Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, BOMBARI!, by BASIL BURWELL

Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

BOMBARI!, by            
First Line: Emerald-languorous laughter of mottled mangroves
Last Line: A delicacy into her mouth of sunless grass.

Emerald-languorous laughter of mottled mangroves
Overhangs the hippopotami of the River Bayoule,
And Barzillai Crapo floats his crested canoe
Unmindful of sonorous tigers in moondark and tan
Padding the stretched paths beyond the yellow,
Deep in the bass green of rapacious whispers.
Cousin Eliza drinks tea in New Bedford, and misses
The boots of Barzillai, bearded by mould and smelling
Of bones not cenotaphed on the wall of the Seamen's Bethel.
Where are you, Barzillai? Where is the River Bayoule?
Your dugout drifts in the shadows with crocodile day,
Remembering night and the close pack of death.
Ahoy! in the darkness. Worship the echo. Ahoy!
Ebony leopards eyed with venomous lilies,
Bounding across the midnight to pounce and fill
The gaunt bellies of stars with a huge enjoyment,
Harnessing moons with a network of iron hooks
To drag you and rush you, a whirlwind, over the jungle,
Over the cliffs of Dugu-Tigili among
The stamping feet of legends writ in the books of the
Ancient Kudus. You, Barzillai, screaming
As they lance your veins with their claw-curved sickles of deathlight.
You, Barzillai, keel-hauled on the frightening
Planets, goring your sides with a bloodless dream
Torn from a shriek of muddled leaves and harpoons;
Bombari! Bombari! screaming athwart the comets,
Shrilling among the fluid watchlights, bombari!
And Cousin Eliza on the hair sofa, spooning
A delicacy into her mouth of sunless grass.

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