japonisme: only the wind comes

03 June 2008

only the wind comes

I INVITE THE ANGEL GABRIEL,
BUT ONLY THE WIND COMES


The wind again, this time wheeling
down from the northwest
and dumping rain, the wind-chimes in the yard
banging like hammers
and the gates slamming on their hinges.
And then it has passed
and it‘s time to go outside and
walk in the winter grass, the color now
of old celery and cardboard.
The yard is littered with tangerines,
hard and green.
Now it’s time to advance and gather them up. I am
not the chosen one to whom the Angel speaks.
I don’t mind. I don’t
believe I could bear up under that kind of pressure.
I don’t mind
speaking to the Magnificence,
night after night, without an answer.

Something was loose in the yard, that’s clear — something that asks
for a new way of speaking, which I haven’t figured out yet. Here
is a shingle gloved in moss and here is a branch in white fracture
recalling a human bone, and here is the sun breaking the cumulous
tower and here is the heart I abandon more or less regularly, lying in
a nest of wet leaves. I don’t mind. I pick them all up. I carry them.
I say a few words, but only in the eternal space in my head. It’s fine.
The sun keeps shouldering through, the crows are finding their wires,
the sparrows are eternal. The air is charged with incongrous smells,
clean linen, for instance, and sharp oxygen, and wet earth. I am
a presence among the scoured ruins. It’s time to stoop and collect.
It’s time to be quiet again, and poke and prod. It’s time to find
baskets for all this smitten fruit, round and perfect and shining.

Frank X. Gaspar


THE STRUGGLE BETWEEN
PLENTY AND THANKFULNESS


Today when I framed
two crows
in the notch of the ash tree,

I thought of order.
Rain
was in the forecast






and presto, rain. Then
three crows
in the field tilted the world




as if imbalance were
a blessing
dropped in the cup I keep






for blessings. Then
four crows
in the grass, five

on the wire, my plate
heaped up
with six crows.


And to give thanks,
to tell God
six crows were enough,


I lit prayer papers
in the garden—
their orange slippers,

their black, abstract
petals like
anti-confetti, like

hopeful ash, like
a thousand crows.
Then, a thousand crows.

Keith Ratzlaff



Colorado Review Volume XXX, Number 2 Summer 2003

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6 Comments:

Blogger Roxana said...

thousand crows... do you remember my storm-picture? they were crows, the black birds flying away from the trees...

09 June, 2008 15:41  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

oh yes indeed-- i thought of you, and also of masahisa fukase's amazing raven photos too.

09 June, 2008 16:19  
Blogger Roxana said...

oh I didn't know this picture! much better than mine, of course :-) oh. how could I thank you?

10 June, 2008 05:38  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

it's from his book 'the solitude of ravens" -- something like that. lot of images from it all over the net--most of which are amazing

10 June, 2008 11:29  
Blogger Oxfraud said...

I believe you can see the large painting of the crows at the Seattle Asian Art Museum? If you're ever in Seattle, you should go check it out.

06 July, 2008 01:00  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

welcome and thank you -- it must be very powerful in person.

06 July, 2008 07:53  

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hi, and thanks so much for stopping by. i spend all too much time thinking my own thoughts about this stuff, so please tell me yours. i thrive on the exchange!

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