History Of A Place, A Bombast, A Psalm In Voices Several
'What thou lovest well remains.'
- Ezra Pound, Canto 181
'Let him not be another's who can be his own.
'All this our South stinks peace.' - Ezra Pound
In exile, by whose hand unsure - mine, or those hammers of
The ill-starred fathers. Unsure yet on fire I fled their dredged,
God-flooded cotton plains, those self-appointed lords over
They who were deemed lesser dirt or worse. Those who did
Not sing self-praising songs belonged to lordly minds in Hell
So there to I fled and still make a bed there more content to
Be among the bastards for whom the Bard* pleads,
'Gods! stand up for! ' Ay. If the gods will not, and they do, I stand
Up and bray, a fool certain, but in the neighing take deity's cause
Upon Myself - Justice, Beauty, Mercurial Love's Sublimity
Though my heel be wounded by Adamic paternity.
Of late an old apple tree cracked,
Twice lightening struck. Dying, insistent
Urges, blooms anew tender shoots
Out of season. One resplendent limb reaches,
Just waking pink on tips, from all
The tangled rest for which I, too, reach,
Grasp and reclaim my own patch, my
Own history though scarred, attached
To hurting words, fists, and cornfields forever
Alien, though bittersweet when recalled -
A boy there, hard staring into distance, his wagon full of stones.
Might I sing it then?
How many stones he hauled
Not bidden but rough forced
Hand by hand from coagulate soil,
A boy's red wagon rusting
Full of spilled tumble-stones -
Unyielding stars between the rows, silent?
Brooding father with
His hoe to weed or ridge
To row or brow to strike,
Made of a boy a mule and plow
At Earth's farthest Edge
Too ill-tilled to nurture
But more to fracture.
Land and the boy turned by his
Father's bad blood to waste.
Both boy and corn obedient to
His And Greater Hand grew tall.
He hid there late summers in
Fateful stalks, grew small on
Shadowed afternoons reading of
Exiled, royal Odysseus and scores
More, native born and slave, driven
From homing soil beyond surf, beyond tall
Mountains and fragrances desert-walled.
He waited, a stone for a small boy's hand,
Or a God's, to haul him or throw,
But was his father's.
I often stare at my own now to know the difference...
The apple tree at his garden's stop I often climbed
Repledging myself to 'Anywhere but here'.
Beneath open sky a wind-swayed tree top cradles
Views of further hills reaching at land's edge,
Lake and barricading woods muted.
Soothed then, envisioning my nascent journey out
And away, I discover the most difficult to be that both
Land and father, a part of me still, require of me
What can I bring to harvest but these
bruised hands, these cracked stones?
Praise to the fruit tree long untended
beneath mendicant stars.
A boy above, his Radio flyer** lightening full,
Reaches to me now en exilio, the farther flung.
Father, my most difficult, most diffident friend,
My most loving curse,
A strange and fragrant Grace arrives -
From unexpected fire
comes frail, brief blossoms.
**Radio Flyer is a toy company, famous for it's red wagons.
The company opened in 1917, the year of my father's birth.
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