creative ramblings & reverie

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Writing Spaces


Time to write of Fall—the fallen and falling—nightfall, landfall, a favorite waterfall—Falmouth—things fallow, faltering—the warm falafel someone gives you as a gift—windfall.




image:  Old English Literature

Wild Rhubarb

Bankhead is long since gone to ghosts—both upper town and lower without further distinction.  But in the bottom of the long valley, from the abandoned kitchen gardens of the shanties of the Chinese mining workers vanished in the 1920s, rhubarb has gone to seed, and grows wild over the slag heaps. 

It is a place both mute and eloquent with human absence.  Coal has given the valley a sooty cast.

The rhubarb grows over what was the prosaic—the gritty—quarter, where the mining operations were.  Of all the immigrants it was the Chinese who worked there in the tipple, appropriately named—the place where loaded cars were emptied by tipping.

By a trick of perspective the heaps of slack and slag, the wastes of coal considered too inferior to sell, seem to dwarf the great mountains behind.  The reaches of the vast Canadian Rockies.  And the homely rhubarb growing in the coal and rock has outlasted the church and school, the pool hall and hotel.

You can follow the meandering trail, one of those irresistible footpaths that rambles off through overgrown grasses and wildflowers toward the distant saturated evergreens and indigo blue mountains; a two-wheel path stained black with coal dust; parallel tracks that have no purpose anymore but to suggest a way of going—back, and on, into the heart of the suddenly heightened afternoon. 

They lead unerringly to the vanishing point.

And if you climb up through the birch groves to the upper town, you find meadows open and sloping, and here and there small pines grown through with cinquefoil, fireweed.  Lovely light-speckled groves, like Gustav Klimt’s blue-dappled Tannenwald, woods where the summer sunlight sheets like rain. 

Then later, with the evening coming on, whether or not you have expected them, bits of rock walls and foundations appear quietly out of the abandon.  A roof tile.  The grander houses of the more advantage have vanished as surely as the shanties—the music and porches of the mining bosses, their moustaches and kisses.

Bankhead, Alberta:  a poetry of loss.


—Christie

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Writing Spaces






image:  Banc du square Gabriel Pierné Paris 6e, Moonik

Class Exercise, with Dachsund


I haven’t found my way clear
to being an artist.
Everyone can tell
my glasses are always too clean,
no unexpected dabs
of burnt umber or crimson lake,
my hair never askew,
nothing you could call artistic, really.

I watch my dachsund running
in ear-flying loops
around my uninspired garden
that is not the garden of an artist
though he thinks it paradise enow,
and finding an alluring sea
of broken blue Italian tiles
beyond a sweep of wild oregano,
precipitates himself
into the deepest wave,
then dries himself by rolling on
the bath towel I’ve left out on the step,
with gentlemanly courtesy.

All this stirs up my urge
to pick a #2 boar’s bristle brush
out of the brushes in the coffee can
in what is not a studio, to run it
in a wriggling line
(Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent)
along the defiantly white wall
of the plain room where I’ve spent
too much of my life
teaching myself to get used to it.

—Christie

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Writing Spaces







image:  Provence Mon Amour

The Years

This was inspired by an exercise, based on Virginia Woolf's book of the same name, and the various vignettes I've included here have been worked subsequently into my long Cretan novel, Reading the Stones.



1978

In the circle of light in the microscope’s lens, the scales of a moth wing have become fantastic—an ordinary miller caught in Abel’s bedroom with his cupped hand, against the wall.  Like owl feathers, they are, in one of the ceremonies, like seeds transparent, quick with life—light strokes of owl brown except for three which are mysteriously grape blue.  Who could have guessed all that was in there?
Abel, a junior at Gallup High School, small for his age and next to others of his family, as usual doesn’t leave the science lab until the janitor has to lock up for the day, and then he drags his worn-out denim jacket off the wooden stool reluctantly and shuffles out into the mild spring evening made to go farther by Daylight Savings Time—like his father’s stews, which he stretches with a can of chopped tomatoes or of Campbell’s beef and barley soup, sometimes a couple of handfuls of hard posole or pinto beans, or a cup of vodka if he wants to make it fancy, Stroganoff.  “Stew for the Czars,” his father says, pronouncing the c.   (They kid him he’s a Sioux chef, with all his experiments with food, except that he’s a Ramah Navajo.)  What use, though, the extra watered-down time, when they lock the microscopes up at the old time anyway, and then there’s nothing to do with it but homework, television, chores.  Running—he likes to run best in the dark.
The microscope shows Abel the world he has never been able to see, what others of his family must see, what his cousin Billy tells him—every chance he gets—he saw during his vision quest out on Black Oak Mesa last year.  Now that the spirits have revealed themselves to Billy he is Red Hawk and wears his ear pierced with silver, but Abel can still beat him easily at the 5,000-meter run, and any relay you like.  Even now that he has discovered the worlds that live inside the microscope, playing possum in the nondescript surfaces of all things, what Abel wants most is to be one of the runners who gets to carry the Olympic torch, someday.  His own ceremonial name is Running Boy—or if you ask his Grandfather Joseph, Sees What’s Here.  Which is okay with him, except when Billy gets going.  Which is every time he sees him, you can count on that.  To Billy he is Hey Dumbshit.
                                    __________

The bark is rough under Marcella’s bare legs, the cottonwood leaves rustling around her (always whispering among themselves about something, telling tree secrets).  Between the black silhouettes of two branches crossing above her the moon calmly observes the town of Chimayo, New Mexico settling down for the night.  Marcella can hear the faint distinctive chinks of plates and silverware being washed, through the open kitchen window.  Cassie’s turn to do the dishes.  Miss Future Housewife of America.  The Queen of Clean.
A dog barks persistently somewhere across the valley, just one urgent note over and over and over.  Cerberus, Marcella thinks, the dog that guards the River Styx—or the Acequia Styx, rather, being a lesser, New Mexican Cerberus and chasing cows on its days off—trying to keep some restless shade from escaping the underworld to go out to the Cadillac Bar for the night like anybody else.  In the darkness, washed out by the moon which silvers too the edges of the riverlike cottonwood leaves, she can smell the lilacs, lush and rich, a dusky purple smell that catches in her throat and makes her yearn for things not yet articulated.  She is fourteen, and it is all beginning.  Somehow she knows that, sitting in the tree on this spring night, almost the end of the school year.  It’s part of what the leaves have been saying, though they tell themselves she hasn’t understood.
                                    __________

Chorus makes a warning hum.
The horse-actors enter, and ceremonially put on their masks—first raising
them high above their heads.  Nugget stands in the central tunnel.

They’re getting to the end of the first dress rehearsal for Equus, and Anna, sitting next to some of the young students who help her with Props, in the second row of the makeshift theatre the Players have been using this year, has been enchanted by the effect of the spooky ceremonial masks, transforming the simple set she took almost straight from Peter Shaffer’s stage directions.  It’s a play of strange and profound power.  The fey Will Bryant, playing Alan, is doing an amazing job, after the migraine he had earlier, waiting to go on.
In the light from the stage Anna looks at the wristwatch she has just bought herself, defiant purple against the saggy skin of advancing age—and too many years of gardening.  Damnation.  She’s got to leave already if she’s going to get to the hospital to visit Gerald before visiting hours are over; and if she doesn’t their younger son Howard will have hissy fits.  So unbecoming in a Statistician.  (Especially if she decides to needle him.  “Sorry, darling, I was with that gorgeous young man….”)  She thinks how much better she likes the fey boy than her own tedious progeny.  She can’t bear what’s coming, though, when he blinds the horses.  She’s almost glad they have run late tonight, so she can leave pretending it doesn’t end badly, just once.  She touches the hand of the girl next to her—Tracy, is it?—in goodbye, and slips down the side aisle of the theatre to the door.
Outside, the mild normality of the Philadelphia spring night takes her aback; but a huge sulphurous moon, primordial, comes out toward her from behind the Tastee Freeze, and follows silently along beside her as she drives just a smidgen over the speed limit to the hospital, to make her nightly peace with husband and son.


1996

Abel is running in the city twilight, Charles River on his left, and somewhere off to his right the Public Gardens, with a white patch of swans not gone yet for the winter.  He can see his breath, faintly, ahead of him, a small ghost—the spirit his people would see, visible to him now too.  He laughs at that.  A group of three businessmen passing on their way home look back at him, smile.  The trees are almost bare now, lights instead of leaves hung on the dark skeletal branches.  What a difference running here.  He thinks of how he used to run at morning in the high desert, startling up the smell of rabbit brush and sage as he swept through it, along the sandy bottom of a river-cut canyon, instead of in these canyons of glass and steel and lights and the eyes always on you from the hundreds of offices above.  So hard for a Navajo accustomed to privacy.
Privacy.  That will be gone everywhere, anyway, in a week; he will be married and forever in the company of another.  But she is myself, Abel thinks; maybe it won’t be any different.  Only a kind of fuller, richer privacy.  She doesn’t take up all the air you needed to breathe, the way other people—someone like Marcella—would do.  A person like that takes up a lot of air, somehow.  I wonder if she feels it, like a kind of constant thirst?  Above him on the Longfellow Bridge, a lighted train passes on its way to Cambridge.  Even in the foreignness of this place that is now his home, he feels undeservedly lucky, the cold air off the river igniting in his lungs as he runs.
                                    __________

The rush of warm air stirs the small hairs on the nape of her bare neck with an uneasy frisson.  Marcella stares into the mirror while the stylist works around her weightless head with the hand dryer.  Who is that in there?  She has just had her hair cut mostly off, and now she thinks she wants it back, but it’s lying on the floor behind her, not moving.  Things she wants back, she thinks, throat tight.  Oh Abel.  She was only ever right with him, and now she’ll never be that way again.  The perfumey smell of mousse the stylist has worked, ice cold, through her stubble of hair, with both hands, is not something she recognizes either.  Though it’s on her, it is not her smell.  So what is it that makes a person, anyway? Marcella wonders.  The hair, the hurt, what?  Where does it all start and end, what defines us?  Daphne, girl turning tree— did roots come easily?
In the mirror she imagines leaves beginning around her pale face.  (Art Deco, for some reason, enamelled green and gold.)  She thinks of making pictures of those hidden things that make a person; the places and encounters that have gone and will yet go into what we are.  The absences, beyond all else.  How do you catch what is no longer there?  She’s interested.  She wants to learn how to make those pictures— double-exposures or time-lapse or whatever it takes to superimpose one state of being on another.  She will take some classes, she thinks; she will find out how on film or in the printing process, out of a slow bath of developer, to turn herself into someone the god might have chased, and lost.
It would be something to get her through the winter, anyway.  How old she sounds.  Pathetic and melodramatic.  But she hates this time of year, when everything is dying.  On the East Coast (Boston), in the mountains where her mother is, even here in Tucson when things start closing earlier and the dark comes before you’re ready for it.  That will all come out in her photographs, too, once she learns how to disclose the essences.  The woman with fall in her eyes.  The eyes fatigued with distances—behind, ahead—but innocent, finally, of Abel.
                                    __________

With a circular motion Audrey runs the flat steel curry brush across the appaloosa’s withers, following the whorls of the white-flecked black hair, the rounded warm solidity of horse.  She can smell the comfortably worn saddle leather, and hear the husky oats pouring like water from Delano’s feed bucket as he empties it, ten times in all, progressing down the line of stalls in the low-roofed stables.  It’s chilly this Saturday morning; she’s wearing a turtleneck sweater and the hand-me-down sheepskin jacket from Leah, over her jeans.  They are companionable, she and Delano, not talking.
The Navajo head wrangler had turned out to be an uncle or cousin of that archaeologist Marcella knew at UNM, Abel Joseph, who she’d been surprised to meet walking around the trout pond last Fourth of July weekend, with Delano and a grave foreign woman—his fiancee, a concert violinist from Ankara, Turkey, Delano later told her.  Audrey hadn’t thought Abel would remember her from the dinner in Albuquerque Old Town, the last birthday Marcella spent there, but he stopped when he saw her, surprised too, and shook her hand warmly.  He told Delano he had been friends with her daughter at the university.  (And nicely didn’t mention how she’d followed him to Arizona shamelessly, and even on to Greece, that summer).
Later in the weekend, when she was coming back in from a walk one evening after supper, in the lingering twilight, Audrey heard the sound of the violin coming from the open upstairs windows of the staff quarters.  Some haunting gypsy music, strangely at home in the New Mexico mountains.  She sorrowed suddenly for her daughter, who didn’t stand a chance.  Never had.


2000

“No way in this lifetime will we sell 1,500 copies.”
Cam balanced the pencil flat across his knuckles, the way his piano teacher had taught him, to play scales, and ran through two octaves of C Minor on the conference table while Mark Ainsbury, senior marketing guru, and Beth Soames, the project editor, got done their lifeless bickering.
“If the Reps would make the tiniest effort to talk to the bookstores—“
He’d been pretty good at the crablike walk of hands across the keyboard, but lacking in expression, as it happened; all that had gone to his brother Peter.  Poor sod.
The interminable Monday meeting went on in its predictable course, and Cam just missed catching the pencil as it rolled off the table and out of reach.
Peter hadn’t been any good at the pencil thing, even before he lost all control of his hand movements from the trauma of slitting his wrists.  The audiences hadn’t ever seemed to mind though that he played the keys like an Italian puppeteer, drawing up and up out of them a sweetness and pain that followed his ungraceful fingers like eyes a mesmerist, silk thread a silver needle (stitching a flesh wound).  Expression was everything—up to a point.
Their father had more or less managed to balance his closet Romanticism with a remunerative life.  He was not a practical man, god knows, for all that he built watertight boats and had helped to get the Millennial Clock ticking away in good order—and good time—at Greenwich.  You really shouldn’t name your sons for rivers if you expected them to turn out to be solid citizens.  Peter Cherwell, Albert Cam—what was he thinking?  You ought more reasonably to name them for generals or commanders.  Or even pirates like Lord Elgin or that Cockerell fellow who crossed paths with Byron down off Sounion.
But favorite English waterways?  That was asking for trouble.  Cam followed the line of the Thames (not one of the family) with his eyes through the grayness of rain, the chilly wet glass of the conference room windows.  An idle journey, as far as it took him.  But he left it, and went further.  He let himself go back to the day on Skyros when he had walked with an unusually animated woman up (as he remembered it) between pots of oregano to the highest point of the island to find where Theseus had met his end.  He remembered how he’d followed her up between the dazzling white houses and the smell of herbs, followed her engaging stories and her quick smile to the stony outlook far above the sea.  Even that scene Peter had made, after, somehow hadn’t succeeded in spoiling the day, for a change.  And she had been delighted by the rivers.
It wasn’t far to Crete from here—even this gray river would get you there eventually.  It would be satisfying to put a chair calmly through the glass, salute his colleagues, and jump (just landing on a load of winter wheat fortuitously passing on a lorry bound for the Channel tunnel, and beyond).  Like some American movie.  He could see Harrison Ford or Ben Affleck doing it.  Hugh Grant was too British—like
Beth and Mark, himself and all the rest.  He’d love to see their faces though.  And to be out.  Drenched through by rain.  Moving, beyond his own painful control.  Living.
                                    __________

O lovely red mullet, Anna said to the fish as Vassilis in the Chania market held it up for her to inspect, cleaned and ready to wrap in paper once she agreed on its worth.  Such a fish for a February night, bringing into the house a whiff of the sea.  She would bake it in the classic Greek way, with tomatoes and olive oil, garlic and white wine, and they could drink the rest of the bottle with it—do them both good, after the depressing day.  Those miserable cans!  They’d cleared cans for hours, out of every damned cupboard, and Marcella had hauled them valiantly downstairs for Alexis to take away.  Anna imagined the former tenant, Mrs. Mary Walsington, walled up behind cans of imported English tinned foods, like some particularly awful horror story by Poe.  An impenetrable fort of Heinz baked beans, runny custard, beans in tomato sauce . . . and mushy peas.  To have a soul the color of mushy peas (if mushy peas could be said to have color)—what a way to meet your maker.  Anna shuddered inwardly and took her comely fish from Vassilis.  That, at least, wouldn’t be her fate, God wot.  Unless the spirit of Mrs. Mary Walsington got spiteful because they’d thrown her cans out, and transmigrated.
                                    __________

It was the Chinese New Year.  There were sea turtles in the bay, and a long table beside it under the palms, with a white tablecloth, set for eleven though they were twelve with the baby.  At the foot of it, Audrey watched as the Chinese dragons insinuated their way among the tables, fed red envelopes for luck.  They’d swoop and shoot up tall again, as the drum pulse moved them.
For the first time in her life she found she was not put off by the excessive movement and noise, the possibility of having to join in.  She didn’t have to make excuses and go off to the restroom behind the grass-thatched bar until it was over and the insistent drums still, the surf audible again in their lull.  The big dragon came nearer.  The dancer showed his face through the gaping red mouth, reassuring the children, letting them see that it was only a kind of play.  Audrey had met the dancer at the Zen center in the fall:  Kanoa, one of the best students from the martial arts school in Kailua.  It makes all the difference, to call the dragon by name.
Marcella would have liked this a lot, Audrey thought, memorizing the evening for the letter she would write to Crete.  I wish more than anything my daughter could be at this table among my new friends and family, children and elders and Shu all together eating grilled mahi mahi and Chinese noodles with slivers of things (black mushrooms, bamboo shoots, green onion) and fragrant sesame oil while the big rumbustious dragon and the imitating baby dragon dance the fortune of the new year in.  Maybe next year she will come, if I ask her?


—Christie

Friday, September 26, 2014

Writing Spaces



Linger as long as possible in the writing spaces of dreams.


“I dream my painting and I paint my dream."—Vincent van Gogh


Similarly, I dream my writing and I write my dream.  In sleep and its blue smoky spooky silky (silkspinning, silkworm transforming into butterfly) realms are the beginnings of creation, the place words and their conjuring drift and meet up to form new languages telling new worlds—or the most ancient of them all.



image:  She Who Is

By 9 a.m.


the daily fight with gravity
has already been lost.
I wake so buoyed by possibilities
and the remnants of dreams

I am entirely weightless, I float
above my stonebound self
a dancing particle of light, one of
the silvered ripples wreathing out and out
from where a stone was thrown,

the fugitive quickness of minnows
in a mountain pool, dipped up
one morning moment only
by the thirst of seven-year-old hands.

But by the time I put my foot
into slipper I’ve taken on the load
of everything that’s lain in wait all night
(the way I hung out waiting for my father
to have finished his coffee and cards
and come out of his morning funk
himself again, ready to lift me).

The same old words, thick crusted gray
and slow, massing like barnacles
on a beached ship, the wrack
of all those others’ final storms
calm now because utterly spent.

Instead, let me leaven and rise
knowing quite nothing from before.
Beginner’s mind, the teishos say, open
again to every lovely loopy possibility.


—Christie

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Writing Spaces



In faded jeans and favorite oversized sweater, with pain au chocolat and three pens in your canvas satchel, taking notes on the ending of summer . . .






Benches in autumn The path across the head of the tiltyard in Dartington Hall gardens.  Derek Harper

Stumps


Two stumps, couchant
and grandly gnarled
as oriental lions
in a den of autumn oaks.

Shade imminent
and closing in,
like year and years.

The far west campus
readying again
for its more serious purpose,

the pause of summer
done, ephemeral as summers past;

these great truncated beasts,
creatures of time itself, laying
a heavy paw over
the paper-lightness of its bones.


—Christie

Monday, September 8, 2014

Blue Iris


My best friend is married
my grandmother dead


a glass pitcher
of blue irises that will not open
sits on my bedroom floor

and I realize autumn
has surprised me again.



—Christie
Fall 1978, San Francisco

Friday, February 14, 2014

Writing Spaces


I love this image, and this thought.



image:  UCLA Extension Writers’ Program

Stowing Away


(this in response to Alina’s exercise)

Peter Matthiessen and Derek Walcott are crewing the red boat with green sail (not after all the pea green boat of Edward Lear I’d thought to hop on board, but sea green, Persian green, Spanish veridian — the green closest to ecstacy); and a game Westie terrier named Bodhisattva lies with chin on paws in the small pointed bow, seeming to grin from ear to ear.  I’ve stowed away among the ropes and spinnakers and storm jibs, and eavesdrop on the easy talk with perfect gratitude. 

Looking up at breathy cloth and cloud and wind, I lie quite without motion of my own.  Without motion or voice, or need to speak, letting the others vocalize what’s what, in lilting, textured dialect, the speaking of the turtle men and women of the Homeric West Indies of islands just out of sight from where we sail, yet never beyond reach (always within a hop skip and a jump of making landfall).  I drink in every syllable, like water from a dented tin cup with the aftertaste of Golden Monkey black tea, salt spray, rum.

They’re trying lines, playing them out as fishermen are said to —

And de boats grob de turtle den, take dem over to Limón.

. . . the hunched island called “Iounalao,” where the iguana is found . . .

Keeping some air around the words, as I have heard the taller of the sailors say elsewhere of his sanded-down prose.

I think how Zen it is, as he’d instruct, to formulate nothing—lying there doggo among coils of sea-soaked rope letting objects and actions tell me of themselves.  How satisfying to have life pared down to this, the elemental.  Right down to the bone.

I came with honey and plenty of money wrapped in a five pound note, having intended like the owl and the pussycat to sail away for a year and a day and eat quince with a runcible spoon.  But in the end I’ve lost my easy rhymes and paid nothing, beyond my willingness to drift.  I’ve stolen in and hidden in the cargo hold, among the knots and folds; stolen a few crackers and too-ripe cheese with rind tasting of the Basque Pyrenees, smelling of cow or goat, and tinned pâté with its label come half unglued.

In soft faded old clothes — in dungarees which I have stolen too and shirts with rolled-up sleeves, striped Breton fishing shirts — barefoot the whole day through, we’re making a bumblebeeline for the horizon, greeny orangey pinky blue, and tipsy as a child would color in with an unrulered hand.  We’re dancing on the rhythms of Omeros Far Tortuga reggae and I beat time with my dogeared paperback copy of Tiepolo’s Hound.  We’re making poetry and learning to let go, in going, and sometime when we least expect it we might even come across wisdom itself.  Or let it, also, go.  We navigate by sun and stars and copper spyglass like the mariners of old, though headed nowhere in particular; aware only of being — bobbing — on the cloud-capped sea.

Am I rudder or sail? I’ve asked myself.  But now I only am, one with the boat in its unhesitant entirety.  Vast and minute.  That green I’ll never be without again.

The burnished wood cabin is full of books and notebooks, ancient globes, a pear-shaped Tanbur carved out of a single piece of Indian mulberry.  “I read, I travel, I become,” the Saint Lucian says as he has said before, and like a charm, we do.

And I remember that the owl serenades the pussycat when night comes on, while gazing at the moon and strumming on a small guitar.

After the Dipper has filled full and poured its inky drink of stars it’s light again and we are light and there are suddenly green turtles, paddling around the boat as we come into the third day.  Bodhisattva surges to his brave small legs and wags and wags, welcoming fellow creatures fins or no.  He is the finest of our number in his way.

We go, reading the tea leaves and the birds.

Where we are headed can’t be named.  But we’re bound to — and for — the past the earth’s full circle will return us to, all the places we’ve known and been — the dark river the eastern lights the royal barge with oars lifted in flight the ships with ancient cargos of spices and silks and painted porcelain the heartfelt colors of the island of the woman saint where donkeys and chickens run free — while yet fixing an eye on hope, true north, and all those other cockeyed things like human decency, kinship, comradery — epic virtues.  The sturdy homespun stuff of mariners and sages, madmen and magicians, irrepressible rhymesters with twinkles in their eye,  and that tintinnabulation of lost languages teasing the inner ear.

I cannot bear to think of journey’s end.  After the colors and the onomatopoeia, jibs and jigs, will come that stark silence.  The ship under bare poles.  Everything bleached and beached, with piers rotting, a nameless schooner in perpetual drydock, the washed up Argo emptied of its stories, its prophetic charm. 

For now there is no need to contemplate coming to land.  For now, stealing one more time from that other traveler and traveler in words, I tell myself to travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive — especially when the travel’s with a band of songsmiths in a little red boat with a heartbreaking green sail.

—Christie

Friday, January 24, 2014

A Sea Voyage



An evocative invitation from a friend / poet / writing teacher in Malaysia—

Here's an image by the artist Odilon Redon. Try writing a piece based on your response to this painting.  How does the painting make you feel?  Who is in the boat?  Where is it going?  What is the nature of the journey it is embarked on?  What does this painting show you about your life?  See where it takes you!



—Alina Rastam

Friday, January 10, 2014

Writing Spaces








image:  Wishing Tree, kirstyelizabeth

Ode to a Turquoise Vase


       ODE TO A 
        TURQUOISE VASE


                      I have cleared my writing table 
                         just to see it there—

            a day of clearing what’s unnecessary,
            for this one right thing.

               Not weighty with significance like Keats’s 
                                              Grecian urn,
             an amphora thick-lined with pine sap and 
                                                with time

       nor yet one of the Hopi vases holding corn;

   a moment only, absolutely,
   the fullness / release of grace

 in clay and color and
 the hands of friendship

 that have cupped it, giving it to me.

  The silence of Green Gulch
  is in its lissome form somehow,

    the sonor of the temple bells
    and paper-whisper of the wish tree

       and birdsong,

             the ancient lady apple in the inner garden
             wearing only winter light.

                      And when they come to her again,
                      the appleblossoms, in another turning 
                                               of the world,

                                    I’ll interrupt its perfect 
                                        concentration, offering
                              a twig from that same tree

                                         burst into imprudent
     white flower.


—Christie