I had you penned—shepherd
singer, rifleman, drummer
farmer’s son, anger’s creature
honor’s fledged, one alone
mourning, hoping, anointed
afraid—beneath this glaze
you crack and fade, rise
river-like, green and gone
Reading Mitchell’s Rilke again: The Spanish Trilogy.
this cloud-built summer storm—
we watch, insulated from all
youth’s electricity of wonder
and fear, saying it can’t hurt
us, can’t come in; backed
by scientific assurance
of two-score rock-solid years
unmovable, stony to the core
and is it good that we outgrew
that fear, traded it for what
endless repetition of even sunlit
days, ducks pond-gliding
(from that storm-dream of sword
and flame-leaping I wake
happy as if I’d been reading:
comfort for a workaday
Title from Stephen Mitchell’s translation of Rilke’s “Vor dem Sommerregen” (“Before Summer Rain”).
It reminds me of my youth; and alternately
my aging. This heart that drops stone-
complacent or lifts like mountains in
new birth: stirring, violent. You
look at me (do you see beyond what mirrors?) and
together we seek the burning secret of a star.
A “golden shovel” poem after the last line in Rainer Maria Rilke’s “Evening.”
The earth keeps some vibration going:
The hoarse leaves crawl on hissing ground,
Seeds in a dry pod, tick, tick, tick.
The warning whispers pass
With songs of misery, music of our woes.
My soul, dressed in silence, rises up.
Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn
With only our tongues for our swords
And learn to chaunt a tongue men do not know–
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.
My attempt at a cento. The title is from Walter De La Mare’s “Listeners.”