Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, MONTALBAN: NEAR THE ANCIENT FORT, by CLARENCE MAJOR

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MONTALBAN: NEAR THE ANCIENT FORT, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Hurry! Hurry! / flames pour from the cottage window

Hurry! Hurry!
Flames pour from the cottage window.
The plane goes down to sea,
and like a pelican
scoops up a beakful of water,
to the burning vision
of a crucifixion which smells
of the artist's linseed oil
and the trapped mistress,
his muse, who lives in his throat,
content never to come out.

I watch the pilot pour water
into the artist's mouth and eyes,
and through his red roof. Yellow fire
eats the edges of his yard. The priest
has come and is waving a giant candle
at the anger of the artist
in his spilled moonlight.

Here too, an old peasant woman
with nothing to hide and her junk cart,
has brought sacks full of dead birds
and rotten apples in the name
of his color zone, as he requested
but no longer needs. As I leave him,
the artist is beating his way
across the hillside
with fire and smoke
swimming from the rear
of his musty brown suit.

Used with the permission of Copper Canyon Press, P.O. Box 271, Port Townsend, WA
98368-0271, www.cc.press.org

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