the same shine everywhere

6:47 PM Posted by James Owens

.

Rustle and gleam in the understory, a breeze
lifts the little lanterns of scarlet columbine,
lit like tongues by the fire of the holy spirit
they lick up through marl and leafrot.

Lanterns. And tongues. In the other story,
under this one, we all know what the lyric wants:
they suck God through their pale green threads
and spray the divine as a yellow dust of pollen—

it’s process and ek-stasis, history and
rupture, stamen and tendril sieving
the wind, an ache for the right turn of air,
for the word that will burn the words away.

And the same shine everywhere. For instance,
on the segmented back of the five-inch, purple-black
millipede on the path, pedaling crazy bright panic
as he arcs up and over a fallen, wet twig of birch.

.

11 comments:

Gigi said...

"an ache for the right turn of air"--just amazing. I love the precision of this poem, the way it helps me see the process as it happens.

James Owens said...

Thanks, Gigi. This time of year, here, the ridgelines of the old dunes a couple of rows back from Lake Michigan are covered with wild columbine, and the wind from the lake makes them ripple in the beach grass, like blowing on the gray embers of a campfire and bringing the fire back to life. It is a kind of pressure that has to turn itself into a poem, isn't it?

Gigi said...

What you said about the pressure that has to turn itself into a poem makes me think about what Wallace Stevens describes as imagination pressing back against the pressure of reality. That is a wonderful image of the columbine.

Sorlil said...

I very much like this, there's always so much depth in your poems :) The narrowing of the scene to the millipede and the twig at the end works really well.

James Owens said...

Gigi, I love Stevens's writing on the imagination, both in his prose and in his poems ("It was a new imagining of reality...") And it is true, the imagination, the poem, does push back against the imploding force of reality. Sometimes I think it is the only thing that can equalize the pressure and give us at least a few moments of freedom. I don't know that the poems I post here actually achieve that, but it is the goal....

James Owens said...

Thanks, Sorlil. I don't know about the depth.... As Mark Twain almost said, "The rumors of my depth have been greatly exaggerated...."

I do like to end on the image, rather than any kind of abstract statement. Probably that is just a habit, and I should try to break it, but it seems to me more honest, somehow. If I know anything worth telling, then I'm pretty sure it will be there in the image, not in what I think the image means, if that makes any sense....

suzi said...

I love the line that is also your title 'the same shine everywhere'. That made me stop and think about allsorts for ages and I can't get it out of my head.

James Owens said...

Thank you, Suzi. If a line can open out for you in different directions --- then I'm happy with it...

sam of the ten thousand things said...

I like the piece, James. Stanza two is very powerful. Good poem.

James Owens said...

Thanks, Sam. You know, I took that stanza out, put it back, took it out....

Roxana said...

just a quick note to tell you that i agree with Suzi about the title line, i can't get it out of my head too! :-)