Canto

Mab

In the darkness defined by her light i see the silhouette of another woman.

Her skin as black as the darkness between stars.

The recent moon is her hairpiece.

She is distant, inscrutable, and cold.

Now dormant.

But only for a time.

Is this how seasons work?

The bright woman looks at me.

Open Sorcery

At dawn she lay with her profile at that angle

Which, when she sleeps, seems the carved face of an angel.
Her hair a harp, the hand of a breeze follows
And plays, against the white cloud of the pillows.
Then, in a flush of rose, she woke and her eyes that opened
Swam in blue through her rose flesh that dawned.
From her dew of lips, the drop of one word
Fell like the first of fountains: murmured
'Darling', upon my ears the song of the first bird.
'My dream becomes my dream,' she said, 'come true.
I waken from you to my dream of you.'
Oh, my own wakened dream then dared assume
The audacity of her sleep. Our dreams
Poured into each other's arms, like streams.

—"Daybreak",
Stephen Spender

What heart could have thought you? –

Past our devisal
(O filigree petal!)
Fashioned so purely,
Fragilely, surely,
From what Paradisal
Imagineless metal,
Too costly for cost?
Who hammered you, wrought you,
From argentine vapor? –
“God was my shaper.
Passing surmisal,
He hammered, He wrought me,
From curled silver vapor,
To lust of His mind –
Thou could'st not have thought me!
So purely, so palely,
Tinily, surely,
Mightily, frailly,
Insculped and embossed,
With His hammer of wind,
And His graver of frost.

—"To a Snowflake",
Francis Thompson

Selections from "El cántaro roto"

La mirada interior se despliega y un mundo de vértigo y llama nace bajo la frente del que sueña:
soles azules, verdes remolinos, picos de luz que abren astros como granadas,
tornasol solitario, ojo de oro girando en el centro de una explanada calcinada,
bosques de cristal de sonido, bosques de ecos y respuestas y ondas, diálogo de transparencias,
¡viento, galope de agua entre los muros interminables de una garganta de azabache,
caballo, cometa, cohete que se clava justo en el corazón de la noche, plumas. surtidores,
plumas, súbito florecer de las antorchas, velas, alas, invasión de lo blanco,
pájaros de las islas cantando bajo la frente del que sueña!

Abri los ojos, los alcé hasta el cielo y vi cómo la noche se cubría de estrellas.
¡Islas vivas, brazaletes de islas llameantes, piedras ardiendo, respirando, racimos de piedras vivas.
cuánta fuente, qué claridades, qué cabelleras sobre una espalda oscura,
cuanto río allá arriba, y ese sona remoto del agua junto al fuego, de luz contra la sombra!
Harpas, jardines de harpas…

—"El cántaro roto" (selections),
Octavio Paz

Night with the eyes of a horse that trembles in the night,

night with eyes of water in the field asleep
is in your eyes, a horse that trembles,
is in your eyes of a secret water.

Eyes of shadow-water,
eyes of well-water,
eyes of dream-water.

Silence and solitude,
two little animals moon-led,
drink in your eyes,
drink in those waters.

If you open your eyes,
night opens, doors of musk,
the secret kingdom of the water opens
flowing from the center of night.

And if you close your eyes,
a river fills you from within,
flows forward, darkens you:
night brings its wetness to beaches in your soul.

—"Agua Nocturna (Water Night)",
Octavio Paz (translation: Muriel Rukeyser)

The Song of the Well

Spring up, O well!—sing to it!—
the well that the princes made,
that the nobles of the people dug,
with the sceptre and with their staffs.


Book of Numbers, 21:17-18

Tonight the night is young,

and so is the day,
the month,
the year,

Each bringing an unexpected guest,
beating surprise,
Joy like the thump of the drum,
Or a newborn baby’s heart,

Come, sing to me!
Sing me the song I never knew,
Love born to me again,
Peace with her raised fists

I have come
bleeding and free,
The last night did not hold me
And it never will.

written by an old friend, 2007.

Tomorrow … these clouds will crystallize and turn into six-pointed haiku, haiku like you’ve never seen, each subtly different, each capturing a different mood, a different beauty. Each priceless, a divine word.

If I were infinite, I could read and love each one. I could remember the dance of each flake since the world was born.

But I’m not infinite.

Notes From the Tilt-a-Whirl, chapter 2
N. D. Wilson

Vega nightfishes in the Great Sky River. Copyright © 2021

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