Saturday, April 2, 2011

Two New Offerings

Lunar Eclipse

Three in the morning, I stand on sidewalk, under street lamp, looking for 1638, the last lunar eclipse to appear in the winter solstice sky.  All that day I imagined English peasants, French haystacks, Dutch tidal pools, heard the distant clang of Swedish sleigh bells as revelers took advantage of a moonlit evening to visit distant cousins and exchange what was needed for what was not, the way I sometimes look at my lover, weighing her gifts.   

All that day, as I drove to my obligations, I saw bonfires and the promise of shoulders communed in dark huddle, chants to bless the return of a sun god who has forsaken but not forgotten only acquiesced to something equally powerful, though less benevolent.  My lover back in bed, a howl from a distant dog, I look up, longing to feel the jolt of humanity connecting me to the seventeenth century; I look up, a thumb drive ready to download another imagination.  Scramble my programming so I might again witness those celestial bodies that once shaped the journey of our lives.  I look up but see only clouds, shape-shifting white masses, a grey lonely sky.

The next day a surgeon would enter me and discover a constellation of traveling cells emanating from some mysterious, primal source; she would call them something else.  “Did you see it?” my children ask that morning at breakfast, as I sit sleepily sipping my tea.

“Was it there?”

Lay Down the Pipes
                                                      (after Mary Oliver)

I want to be the flute player 
who stays listening by the river. 
I want not to care 
what gray may come. What 
breadth of hip, wrinkle of eye. 

I will have no worries of being
good enough. Good enough
for what?  Death?

If I am good enough to suffer
barbaric assaults that steal
my best self, my spoken words,
the meals I make and share, 
the bread I break. 

If I am good enough to suffer
a radiation that offers no true light
just burns brimstone and soft flesh. 

If I am good enough for all this
than surely I am good enough 
to live among the flute players 
and bird watchers, the poets whose
words are never read, the artists
whose colors stay bold in darkened 
corners of closed off rooms. 

The queen has made striving outlaw. 
Off with the heads of ambitious traitors. 
Coats of arms to those who offer
balm to the river musicians and all
whose being is enough.