Monday, January 12, 2015

Stolen \ Posting the DANGER Signs At Raven's Gulch

Alan:  When something’s taken from us, how do we react?  Maybe if we see the smaller thefts as a training...


I came back to find the generator
or rather to see
                           the blue tarp
                   blown against bushes
and the yellow cord
          with its heavy plug
                           from the outside wall

Easy to guess what happened.
Two men, young, strong, quick
                     could muscle it without trace
(except for the blotch
          of spilled diesel, candy
                             wrapper tossed carelessly aside)
across frozen ground, dead grass, gravel
          and lift it or slide it up planks
                             into their pickup
                      and be gone

They’ll sell it for scrap or pawn it
             for drugs or maybe to pay off Christmas
                               or even (I can hope) keep it
if they get it running
                     after years of no use.

We live in a world of stolen.  Long ago
              when this was just a summer place
                               uninsulated frame camp
                          cobbled from reject lumber
you arrived in the dark
             after the slow hard trip from Boston
                                to light the gas lamp
                                                 heard hissing
             jerked the match away
                                from the cut line in time

Hap McDaniel hired a crew once
             to clear alders at the edge of the next-door field
went home for lunch
             returned to find them driving away with his tools –
guys he was paying.  Hap’s long gone
                        but forty years on we remember

We remember too the story
             of the man who found his front door missing
was sure he knew who took it
                             went to get it back, was asked in, was talking
looked up, noticed a door-shaped bulge
              in the just-papered-over ceiling 

When a thief took every bit 
                               of Ryokan’s so-very-little
he grieved he could not offer him the moon
            shining through the hut’s open window.
For myself, I only wish 
                               along with the generator
I could give to these
            whose need can never be satisfied
a share of the happiness I feel now
            seeing it gone

Nancy: When the icy sea is yet warmer than the frigid air and the air icier than the frozen ground and your own breath is the loudest sound, this is a lonely planet and a cold star.

Posting The DANGER Signs At Raven’s Gulch

Zero degrees.
Wind cuts across the cobble beach
but the trail goes up, into trees.

Not much talking,
climbing; wondering what animal,
or was it the earth itself,
breathed out these white feathers beside the trail?

Height of land.  Now the trail
pitches down.
“STOP,” the signs say, “DANGER.”
This is what we came to do.

And in the cleft,
only the sea, smoking,
smoking.  No ravens.
Except for the hammer, driving nails,
no sound.

The sky,
receiving sea smoke,
makes clouds.

Note: The poem refers to degrees Fahrenheit.  0º Fahrenheit is roughly -18º Celsius.

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