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From a Summer Notebook

ISSUE:  Spring 1970

July eighth
Do you hear       as if
in a far away room
down a narrow hall
in another part of the hotel
a gale
do you see       as if
down twisted mountain valleys
where we climbed yesterday
darkening, steep
a bright shore where the skeleton
of a stranded whale
sings in the wind

whited bones
dry tendons taut
and the high
intricate structure

for that wind is a steadfast wind
formed on the open sea
strumming the whale’s bones forever
Rahab       sea goddess       her bones
harp of eternity

“a system of linkèd
Tom Campion said

while we from our window
on our balcony
look down
and waves break       beating on
clean stone
great waves with small commingled
beating, breaking
distant and bright
as if
in another part of the world

steadfast             linkèd

We turn within
to Hestia again
a small swirl in the ash
of the stone hearth again
forming like a girl
in the heart
of silence                   .

August tenth

In the days of the dog and the dark of the moon
when the waters of heaven …

jig, jig, jig

aqueous at any rate
rain fourteen days in seventeen
and the hay we cut last month
soaks in its swaths
dark and flat on the ground

I was born in the only house of the sun
when master was at home
and the Moon in mischief lay
with Capricorn

oh high times with Capricorn
and Someone
hidden in the house of death

Mercury wandered in the west, ill-dignified
and would quarrel with Venus
could he find her

The woodpile soaks, maple and beech
slimed with mildew
where slugs feed and copulate
and what shall we do
for dry fuel this winter?

The first purple aster
New England’s flower
a star quiet by the wayside
Hesper, star of autumn

The news:
a man in Detroit “berserk”
shoots 6, and is led away;
Los Angeles, a black houseboy
“held” in the murder of five
at a filmstar’s home; violent
storm in Cincinnati destroys …

Whatever it means
the waters are rising

“American scientists” have found fragments
of wood 4000 years old on Mt. Ararat
at 14,000 feet, wood worked with a blade

Never seen the brook
so high in August
dark water
pouring against dark stones

The abandoned buggy
wheels atilt
standing sodden in weeds
across the misty field
where thistles flower like blurred
stars in the rain
a purple constellation
empty shafts
point down as if
still tugged
by something
down there
in the ground
whatever it means, I see
an ark swaying
over a wet field a flood
and rain
rain falls in my eyes.


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