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Caroline
In memoriam C. B.

Year after year, she wonders
at the play of a rainbow
across the room (from the prism
hanging in the window).

At the play of a rainbow
another sparrow lands on the feeder
hanging in the window
though there's plenty of seed below.

Another sparrow lands. On the feeder,
the gray squirrel's digging around recklessly
though there's plenty of seed below
mingling with the earth. She smiles at

the gray squirrel's digging around. Recklessly,
she turns her head to watch raindrops
mingling with the earth. She smiles at
grackles perching on her windowsill.

She turns her head to watch: raindrops,
the birds, always visit together—
grackles perching on her windowsill
during the rainy days of late spring.

The birds always visit together
when colours play hide and seek
during the rainy days of late spring.
Why do they come back

when colours play hide and seek
across the room from the prism;
why do they come back
year after year, she wonders.

bar-silverplate.gif:

Red Letter Day

The woods, aflame with autumn's gore, swallow
me whole; the world has no need of paper
and pen from such a man as me—hollow,
rotten as a dead tree, heart of vapour.

I rip down a sheet of birch and unfold
my knife, slit a finger tip, let it flow
and drip: the story of my life—behold!—
in crimson ink, a brutal tale on snow.

I'm free, I'm free! No cage of metaphors,
no portraits, puerile games of peek-a-boo.
That darkening pool is me, just me, all yours,
the sun and air rejecting indigo.

Yes, when you find the weathered bits of bone,
no ink-stained skin will tell you all I've known.

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Twelve Miles Through the Woods

The night is opal-soft and calm,
our winding trail a quiet tale,
for winter smoothes a gentle balm.

No guiding stars this evening—veil
of milky fog and sturdy grace.
Our winding trail a quiet tale

will tell if, at a modest pace,
we listen to the saw-whet sing
of milky fog and sturdy grace.

And pines will lead the way to spring,
but only if we close our eyes
and listen to the saw-whet sing.

When dawn breaks in her sheer disguise,
the pathway gleams a silken thread,
but only if we close our eyes

will we tread surely where we're led.
The night is opal-soft and calm,
the pathway gleams a silken thread,
for winter smoothes a gentle balm.

speaker.gif: Twelve Miles Through the Woods.mp3

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Harmonie du Soir
Charles Baudelaire, Translated by Peter Garner

These are the hours when, trembling on the branch,
Each bloom disperses heavenward, a prayer;
Perfumes and sounds twirl up in evening's air;
A languid giddiness, a mournful dance.

Each bloom disperses heavenward, a prayer;
The violin aquiver with aching romance;
A languid giddiness, a mournful dance.
Sad, lovely sky, an altar great and fair.

The violin aquiver with aching romance;
A tender heart that loathes the void's despair.
Sad, lovely sky, an altar great and fair;
The sun has drowned in blood-thick radiance.

A tender heart that loathes the void's despair,
From glowing past collects all sacred evidence.
The sun has drowned in blood-thick radiance…
Your image shines within, a monstrance, e'er.

 

 

 

 


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