Faience I - Poem by Morgan Michaels
See that chunk of glazed Egyptian faience
resting idly in that vitrine
ancient as the hills
adventuring from blue to green
sparkling a color Matisse would die for?
Scrawled with smoky hieroglyphs or
some dead tongue that's not around any more?
Some old-world minted couplet, perhaps?
Some elegy- or maybe the poor, sad
dull fragment of some long-ago law
booked when Moses was a lad
And the rushes rustled with the Nile?
Rockaby baby- where does it come from, anyway-
the yellow Nile spill- hoagied green-gray,
exultant for a little while,
until it's stream runs dry?
Anyway, that's me
You see, a
bit of slip, a chip of fallen sky
skipped off the tide, and come to rest, here.
I call it's color 'hippopotamus.' I don't know why-
there's nothing very blue about a hippo:
well, wet, a bit of blue about the neck,
Maybe, a toe, maybe, indigo,
as it lumbers by the prone and smiling crocodiles
flopped on the banks,
having, each, an eye cocked at the sun, their love?
Ne'rtheless, the hippos horse a river,
often itself, quite blue
Or nearly so or yearly so
brandishing blue reeds and purple irises.
Yes, me now. Can I spin you an image?
Can I make you wonder?
I am happy so to do-
Can I bring a thing before your eyes,
A picture, intact, singing
resonantly pure, in the way of clay
hot from the kiln, a lithesome success,
whole and entire and full of grace,
having all it's life before it, and no less,
beautiful and utile.
Why not what the heck?
till it got dumped in some Tut's tomb.
Everyone needs a little urn
to bide them, to tide them
over to an afterlife
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