It's a bitter-cold night in the northern tundra, and I'm feeling lonesome for home. The tumblers in my head are spinning, wild and inexplicable in their dark, and my thoughts are jumbled, thickly, noisomely, like they are struggling against their container, driven to distraction by the little light showing through.
This is a poem about Texas I wrote, couple years ago:
On a Tuesday Evening, in August
In the pasture tonight, Papa's burnt-out stone
house shone under the whole moon
like a ruined, shrunken Rome.
Past the peach orchard, on the way
to the pond, the grasses moaned long
and low, lilting strains of threnody
deepened by sunflowers, large
as dinner plates, beating heavy
shadows along my feet.
I know how long the plow has rusted
beside the withering dogwood tree.
The sun unlooses chaos on temporary things.
Come see how young the Earth is
beneath its mouldering wounds.
I saw the sky black with locusts
summers ago when the sun wasted
the tomatoes and shrivelled the pond
small and tame as a wash-tub.
The dried mud was split and peeling
and the grass shivery and mean
when the sluicing cloud passed over
and a great white owl began to scream
on the high bank of the western rim
like a forgotten child, bawling across
the leavings of a Caesar or a Khan.
The sun begets confusion on temporary things.
Come see how sure the earth is
beneath its piddling wounds
The cicada sings past dark sometimes
during a full moon, and in August
they'll sing straight through the night
and the fictions of 3am are ended
by the undulations and urgency
of noon. Tonight the apple cactus
will bloom its chaste flower and even
the rattlesnakes will sleep and dream
of fat bullfrogs, and the scorpions
will dream of locusts, of soft bodies
that shudder under their tender venoms.
The sun designs its vision on temporary things.
Behold, how golden the earth is
beneath its glittering wounds.