Song of Bacchus
I am the flowering crook,
the bull's horns garlanded with grapes,
the fig and the hands that split it.
I am the upturned throat of the dancer,
knees to the earth,
I am summerdimmed ankles
in the noontide dust.
I am the pounded noontide dust.
I am the body strong and good to see,
I am black-luminous crows,
I am poetry blooming
with blood's red flower.
I am joy.
The stainer of teeth.
A boy gone strange
watching the young mother.
I am sweat and piety and the slick between her legs.
Loud pitiless light, warm odorous shade.
It was a small town, a village really,
a tiny village whose name I don't remember
in the mountains of Asturias in northern Spain.
I was there with two friends, three American
college kids roaming around willy-nilly.
We spent just one night there, eating dinner
in some kind of tavern: hanks of cured meats
and blue cheeses served on heavy
wood platters. The next day we hiked up a trail,
up and up and up, and then found ourselves, somehow,
suddenly gazing into the white wilderness
of the Atlantic. We didn't even know it was there.
And leaving town, we came upon a bare
cement structure with an open door.
We stopped, peered inside. Two spring-fed troughs,
for the sheep, filled to brimming
and clear to their bottoms, a shiny thinness,
a sill of gleam, always spilling over a mossy lip...
And looking out the open door opposite, I saw green,
a hurtfully green hillside in the distance,
and six or seven beasts, and the old shepherdess
we'd met the day before, again wearing her red scarf.
Published in Orion Magazine
My Little House
My little house is shaded by an elm,
grapes in bunches hang from the branches.
There is apple in the orchard, silver olive trees
with fruit-quiet boughs, and black earth
rich with cabbage, mallow, and poppies.
If I snare a quail, hunt a pig,
hook a stray creek trout,
that's all the guile this land of mine
will ever know. Go on.
Go live your massive frantic lives,
always elsewhere, never now.
When Death comes looking,
wondering how I did,
he'll know where to find me.
Published in Resurgence & Ecologist