Four Against the Shapeless Wind
You may find me thundering in a hut
on the small of the mountain reading
poems to curious goats. They listen
patiently before eating the paper
upon which they are written.
I have now resorted, denying loneliness
(thus the always hovering goats) ,
to arguing with the sad priest twice
a week over bad sherry transported
over the mountain. The pass's old Rock
comments on the shape and weight of
each bottle carefully wrapped in soft
flannel curved the shape of the way
upon which unsteady travelers depart
and return. From such a journey it
is believed the cheap, sweet sherry
is redeemed in taste borne to the priest's
back door into his shaking hands casting
into legion swine divinations of sorrow.
As a grace, after some cups, setting aside
the card deck missing all Hearts, I hear
his confession, soul bared tearfully before
me. Pen in hand, I write sins tenderly down
on a yellowed page to be fed to atoning goats
who keep secrets well. They freely forgive
all faults for a taste of paper, a kind favor
for the priest then.
Only ink, the accusing words by drool undone,
stains their bearded chins.
Alone in the empty church I hover before
Stations of the Cross confessing poems
to believing dust, to patient corners.
How utterly and always irrelevant I have been.
In variations of weather and seasons
devoted dust shouts,
Come! Join us here.
Even now you succumb to us
slowly rolling beneath trembling
altars, fearful of candles,
an old woman's mop.
You are quieted as are we though we now
shout. Your presence provokes us toward
proclamations, manifestos against the
shapeless wind. But shapeless we remain.
At the Master's feet wounds, now bled
away to splinters, forget an ancient tree
in a carver's hand an ocean, an age, a god away.'
Torn feet tred a hard trail yet.
Without tongue, in the broken tower,
the recluse spider shapes its uniform prayer.
Unburdened, I depart, passing
Dear friends the village dogs, thin,
Before my pine door -
a stooped body like these wooden
more knots than wood -
a stranger pants in tongues
poems he shall never write but
only feel breath by breath
a visitor, long overstayed
remote neighbors are gracious still
pulling words from ears, he hurls them away
One blind dog sleeps
Indifferent before all machinery
it moves only, curiously,
before burros gray,
their large eyes wet, shining
the cooler shade and fields of hay
the long lashes
A redundant whip in a whipped boy's hand
Sway backs are unburdened by little cries
which simpler crickets take to heart,
their singing legs suddenly still to sighs
This makes absolute sense
in some discreet window of
the world where Meaning knits
then unknits what is
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