Singer In Green - The Loruhamah Poems, Her Death Discordant - Poem by Warren Falcon
[Scroll down to beneath the poem for an image of Degas's painting 'Singer In Green' which imforms the poem in many ways]
for Judy Asher, killed at age 21
These meditations/laments are set in
Appalachian mountains and towns of
North American Southern states, circa mid1960's
[The Hebrew name, LoRuhamah, means 'not loved']
Hosea 1: 6 - And she conceived again, and bare a daughter.
And God said unto him, Call her name LoRuhamah' for I will
no more have mercy on the house of Israel, but will utterly take
O rue rue LaRue
Blue the waters at a distance
blue the tails of otters
blue the eyelids of sleeping beasts
nestled beneath the earth
Distant crows sound the morning field beyond pasture
Dew murmurs names upon passing grasses
Echoing wood golds where below
the stream's gash furthers along slowly
murdering dimensions of width and depth
Remembered gait of young ponies toward
the spring's sweet water
Remembered laughter of the frail daughter there
beside the fields sweet grasses
The daughter, as the water, passes into silence
Laughter remembered beside the old well of the woods
O rue rue LaRue among the ginkgoes
cloven leaves all fallen whose burnished berries
yellow late melon sweetness of Autumn days
O rue rue LaRue among the boxwoods
evergreen for no good phlox
Blooded leaves settle upon golden flax of weeds
seeding the chilling ground receiving soundless
lips of grain enduring ice and ice again
O rue rue LaRue amidst the sortilege
Coo of pigeons in the distant spired village
low of legion cattle turning toward evening millet
mow of fringing grain chafing toward winter silos
Unearthing the old dwelling
find glass bottles
rusted tins of talcum
utensils grimed which once fed mouths
a comb sadly saves some long
uncaressed and beloved white hair
a rusty chain for what purpose used
reveals a child's gum
machine trinket ring
O the lovely hand of the long grown daughter
remembered in the plastic ring hole full of dirt
caked jewel of childhood, innocent, cool
in this finder's keeping
Rest o daughter
slumber in the dark palm of the grave
We are slave to suffering
but the little ring you lost
or bitterly tossed away
when its small circle's promise
in the sunlight again
in a stranger's hand
standing where the gate allowed
entrance to the once beautiful yard
Brief the rediscovered
for all of us are soon
gone under the hill
The ring dear lost dead thing
once human and frail will endure
beyond our bones
It's promise is safe
I wish I knew your name, dear one
O rue rue LaRue...
Spittle on the chin
stubble upon the cheek
she met her love beside the creek
Turned in her sleep
the calling heat gathered
the steep bank in the wood
as water will
forgetting the blood's
first stain on the long discarded sheet
A woman now she fled toward love
and fed there but
...there that little greensward swath of green grass
and leaf and limb and tree in that little crook nook
of vale dark there and sky gimleted on each blade
and leaf hover myriad in air...
Her death discordant...
'Birds must sing to keep from asphyxiating.' - Mircea Eliade
Then died there the rose beside the house of tin.
The track bore no train for years.
Weeds travel tendriled and
yellow rooted between trestles.
Broken vessels whistle through
shattered teeth of glass.
Only wind and no rusted train can pass.
Though the scene bears dislocation,
though the brain remembers station
and motion of steam engine and iron
wheel rotation the places of old gone
passing bear no malice toward stillness.
All around mute remains remind the
occasional passer of former days,
an old snuff tin crumbled in a reverent
hand longs for the woman grasping then,
holds sweet dust beneath her tongue
as the land must hold her now where is
no whisper but sleep beyond sleep.
Weeds to the eye are sad between rails
but listening to their green and yellow belles
the rightness of their swaying displaces all sorrow.
Their distance is a distance one cannot know
but only borrow in imagination by extension
of miles, their reach is ours then, translated
green and longing, their leaves throng the
evening air, in silent clamor fling down seed
to summer's blundering prayer.
Discovering a small print of Degas' painting,
'Singer In Green', on the day of her death,
sending it to her best friend, saying:
This reminds me of her,
her features, the beauty of implied song,
a tenderness, and sadness,
head tilted back in order to lift her voice,
crooked hand above breasts gesturing
in physical song, green light bathing
the mortal scene.
Was this not her
green with life,
taken into the vast green
of the earth during Spring?
She sings still.
In memory we hear the literal voice,
see her gesture, catch her fading laughter.
Go out into some silent space
of green world then. Sit. Listen.
Muted voices and motion are greater there
than any little pocket of earth that our
body or grave can hold.
She dies into the world which
is always alive
So the singer has become the green light
which bathes her, her life signaling toward it,
her death become it which is greater music still.
Be sad, as we will, but know
she is now where the Green is -
in the world,
in memory in
hearts and minds
we but borrow it while alive and return
to the Green source with our passing.
O rue rue LaRue it's here
this space between the gate and the lovely garden
is here everywhere in the ring in the hand in the dirt
within the hole of the ring in the breath flung in
and out the grave house underneath
the dirt's coolth and dank breath
thank the air and pass the leaves
the hand of the digger becomes the tree
becomes the sign upon which all breathing things
shall hang language surpasses itself breaks
upon its own weight like the empty shell of the beetle
little is the frame we live within this tiny world
the walk upon Vast the space it partakes of making
the wave of the wind ripple in the mind and Mind
turns to the drop of rain the flaked paint of the
barn side the vague window pane opening upon
the eternal scene of stones breathing becoming bread
the living the dead artifacts
That green has grown.
Leaves have darkened
deepening shadow and hue of green
and so, imagining, walking through,
has her death.
I walk through that, too,
wonder how she fares,
silent lady of dirt
having lost at last
the hurting care of the world,
and we, green and growing,
curl above her dark place,
sure sometime of our grave
as sure as we are now of hers.
Scattering wind over bending blades,
I grieve still her leaving,
feel its weight as I see scattered ones
on benches in the park, asleep,
one wretched man huddling where
a band of young musicians tune
their instruments for song.
Disparate images entwine -
and her death discordant -
the living die
the dead somehow live
singing in the sometime green.
As green returns
so she will in silent memory,
in waves of wind
which is only wind.
We will change but not as she
so changed now to every possibility of song.
It appears to be ended
but as grass shows there is
a forming wisdom and the same,
The fire in our house of living rages
and we cannot come out of our own accord.
The event of her going is a beckoning
to see the flame leaping so let's creep
toward the Green and be silent
but if we cannot be then let us be as she,
frail and tender, lifting voices up
in the greening shadow
They've mown the hill.
The grass remains.
Modern scythe and sickle
felled the frailer blades,
stained their metals
green with your name.
The sun shines,
burns that hewn spot where I first
learned to love your passing,
where I watched your leaving
grow wild and lovely,
untamed beside the street,
learned to hear the quiet there
where now a cycle is begun.
A new season of your death
is running rampant again to know
the blades of time and men.
Among oaks the fallen do not speak.
The dirt upon which they lay is hard.
Need us here
spoken for nothing.
We scratch our mouths
across the scar of land,
wait in the black sun,
pray to break apart.
A bird with injured wing
sits among the yellow leaves.
It's wild hurt flays the sky.
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