December 17, 2009

March, Spring, 2009

The wide stone steps underscore the front of the cathedral, stressing its presence. It looms gray, a cloud cathedral under a cloudy sky. Down below, below the sandy cliffs a row of sea shells sits along the beach, along the dark wet shadow of the tide. They were not left there at random. There is a certain deliberation, a nod to the great steeple above. Along the shore and up the cliff a parade of animals marches. There is a tortuous in a push-cart being pulled by a dog. There is a fox and a camel. There are two llamas. A falcon soars overhead, circling back, shrieking, his call echoing over the water. There are others too, hopping, plodding, padding along. Each animal wears a wreath about its neck, not of holly on this day when snow drifts rise high in the village and bells carol but of aster and cockscomb nestled in vines and in the muted light of early winter each is like one last summer nymph, stubborn and proud. At the top of the bluff they stop, facing the steps. A small girl sits on her father’s shoulders. She pulls his hair and kicks her feet in pleasure as the animals appear. They begin to climb the steps, the camel with knobby knees lumbering up behind a shy looking she-calf. Then there is the reindeer. He is small and the color of summer dust. His strong antlers grow from his head like the silhouettes of winter trees against a lit wall. The child squirms, pushing herself up to see. She is delighted. Her father grasps her stockinged ankles in his hands and shuffles his feet in the snow. In turn, each animal enters the church. The last to vanish into the darkness is a snake, thick and green as a sapling. The father lets his daughter down onto the ground. They walk toward the open door feet crunching in the sandy snow. They look inside but the church is deserted. The air is icy but the smell of incense hangs in the stillness. They turn to go and follow a trail of broken leaves quickly browning in the rising dusk.

The Goose with the Blue Ribbon, Spring, 2009

Placing a row of seashells along the bottom of a cliff and walking away. This is full. This is where I go when clocks chime and when bows are tied. This is how I render myself weak in the knees and full of grace and immune to the fancy of memory beyond modernity. The now exists only as it is in purest star child, the moment of conception it becomes the past, wisps of vapor all at once longed for and neglected; projected and exiled. I cannot wander as though forgotten, adrift on a wide sea of mirth for the sake of mirth and nothing more. Tell me; what is there to laugh about?
She opens the small leaded window above my potting bench. The light of late spring, having escaped the confines of stained antiquity falls with a creamy density on the upturned pots and dried soil littering its worn pine surface. Through the window I see the rough lane, on the right the meadow, a sanctuary for the birds and butterflies lacking in our little museum, sloping down to the wood and on the left a short row of houses, joined at the hip, the only differentiating feature their colors; rose, canary, butter cream, robin’s egg, like four buxom ladies dancing down the road. Our house sits at the end of the lane, alone beneath the umbrella tree, the great canopy of which provides shade during the hot days of summer and shelter from the tempests of the winter months.
Coming up the lane we see two small figures, the sun glancing off of their hair, they shine like knights. It is a man and a child and they stop, the man stooping to adjust something that the child is carrying. As they approach we see that the man is tall, with pale, reddish hair and similar skin. The boy has his father’s hair, though it still has the downy softness of childhood. He is wearing glasses. In his arms I see that he is carrying a goose. The Goose is wearing a blue ribbon about its neck and does not struggle.