Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Easter Morning \ Journal Entry

Alan:  Mid-April: so much promised, so much withheld.

Easter Morning


Out on the bay flats
a figure in a white wind-breaker
bent double, hacking at the mud
for clams.
The blue sky arches over all
cloudless and cold.
The sun will warm the soil in its beds
enough for turning.
I must prepare a garden.
The clam digger and I
in the same stone church
of necessity and choice.


It is such a weak word, “depression.”
No suggestion of the way dreams claw at one,
the every-morning flail
from the crypt of sleep.
No sense of the craving for extinction,
the lying there with weight on the chest
until finally, out of habit, rising.
Nothing of the loaded shoulders,
the difficulty breathing,
constant awareness of pressure on the breast-bone,
someone pushing hard on one point,
the pain in the heart, or is it the “heart”?
Going through the motions in airless darkness,
the boulder rolled tight against the cave-mouth.
Being inside.


Digging over this ground
I am aware that I am
half-happy.  Like the worm cut by the spade.
Content to be alive,
though knowing
much is lost that may,
given time enough,
grow back.
It is sufficient
to feel my soul hover
somewhere in the weak sun
at about chest height.
A mosquito
newly emerged
drowsily looking for a place
to draw blood.


Under last year’s debris
the creamy-blue puschkinias,
chalices of purple, yellow, white crocuses –
daffodils thrusting green arms
already budded in prayer.
All this rubbish
begs to be cleared,
stacked in a rick and burnt.
Smoke: the first offering.
Leaving behind ashes
so that we may smear our faces
and wail.


The tide creeps in, covering blue-gray mud.
An emptiness between two shores
that is one shore, followed far enough.
The blue below mirrors the blue above
and is as heartless.  The figure in white
has risen and is gone.
The place needs its demiurge
to be any more than longing.
The dirt is still the dark dirt.
It desiccates fast
under this vaporless bright dome.
Where are the heavenly hosts?  Oh,
there is birdsong.  Somewhere,
if not here, there is birdsong.

Nancy:  Better, I supposed, to take out angry disappointment on the innocent buds than on some equally innocent bystanders.

Journal Entry

The spring buds
the waxy ones that yield to the teeth
and the soft ones, stroking my eyelids,
my upper lip
and the ones that drip sugar.
The ones that are hidden in the bark
and the ones that thrust at my skin
and the candy ones and the bitter
and ones that chewed bring cramp,
convulsions, death.

The spring buds
the red ones, fire on the hillside
and the taut polished ones by the brook
and the quick ones in the farmyard.
The ones bunched in clusters
and the metallic poised ones
and the black shriveled ones by the stone wall
The ones that unfold into fans
and the ones that force out veined winged things.

The spring buds
the ones that stain my hands
and the ones that I crush, acrid.
The ones that I destroy with my nails
and the ones that I crumble
and the ones out of reach, that I curse
and the ones that I tear until they snap
sapless, to die of thirst
because they promise flowers.
Today I can bear no promises, none.

March 21, 1979
Today I noticed the buds.

“Journal Entry” first appeared in Blackberries And Dust (Stone Man Press, 1984).

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