Tonight, you feel like fire, hot
and burning with stars.
It’s midnight out in the garden
and I tell you I feel drunk,
kindling with stars,
straining my head back to take them all in,
the whole panoply arranged across the meadow
like a TV or movie show. Look,
there’s Venus and Mars, Jupiter and Saturn,
a full Aquarius moon. They say our bodies
are composed of dead meteors,
a thousand atoms from space. You remind me of dust,
a stream beneath my skin of celestial ash
circling about me, living and breathing
and threatening to spill over,
soaking the darkness that pools at my feet.
I can’t keep you in. You’re a storm
waiting to break free.
that crimson-throated shimmering herald,
sheen of the skies
and lover of the summer,
cartwheeling aerial acrobat,
strong-winged swing devil,
twitter-flitter, fluttering thing,
master of the aether,
that screaming swift and inkonjane –
wheeling, dancing, forking
far-flung thrum of thrilling electric blue.
A poem is a way of seeing
wet cherry trees in the rain,
a dragonfly on the wing
flitting from reed to reed,
or a swallow dancing
through an open sky, or a red kite
hunting low to the ground
like an arrow. A poem
is the strange flicker in a human being
seeking somewhere else to talk,
speaking words to build a grail
to the imagination, a home
for when the night falls
in a deluge of shadow.
The poem is a lamp, a world.
the build of cloud on the horizon,
rain, thunder, the disconcerting flash –
like a sky inside you
thrumming, opening up
of touch, your lips, a dream,
a forest creature out at night
and lingering there, tasting waters
at the river’s edge. Something leaps,
a bird, a spark, some small hope
bursting through the endless,
are hard to say –
your throat choked
with grief and ash,
wanting to be like water
from an open wound –
in the heartbreak song
of a nightingale,
or a tale of a fierce wind,
a stag, a silver
crisscrossed spider’s web,
horse, bird, feather, wing
all daring you to come alive
and be like flame.
I think too much on death
wondering if when we die we wake instead.
But the gods seem angered –
it’s written in the stars, they say.
Yet morning arrives all mist and silence,
just the early thrush, a fox’s cough,
the slow rise of sunlight – glitter on dark water.
Amid the reeds, still and motionless
a heron, hook-necked, moon-feathered.
I watch, hold my breath, but the heron startles,
lifts off in a clatter, wings opening
into the weave of its becoming. I wander home
longing for the night, your nearness, your touch.