after Red River Blues; Henry Thomas
I don’t know where
it all comes from, or how
MacNeice’s Snow enters
the darkness of my head, or why
when I contemplate Her
navel and feel a painful longing
in the acidic pit of my churning
stomach, I spit out loaded
stirrings − words like pips
too leaden with the lyric
some poets say. I don’t
know how the sweet, ripe pulp
in the poem that surrounds them
has retained its sensual lingering.
Or why such seeds – imbedded
in me like buck-shot – are now
germinating and rising-up, seeking
the light to grow and bloom
and waft the tangy scent of those
kinky Crested Auklets I see in
an orgy of mating on the narrow
ledges of a sheer, rocky sea stack.
It’s all a gut-plumbing by Lead
Belly. And Henry Thomas
leads me back and turns
it – as if by alchemy – into
a melody that feels like liquid
gold. I turn my face to the west
to a river – to where lazy waters
run and flow between cuckoo-
spat meadows and marshland.
And Yellow Bitterns boom.
I see a little Reed Warbler
feed an oversized imposter. I hear
Her in the quills. I am become Pan
an’ the big, setting sun done gone.