Steven Heighton

 

Icarus

 

The idea of motion he describes:

 

in sunlight, pending,

a sinuous figure fathers the air-

graced fall from abstraction, free

 

of the divingboard’s stutter; that first vain

clutching at sun reversed

by gravity, the pistilled flower pulled down.  Bending

 

back into first geometry

(algebra of garden or woodpool, square-

root of the orchid) he descends like rain

 

to his failure, equating skin with the unrehearsed

water, dying and saving us.

and because every feat is a fall into broken

 

silence, like any creator

for him to win is to disappear, as a poet,

moving, becomes the surface of a page,

 

as the dreams of an Icarus persist under sea.

And this is the layering.  As he breaks with pen-

straight arms the pool

 

blooms dewcold around him, stirred

drops dissolve into calm, and silence

swallows the feet disappearing into green

 

water.  But already a form, a word

has passed into the surface.

Impossible to say how many were watching.

 

 

For Ping Hsin, In Golmud

 

Think of waking to cold

smells of clay walls, whatever’s beyond them

must be waking to street scents, gutter

of flames from a brazier, clattering

cattle herded to slaughter sheds

outside further walls,

                               beyond this street

and the outskirts, horsemen

driving livestock outward,

behind them

                        stretch of plain to low hills,

          beyond them

more hills and further hills and clay mountain

ranges beyond. . . .

 

 

                  Think of elsewhere in clouds

and skies some time after, dry winds

at the slope of the world, squall

of stars, after words without

end, without meaning

beyond

   (rain in a desert where no one—)

                       these walls 

 

 

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Sentinel Poetry (Online) #41

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF POETRY & GRAPHICS...Since 2002     ISSN 1479-425X     April 2006

Editor: Amatoristero Ede

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