Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, LAVA LANE, by NATHALIA CRANE



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LAVA LANE, by            
First Line: A starry ember of the skies, a friction-tortured zone
Last Line: The pastoral we trusted to the flagons of the vine.


A starry ember of the skies, a friction-tortured zone
Fell from a heavenly fireplace to orbit of its own.

The seasons soothed each cicatrix as 'round the sun it whirled,
Contented as a cinder foreordained to be a world.

The protoplasm double-timed, the aeons ran like rain,
Up went a sultry curtain on the stage of Lava Lane.

A summer incantation tied the shimmers to the trees,
The peris glimpsed the splendors of the painted ferneries,

A flower flamed, a parrot screamed, night spread her peacock tail,
And beauty tripped the platform of that lilac-tinted vale.

It was the first performance and the Moon a spotlight threw,
Each rosebud was a nocturne clad in nothing more than dew.

A prompter squatted on a crag -- his rapture ranked his skill,
The cue lines spurted as cascades in eagerness to spill.

The cliffside caverns were the stalls, the primitives were there,
The snowdrop and the dinosaur, the crocus and the bear,

The pythons long as parasangs, the robust butterflies --
So strong that twixt their wings they bore great vats of sweet supplies.

'Twas all upon a kinder scale, more colorful and vast.
The fountains jetted slowly in the faith that they would last.

Now he who spoils a pastoral would tantalize a nun;
There came to reign in Lava Lane the Prophet Number One.

He ripped apart the border props, he diapered the rose,
The lead he made a mummy of in woolens to her toes.

He turned the back-drops inside out for that persuasive play,
But while he scanned a make-up box the prompter stole away.

The script was in an arbor hid -- the vines began to swell,
Conditioned by a secret not a vineyard dared to tell.

It was a tense conspiracy and Lava Lane stood mute
Depending on a partizan -- the silence of the fruit.

Each mother marked her armful with a pucker of the lip,
An early reservation lest a wonder stutter drip.

The tiger tiptoed down the years, the monkey bit his tongue,
The secret rested sweetly where the purple grapes were hung.

And yet that prophet catechized the canyons of the mole,
The babies' cribs were rumpled and he raked the adder's hole.

He never found that manuscript but dying left a son
Instructed in the palsies of the Prophet Number One.

Oh, still we dream deliverance, a lilac-tinted fane,
A playhouse where the billboards dare to picture Lava Lane.

We hear an ancient overture, the night bird's violin,
A curtain rises slowly on the verities of Minn,

The earthiness and ecstacy, the heritage benign,
The pastoral we trusted to the flagons of the vine.





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