Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Black Dog Runs In The Grass \ A Sumac Brake/A Jungle/Polynesia/The Peaceable Kingdom

Nancy:  Every dog different, every dog a treasure chest of indelible images.
The Black Dog Runs In The Grass
Hay Weather
             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.
Even Now
             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.
And Here
             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
Tiger-partitioned, green-parrot-feathered,
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.

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