All afternoon long
I lay down by the river.
If I put my head against the side of the hill,
I can hear the lambs arguing
in Greek or in Arabic. The cattle
move in slow syllables downhill,
to lie in fields of mud and clover.
I will rest with you here,
slow riverbeds cowbeds
Sitting, slowly rocking
the great cow-foreheads,
twitching grass and brandishing the grass,
eating tails and foreheads of the grass
you quiver and heave slightly,
switching at bothersome flies,
and turn away.
One by one,
getting up hindfirst,
the necks ungathering hips legs
emerging from underneath
You bellow, bring forth cries—
you bring forth gathered cries
of the watersheds the forests
dusk of great mountains and valleys
and walks above the Minaun cliffs.
You bring forequarters of grace
shoulderblades, foreheads that rise you bring
the dense, wounded cries of the evening.
Who are these—
from grey cliffs?
They are nomads,
children of the Father.
Pilots, resters on the waves,
risers-up under riptides
who are like the grey dawn
Guides in every quick direction;
sleek hide and scholarly wingtip,
hidden in the hollow of the wave.
They are gnostics,
riding the great depths as dolphins,
they are like the grey dawn
Otter and seal and sea lion
hidden in secret burrows
who went into the brambles and in sunlight
washed, and hid themselves,
giving and receiving the cloak of the rain.
The turtle’s neck and arms
were laced downward and around
with yellow markings.
As he climbed, the flowers and lamps
of the years were yellow-and-black.
He said YES—he gathered them like a flower
and turned them up inside; he was trimming
and carrying the lamps of all the years
for his children’s children. He was their Father!
He was working the ladder of hemp
he used to carry over treetops
to the kingdom of the lawn,
where he set it down, under the trees—
and it stayed motionless.
It anchored them through space
to the stone steps of the terrace,
the side of the house.
Now he was going to depart.
Now he was going to hide his head
in the evening light. He was going to bed.
Red ends of the daylight were the corners of his eyes.
He carried the lamps of getting up early,
and going to bed in summertime—
up, from the chambers of the ancient mud,
and in, from the silence of the river foam.
fiction poetry "fact" photography