Saturday, February 14, 2009

Not letting a sleeping poem lie

This is the latest poem I'm working on. I may yet make some minor changes to it. It jumped the queue, as my pieces sometimes do, past the poem I alluded to a couple posts back. It's an invention with no particular inspiration, just vague impressions that had been floating about my imagination.

These recurring deaths
By Francis Scudellari

These recurring deaths brought down by
drowsing shade, Hypnos who nightly
stalks him, catches him, carries him
away to puzzle-piece landscapes;
odd bits jammed together, seeming
crudely fit with hasty fingers...

Time again dropped 'neath paint-smear sky:
purple-black dotted with pink-white.
A speckled canvas further smudged
by thick-limbed clouds that hover over
claw-hammer trees, screw-top bushes;
hills' sparse stubble he stumbles through...

As he chases familiar shapes,
shifting glimpses of strange beings;
their vaguely human faces topped
with twisted horn or ragged mane;
misshapen escorts who lead him
across rock shoulders, mossy backs...

Toward a close-cropped clearing where,
gathered with shepherding eyes, they
watch him, welcome him, offer him
sips from stick-carved ladles and spoons
they dip deep in green, soupy streams
to coax him to forgetfulness...

Weak-willed, he drinks serenaded
by an elemental chorus;
some airy, some hot, some mildewed,
all mismatched voices borne aloft
on ancient tongues whose wings beat
a steady pulse, that brings him back ...

To panderer clock's up-swept hands
pushing the rhythmic details of
a new waked sun's rosy allure;
her plying whispers that draw out
his sharp-splinter want for a day
when evening's pause never ends.
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