Nancy: Every dog different, every dog a treasure chest of indelible images.
The Black Dog Runs In The Grass
Grass falls to the mowers and cures
without rain or dew, and the men
sweat and work in the heat of the
day, sure the weather can’t hold.
The only fields I own haven’t yielded
a crop of hay in years, “since the war”
they say, but that was the war before
the war before the war, still I judge
the hay as it comes off other fields –
the rich dusty green, the fragrance.
In these run-down fields where brush
infiltrates year by year, there
are still pockets of grass, Red Top,
sweet Timothy, good for horses.
Just After Dawn
The air is so still that the black dog,
running, sends clouds of grass pollen rising
in the sun. It takes so little, just this,
and scores of July mornings, a lifetime of
July mornings, follow the dog, running golden
in hay weather.
Alan: After too many trips along the interstate, the thickets and tangles, the half-wild margins, begin to call, whispering of escape. Something about the sumacs made me picture the paintings of Henri Rousseau, Gauguin, and Edward Hicks all at once, in a strange hypnotic blend.
A Sumac Brake/A Jungle/Polynesia/The Peaceable Kingdom
the sumac brake hides a small child’s intentions
of summer, hides Paul Gauguin’s lost works,
the brown-skinned woman, her brown breasts and brown hips,
hides the child, hides the tiger, hides the parrot.
All of each day, drivers tom-tom past,
acutely unaware of this island just askew the interstate,
this slow eruption of innocence, electric,
deliquescent as ferns, as antennae of moths.
Only the febrile, swift dragonflies and, by moonlight,
the incautious deer look in, past stag-horns’ cinnamon,
seeing Gauguin, his moustache and brushes, his woman,
seeing the child, seeing summer asleep and dreaming,
the parrot fastidiously preening, the tiger
watching, enormous-eyed, preparing
to lie down lambent and languorous with her lambs.