Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE SIGN: 1, by JAMES HARRISON

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE SIGN: 1, by                 Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography
First Line: There are no magic numbers or magic lives
Last Line: You do not need the stars for that.
Alternate Author Name(s): Harrison, Jim
Subject(s): Astrology & Astrologers; Magic; Night; Vision; Bedtime

There are no magic numbers or magic lives.
He dreams of Sagittarius in a thicket,
dogs yipe at his hooves, the eye of the archer
seaward, his gaze toward impossible things -
bird to be fish, archer and horse a whale
or dolphin; then rears up, canters
away from the shore across a wide field
of fern and honeysuckle brambles
to a woods where he nibbles at small
fresh leeks coming up among dead leaves.

̺ ̺ ̺

Strange creature to be thought of,
welded in the skull as unicorn,
hooves, bow, quiver of arrows and beard;
that girl sitting at cliff edge
or beside a brook, how does he take her?
He lifts her up to kiss her,
and at night standing by a stream,
heavy mist up to his flanks,
mist curling and floating through his legs,
a chill comes over him;
she in restless sleep in a small stone cottage.

̺ ̺ ̺

Between the scorpion and goat,
three signs -
winter in Cancer and this love of snow.

̺ ̺ ̺

And contempt for all signs, the nine
spokes of the sun, the imagined belt
of dark or girdle in which night
mantles herself. The stars guide
no one save those at sea
or in the wilderness; avoid what stinks
or causes pain, hate death and cruelty
to any living thing.
You do not need the stars for that.

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