re looking at July 26-28 as a possible dating for the conference. I’d also like to expand the repertoire to other writers we long may have been thinking about all this long Climate-Change-Busting Winter.

I’m also looking to set up a geographically convenient speaker for the conference.

I’m also very much looking forward to it, howsoever it shapes up.

Please let me know your “writerly thoughts become agog as herds.”

(It takes a poet to quote himself with impunity!)


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

European Figwort

And I will destroy every substance
that I have made, from the face of the earth.

European figwort, like God’s heart crushed
Under evil pressure, served as stop-gaps
Repairing earth’s irruptions while men dashed
Over the moral precipice. Perhaps
Pretending to body’s voice, the soul’s ghost
Entailed abstracted figs from buttocks’ flesh,
And so no physic tends but to herbal dust.
No ends to soothe our hearts, we ache with rash
Flooding such as Noah saw – and such was
Irrigating hell itself. With furrowed brow
God damned man’s scrofulous ass of a face
Worth weathered expressions of divine disgust…
Rage receded, though; a grinning rainbow
Transplanted its prism with a promise.

Monday, March 29, 2010


And I will establish my convenant with thee,
and thou shalt enter into the ark...

Ελευθερόκοκκοι, you too belong to
Life’s garden full of thorny Greek cadence.
Enthralling sunlight, your shade’s a song to
Undo winter’s cruel doing. What radiance
Then hides beneath your shadow-arching stems?
Here, world in seed, your berry’s pithy husk
Eventually drowns in soil or, starving, trims
Relevant thorns to take the soul to task:

Old Noah knew his flooded flight from sin
Contingent on the ark-built indwelling
Of seasons. Other men became their own
Coffined coffers – their own fruit bore them down;
Concluding pride with radiance swelling
Into cataracts, man's grief wept like rain.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Dog Tooth Violet

And Cain said to the Lord:
My iniquity is greater than that I may deserve pardon.

Dog-tooth violet, your fanged petals deceive
Our eyes. You are no mourning flower – your life
Growls with raining sunlight. So we believe
That straining your deathless bloom you face the grief
Of shades. Your adder’s tongue makes its whispers
Of air, and we begin to hate the doubt
That rings with Easter bells within our prayers.
How full is flesh that cannot do without
Vanity’s violence: Abel suffered harm
In clenching jaws that Cain’s bitter love
Of self had dogged for sacrificial gains.
Like hounds that bite the blood and wilt the veins,
Empty sins’ barking guilt echoes to prove
That God's matter blooms in man’s hang-dog form.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Daphne & The Dove Tree

"God has granted me more offspring in place of Abel,"
Eve said, "because Cain slew him."

Daphne, shaded daughter, Greek fates ordained
Apollo’s rueful touch would catch up to you.
Plangent envy's plant, divinely disdained,
How victimized you were by love’s ague!

New beauty, green goodness, tragic truth
Each emerges from your soil as foreign
Dove trees do, given wing in mission earth,
Observed as Armand David would Christen:

Virtue's flowering trees, like Abel’s priested gifts,
Extend to God the first born and best kind
Taken from their fields as sweet oblations.

Required, though, was the real thing. God shrifts
Eve’s first branch in first blood of her second -
Emissaries dovetailing into nations.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Cercis & Clematis

...sin is a demon lurking at the door;
his urge is toward you, yet you can be his master.

Cercis betrays itself in lurid crimson
Every spring; this Judas tree with dry pod
Rattles out a count of coins and bones. So Cain
Commingled blood with such vegetable greed.
Inventing human sacrifice, his cities
Shone like silver pieces in a beggar’s field.

Clematis crept there too by wicker trellis,
Ligaturing serial envy’s cereal yield,
Entering our hearts along a willful path.
Mastered by green thoughts (which God forsook),
Adam’s sons murdered: these twin sins requiring
That purest flesh entwine the roots of wrath.
Inventing pilgrim roads, humans would take
Sojourn beyond rootless earthly wandering.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Black Hellebore

See! The man has become like one of us,
knowing what is good and what is bad!

Black hellebore on the garden border
Limns the dawn, the first since Eve took offense
At God and stormed out on his green order.
Cross-eyed Adam straddled the garden fence,
Knowing fauna would never draw so near
His nature after snakes had had their way.
Eve thought on those fangs; but the hell she bore
Left her confused, unable to say why
Labor's bread, birth and breath were all the pain
Endemic flesh could bear. So she sought a cure,
Bringing poison's work, a mad medicine
On Adam. Dressing him down, his creator
Ran him eastward out of Eden-town.
Eloping with Eve, he wore the hellebore.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Castor Oil Plant shall be banned from the soil that opened its mouth
to receive your brother's blood from your hand.

Castor oil plants are universal
As sin. In late 1978,
Social enemy Georgi Markov fell
To an umbrella’s tip in a London street,
Object of brotherly hate once more rehearsed,
Resurrecting Abel’s cry from the earth.
One man has taken aim again, and cursed
In act he roots his will to homicide –
Losing heaven’s harvest, he gains the world’s dirt.
Plenty of nothing stains the working hands
Leaving a cavity in a crushed heart.
Again, man the engineer looks but finds
Nothing to plan man's rest or hide the blood
That signed Cain's contract - ink that never dried.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Black Sassafras

In toil you shall eat its yield,
all the days of your life.

Black sassafras breaks new ground between stones
Like Adam cultivating his family tree
Around the weeping world. The taproot groans
In forests raining with humidity,
Knuckles down against a fallen landscape
Showing green in its wood from trunk to limb:
As death intones its dying leaf’s dry scrape
So bark and husk, singing nature’s anthem,
Some savor, substitute for cinnamon.
Australia's tree is camphor anecdote
For salvation history: its purchase
Retailed by rock, it flows with water’s increase.
A hymn of life in leaf, this substitute’s
Stuff is like savior’s blood for sinning men.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


...whatever the man called each of them
would be its name.

Amaryllis - sparkling pastoral moment
Mentioned by Virgil, full of blackened ire -
Adam first spoke your name, the last tenant
Residing where the pagan poets' fire
Yielded blossom's cameo. A brief bloom
Like Eve - your perennial petals entomb
Lacivious pride's pink-prinked nomme de plume
In Eden's own hothouse of deadly perfume.

Divided, conquered, naked, scattered seed!
Amaryllis, emblem of refulgent shame,
Consider how your roots had worked to breed
Everywhere this florid curse, our sorest need:
After selfish want had broken earth for bread,
Evening came, the eighth day. It had no name.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


“He brought them to the man to see what he would call them…”

Ἁρκτοστάφυλος cleaves the hardest tongues,
Riving body’s sound from spirit’s sense.
Call it manzanita, though, and it hangs
There honeyed with art’s apple-tang recompense.

Obtuse as Adam was, could he not see,
Steward and butler of God’s catalog,
This was his only task - to match and marry
Art and science in living analog?

Put that way, each laden limb hangs the cause
Held in that first apple’s bittersweet bite.
Yes, death shined up our parents’ paradise
Leaving time to bear the shriveled berries
Our parents gathered in a better climate --
Suited well to words they were meant to eat.

Monday, March 1, 2010

March and Jamie Wyeth

Kent House

Late winter days break up these shoals, sea’s crumbled portal
Of rock.
These seed-husks of rain’s ritual,

Cracked and split, spill down sky’s
Cloud-battle to find rest before the war-weathered door
Of Sunday’s locked house...

For all of them, or for a part of all of them, the Kent House
Stands as she (eternally “she” mothering the sea) is door
To shadows, piled hard and sharp, on this wave-high rock;
Her Cape Cod dowry of gables serves as wind’s portal –
She who will rest secure in the stoniness of a lonely March sky;
Her muttering gutters echo winter’s last gasp. A yearly ritual
Of Sundays, now past land, Rockwell’s dream house waves him on.

All the shoreline was a prison for Kent, rapping her door
In a cold, uneasy sleep; all winter’s night long she would rock
The cradle of ocean’s grey desolation to impart all
Her matronly slope of roof, her bosomy porch, blue with sky,
Anticipating the Ides, signal day of ritual
When Rockwell comes at last, resuscitates the house
And Sunday goes by, Mars sinking lower into evening’s sea.

When Rockwell observes his Kent amid the repetition of rock –
The mother of us all. “ And I stand, at birth’s portal,”
Rockwell jests, “’Tis Spring!” Above him, an aquamarine sky
Already floods her pent up rooms. The old ritual
Of removing white slip-covers like cob-webs around the house
Kicks up evidence of mice and summer’s hibernating odor.
This Sunday, before bed, perhaps Rockwell banks a fire with less ash.

The sea throws the last of its icy catch up the beach, the sky
Begins to shed its skin, and as the shoals show off their rich jewel,
An heirloom freshly coated with caretaker’s spit, they unhouse
The scenery’s barnacled, monotonous march: her door
Has waited all winter to yawn at sun’s warmth unlocked from rock.
Changing bed sheets, Rockwell is born again through each room’s portal.
Sun, day, mind and sea all rest as Kent House makes peace with March.