Some New Poems

Three Sonnets for the Wedding of Abby and Giles

Now is the time when all occasional things
close into silence,only one tree,one
svelte translation of eternity”

- e.e. cummings, from “Epithalamion”

High born ocean child, the Colorado
moon kisses Pacific ripples whitely.
With feathered deftness, unweaving nightly,
quilting by daylight in Brooklyn's sallow
interiors, wah-wah trumpet echoes
some dirty Gershwin's muted rhapsody
amid scents of the best gingerbread we
ever tasted and olive oil cake so
moist and unctuous, a delicate sweetness
like friendship, like summer, like verbena
tea, sun-brewed, sipped at night amid laughter
like hymns from Hudson Valley's moon to bless
the knee-high corn and us. Before you, a
gold ring through which comes everything after.

The wolf made you do it. Mycorrhizal
dreams flashing in the soul's gloaming, where oak
and composted memory collude. Smoke
from Victoria pine sap, freegan hauls
of Brooklyn wood, story of crucible,
firebird, love, wolf. We drink wine and poke
cinders, warm olives and eat them. You woke
dazed, water and stitching still visible
on your body, water of death and life,
brought by crow, administered by wolf. Here,
a living bed carved in olive tree, one
flame from two candles entwined. The words wife
and husband entwine power and art. Hear
in your bones the endless ringing of sun.

We followed the sun to Turtle Island's
edge, then crossed the water on heron tail
or wolf back. You forged this ring. We won't fail
to hold you. The old Greeks say that one and
one make one, the one with torch and garland,
made of beauty and wild energy. Pale
Aphrodite and Dionysius, hale
with wine and goat blood (light matter demands
dark), crashed together, made he who visits
now, for whom hymns play on Adirondack
peaks and Brooklyn decks, this presence. Linger
with me and drink to things that grow and fit,
to ripe cheese, deities, and friends, no lack
here, to a flower plucked for a finger.

Birth Day

Crocuses in the still brown grass.
Doppler shift catches of
Sultans of Swing,” “I Will Survive,” and
Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?”
More rain, the wettest year on record.
Peepers, robins, the sweet, occasional sun.
Deer Isle, ME, Tuesday, April 3rd, 1979.
On the radio, something of the assassination
of Bhutto, and the election of Jane Byrne
as mayor of Chicago. Old, crisp apples
in a wooden bowl, coal in the fireplace
and slender warmth under the pressed tin
ceiling and bad lights. In the field, strawberry
leaves unfold under brown fescue,
nerved meadow grass, and rose.
Pine trees pine, silhouetted at dusk as in so much
local art. Kale bursts under glass across the water
at Eliot's farm, kale he'll bring
to Helen and Scott. On the LP, Bach
or The Rolling Stones. In evening, violin.
You, in Irene's young arms.
Tulips break the earth, and lift it.

Incantation: Anemone

Clover blossom and poetics of loss -
homespun palliatives for being
always underwater. Tentacles
that are symbols, symbols that
are bones, bones that ignite
our songs. A seed head of wild
millet dreams on dark wind. Plantain
and chicory hum shadowy songs. Note:
only repetition in threes, water, and some
constellations speak of blossoms
and loss. The taste of nasturtium
is the taste of my shadow. An ounce
of symbol holds the sail. Wild cold
rain and dandelion dreams. We note these
dreams, taste their loss. Song of marrow, meter
of bone. Shadow for dinner, sorrel
and violets and I and everywhere
windflowers, we note this
wind, run for boats. Eating, our hair
grows watery, unfolds
wild blossoms. The ballast
on our time-bound ship is joy.

And when the old teacher said,
Well, I guess this is goodbye,”
Our hearts plunged into myth.
He stood, as did we,
uncomprehending, weeping,
our movements suddenly perfected
In grief. Singing above the drums,
We watched one age pass into another.
He was beautiful then,
unspeakably beautiful,
like da Vinci's Mary standing before
the archangel. By the door,
he moved to speak, but the drummers
Unseeing or undeterred, drummed on,
and we sang, and his mouth
resolved again into saffron and myrrh,
his teeth like small children
asleep by the hearth.
And then, it's true, he left.
Up the path he walked,
wild white hair
like a pussy willow
or the sun.
Then, in the far cabin,
his face appeared,
reflected in the dark window.
He never looked back.
Like Laozi, he seemed.
Like a woodcut print
in some ancient, monastic garden.
Still we sang, still we wept, still the drums.
And, I tell you,
there was light. 

Jewish Cemetery on Lido: For Noah

Searching for stones in cypress duff,
Odor of green and loss,
Stones to lay on stones,
Trees bridge the silence
Their ancient wisdom
Of loss and young limbs
The eyelash curl of wings
And cadence of deathless song
The layered centuries;
Endless loss and birdsong.

All poems by David Scott Levi.