Friday, March 30, 2018

GOOD FRIDAY - WHEN IT WAS FINISHED


When it was finished

Crows fought
for the unfurling ribbon
of his last words.

When it was finished

His mother's heart
was fully pierced.

And when it was finished

Darkness rose
from broken tombs
while stars and comets
crossed the sky

When it was finished:

Judas lit a single candle
in the upper room.

And when it was finished:

Three soldiers
in camos and balaclavas
snapped their steel wands
and pushed the crowd back
from the high mound

his friends
lowered the cross
closed his eyes
and pulled the nails

a wild dog
slunk up to him
sniffed his matted hair
and stood gazing
at his face.

When it was finished

The rain began

and the rain
washed him

and the mud
anointed him

and the women
wrapped his body.

And when it was finished

They left him
to the tomb
and made
their way
past endless rubble
through checkpoints
and concertina wire

made their way
past trash fires
and crack whores

made their way
into narrow lanes
past grilled and boarded storefronts
into darkened parlors of frightened men
and hungry children.
  
And when it was finished

Hell welcomed Him
and knelt before Him
asking
if he had died
for them
as well.

(White Crucifixion - Marc Chagall)


RW
Good Friday
2010

Monday, March 19, 2018

AS CLEAR AS I CAN BE TO THOSE WHO DISAGREE

Seattle, March 24, Cal Anderson Park, 10 a.m.

TERROR CHILD FEEL PLAYMATES UNDERSTAND

TERROR:  Extreme fear, dread, horror, fear and trembling, fright, alarm, panic.

CHILD:  A young human being below the age of puberty.

FEEL:  To be emotionally affected by; to experience the effects of.

PLAYMATE:  A friend or companion in play or recreation.

UNDERSTAND:  To perceive the meaning of; grasp the idea of ; comprehend.


If for one second
you could open
yourself to

the
terror

a twelve-year old

child

feels

as
she
watches
her

playmates

being
shot
down

maybe then

you would

understand.

RW
Seattle
03/19/2018

Thursday, March 15, 2018

MORNING CAMP



MORNING CAMP

You crawl out of your bag
and find a spot in the sun

look to the sky
close your eyes

a distant star
warms your bones

while you’re spinning  
through the universe.



RW
Seattle
03/15/2018


Saturday, March 3, 2018

THIS DRIFTING WORLD





We know only this:  life is warm.
          Adam Zagajewski


1.  Metaphors & Possibilities

Let me show you
one small piece
of this drifting world

where Charon
trolls for souls

and Hermes
shifts
in the mirror
behind me.

Where nothing happens
          that hasn’t

Then & Now.


This long winter
and dark spring

I’ve found myself

begging

ancient Hades

to let the Girl
come home.

I’ve let the drifting world

drift

into my own,

watching

Zeus and Demeter

Heroes and Nymphs

and…


2.     The Girl

Kore

her smile.


Persephone

cloud reader

keeper of secrets

innocent and experienced

maiden and mother both.

Persephone

dark

quiet

desirable

3.     The Abduction



Hades could stand
   poised
on a passing moment,
   or flash
like his brother’s lightning.

His breath
could be sweet,
or it could be
wet ash.

Likewise his touch,
moonlight, or
fire.

Hades

The younger brother.

His domain is
all that follows this
life of ours,

which is to say –

nothing.


On this day,

in the world above,

the Girl

stands apart.

Her friends play
at making flowers grow.

She wills life
into narcissus

kneels
and reaches out
to its ruffled cup
and lemon blush.

Hades,
the incorporeal
touches her back,

“Take the flower,” he says.

She  hears,
but no sound
disturbs the air.

She hesitates,

and feels a wave of insistence.

“Take the flower.”

She touches the blossom
and a sky full of stars opens
beneath her hand.

She turns to look
at the snatcher of souls
and gasps at the
emptiness.

He darkens his breath

eclipses the sun

and they’re gone.

It was as if he dissolved,
but she was torn apart.

He felt no struggle,
but she scratched
and clawed.

There was no sound,
though she screamed.

Then
bone-cracking
cold

and then
  
nothing.


4.    The Mother

Demeter

original earth mother

straddling life

with
splayed feet
barrel legs
broad hips
big breasts
and
tangled dreads.

Demeter

original
full moon boogie gal

swaying

like tall grass,

no, not grass,

swaying

like a forest.

Demeter
whose barrel legs
squeezed the breath
out of Zeus
as he rode her broad hips
like an earthquake rides an prairie.

And, oh, how she shook him
and shook him loose

it was no surprise
he took their daughter next –
like some dessert course,

then passed her on

to his anxious brother.

Demeter
who loved Persephone
like earth loves sky
didn’t know that deal
was about to go down.

On that day

Demeter

thrashed
when darkness came
and her daughter did not.

Demeter

bellowed

when morning came
and her daughter did not.

Demeter
wept full boulders
when the nymphs came
and her daughter did not

and as she listened to their story of

dark horses and owls
rising wind and sudden night

her breath turned to ice.

She cursed Zeus

and

the ground cracked
like an ancient amphora.

Winter spread like spilled wine

and time stopped

as anger and loss
froze the earth.

Demeter -

as the nymphs
fell asleep
they heard

rock

crack

against

rock.


5.    Hades, the Place

Some things you may know:

It’s where the sullen god makes his home.

The dog is there, as is the boatman. 

There are rivers.

In other ways you’ve been misinformed.

There’s no punishment, only death.

There are neither little devils with horns and tails poking and prodding,

nor big-shot philosopher devils.

No one is reigning rather than serving.

No congress is plotting the ruin of creation.

The place is:

A landscape of negatives,
of half-light, and the gray scale.

Bone-cracking cold.

Shades gliding
in perpetual motion

across huge distances

but not a breeze
to be felt.

Infinite and dull.

Only the Girl has substance.


6.    The Palace

The Dark Lord
had mastered
a pallet of smoke
and brushed a drifting world
onto the thin air of his kingdom.

He prepared a place
that seemed.

Persephone saw her palace

floating

in half light

beside Lethe’s pond

its walls shaded
by Aspen and black poplar.

She walked
the conjured adamantine
of obsidian paths

past onyx pillars

and climbed steps
of darkest marble

to the twin thrones

Evening and Dusk.

Hades and the Girl
watched rich galaxies
drift past windows
filigreed with gold

and then retired
to a room called

Deepest Night.

Persephone

entranced

allowed

the Dark Lord

and then

slept.

He rose
and walked
through smoke
swirling
around his feet.

He knew
she would be missed,

and wondered how
he would keep her.


7.  The Little Ice Age
(1300-1850 AD)



Volcanoes erupted with such force, and threw so much ash into the air, the sun and moon were shadowed for years.

The Alpine “Le Bois Glacier” advanced at 360 feet a day – even in August.  A Catholic Bishop exorcised the glacier to no effect.

Ice engulfed entire villages.

A parasite came to life under the snow and infected the wheat crop.  There was no wheat for years to come.  Bread was made from tree bark.  There were bread riots in the cities.

Wolves roamed the tundra bringing down any blood warmth they came across.

Painters developed a new genre of frozen scenes. Rembrandt, and Breughl were practitioners.

Ground in Southern England was frozen to over 3 feet in depth.

Thousands of witches were burned in Germany, England, and France.

Mary Shelley wrote, “Frankenstein.” 


7.    The Emissary



Things go wrong

and every family
needs a fixer,

even in the hidden world,

perhaps,

especially,

in the hidden world.


Hermes

shifts

like light

here and there

as much an echo

as a presence.

Hermes

Deceiver and Dissembler

Counselor to the Counselors
Guardian of the Crossroads
Companion of the Dead

pays the boatman

and torments the dog

by shifting

in and out of view

until each of its heads

lunge

in a different direction

and it stands

tail high

three mouths snarling

straining against itself

frozen in place.

Even the boatman
who has seen everything
and laughs at nothing
is amused.

Hermes winks

and goes about the business
Zeus has ordained.

The Prince of Thieves

also the Master of Dreams

what better place
to spin illusion
than the flat lands

where a dream

can hold as much

substance

as a palace.


8.    Night

Hades sleeps.

In his dream
he and the Girl
take their places
hand in hand
while the shades
bow
before their sovereigns
and feast
on dark fruit.

Hermes

in his minstrel guise

plays his lyre

unwinds a song

of cold restrained
darkness lifted
and blessed light.

For the first time
the dark kingdom
is warm

and ancient Hades’
rest
has depth.


Persephone sleeps.

In her dream
she sits
with

Hermes

in his craftsman’s guise

and watches as he
uses his thumbnail
to carve her likeness
into a hard-shelled pomegranate.

He offers it to her.

As she cups her hands
to receive the gift

three
moist
seeds

hover and shine

before her.

She snatches them

each

from air

and eats.


When they awaken

Hades stands in the bone-cracking cold
and for the first time

shivers.


When they awaken

the boatman has been paid

and the Girl

wondering at the strange taste
on her tongue

lifts her trailing hand from the river

and touches
her lips.


9.     The Return



Early Spring.

Dalliance complete

seeds eaten

she  returns

like a ripple of silk.


A breeze
the size of
   nothing
wraps around itself

a crocus
opens its
infant mouth         
and sighs.

Her virgin friends
awaken and
touch each others
eyes and faces

   and   w  h  i  s  p  e  r

she       is      here…

Demeter smiles,

the earth warms.


10.  The Gathering

In Seattle,

God’s beautiful rain body

covers us over,
and our home
is a boat
afloat
on a sea of grass
and flowers.

Lavatera
sprays up
against our kitchen window.

Dahlias bob
in the breeze.

Squash
blossoms
into starfish.

And day lilies
buoy and beacon
against the back fence.

In this ocean
of planted motion
myths rise.

Wonder
is luminous.

And the story
gathers itself
for the re-telling.




Richard Wells
May, 2008






snow crocus by robert gibson
narcissus photo from wag magazine