Thursday, 28 April 2016

Black Rook in Rainy Weather

Black Rook in Rainy Weather - Sylvia Plath

On the stiff twig up there
Hunches a wet black rook
Arranging and rearranging its feathers in the rain.
I do not expect a miracle
Or an accident

To set the site on fire
In my eye, nor seek
Any more in the desultory weather some design,
But let spotted leaves fall as they fall,
Without ceremony, or portent.

Although I admit, I desire,
Occasionally, some backtalk
From the mute sky, I can't honestly complain:
A certain mirror light may still
Lean incandescent

Out of kitchen table or chair
As if a celestial burning took
Possession of the most obtuse objects now and then - 
Thus hallowing an interval
Otherwise inconsequent

By bestowing largesse, honor,
One might say love.  At any rate, I now walk
Wary  (for it could happen
Even in this dull, ruinous landscape); skeptical,
Yet politic; ignorant

Of whatever angel may choose to flare
Suddenly at my elbow.  I only know that a rook
Ordering its black feathers can so shine
As to seize my senses, haul
My eyelids up, and grant

A brief respite from fear
Of neutrality.  With luck,
Trekking stubborn through this season
Of fatigue, I shall
Patch together a content

Of sorts.  Miracles occur,
If you care to call those spasmodic
Tricks of radiance miracles.  The wait's begun again,
The long wait for the angel,
For that rare, random descent.

Sylvia Plath Collected Poems, Faber & Faber 1981

Monday, 1 February 2016

The Banished Gods

Near the headwaters of the longest river
There is a forest clearing.
A dank, misty place,
Where light stands in columns
And birds sing with a noise like paper tearing.

Far from land, from the trade routes,
In an unbroken dreamtime
Of penguin and whale,
The seas sigh to themselves,
Re-living the days before the days of sail.

Where the wires end and the moor seethes in silence,
Scattered with scree, primroses,
Feathers and humus,
It shelters the hawk and hears
In dreams the forlorn cries of lost species.

It is here that the banished gods are in hiding.
Here they sit out the centuries,
In stone, water
And the hearts of trees,
Lost in a reverie of their own natures.

Of zero growth, economics and seasonal change,
In a world without cars, computers,
Or chemical skies.
Where thought is a fondling of stones,
And wisdom a five minute silence at moonrise.

by Benjamin Grafton 2007
For Ben, 1948-2015,  from Claudia

We'll catch our fish and watch the birds,
And hunt for mushrooms in the earth,
And if there's a name you haven't yet heard,
It'll be story after story and our souls, they won't get old.

We'll joke around and start up fights,
And tell long tales into long bright nights,
And if theres's a wrong you set to rights,
There'll be story after story, and ours souls, they won't get old.

We'll wear out our bodies and we'll use all our heart,
We'll take in every moment, the bright ones and the dark,
We'll cash in every chip, and we'll play every card,
And it'll be story after story, and on our souls you leave your mark.