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Author: PANKEY, ERIC
Matches Found: 267


Pankey, Eric    Poet's Biography
267 poems available by this author


A BIT OF GOLD LEAF    Poem Text    
First Line: The day of judgment came and went and still the sun rose on the dragonflies
Subject(s): Past


AFTER A QUARREL IN FIESOLE       
First Line: Kindled by the cicada's worn-down flint
Last Line: One of two trails back down to town, %one of two, but neither is easy


AFTER IT'S SPENT       
First Line: I've watched the moon move through its wheel of smoke


AFTER THE BURIAL       
First Line: The lank leaves offer her a little shade


AFTER THE JAPANESE       
First Line: A stand of winter trees
Last Line: The spotted shapes of unconcerned horses, %daffodil leaves bent beneath white


AFTERWARD       
First Line: Three snow angels cast by the neighbor children


ANGEL'S DEPARTURE       
First Line: Amid thunder there's a sound without thunder
Last Line: Outstretched, wheeling over the cowlicked grasses %wheels away from her taking its judgment and reli


ANNIVERSARY: 1       
First Line: The constellation virgo harbors a black hole at its center, but
Last Line: Gathers on the pearl button of the glove, its little satin noose


ANNIVERSARY: 2       
First Line: When I said, 'but tonight I see the moon,' I did not tell the
Last Line: Of my own heart


APPROACHING ACCADEMIA: A NOCTURNE       
First Line: It gets dark while they talk
Last Line: As the slack rope unknots and releases


AS OF YET       
First Line: After my parents died, we boxed up their clothes, coats, and
Last Line: Mind's random firing as prescience


AS WE FORGIVE THOSE       
First Line: You're excused, my father would say


AT THE WAPSIPINICON RIVER       
First Line: Through the gauze curtain of rain
Last Line: That is and was and will be


AUGURY OF PROSPERO       
First Line: In the split-open breast of the lamb
Last Line: And makes a feast of his misreading


AUGUST FUGUE       
First Line: Rain, the last rain of evening, falls
Last Line: The rain is the sound that is their sleep


AUGUST HEIRLOOM       
First Line: All this was almost mine
Last Line: Like the weightless bauble the cicada sloughed


BASKET OF APRICOTS       
First Line: Flustered (words always made him flustered),
Last Line: But she slapped at the air and shooed away the gnats


BENEATH VENUS    Poem Text    
Subject(s): Venus (planet) Night


BEYOND ALCHEMY       
First Line: Always this half-light old ghost
Last Line: How in a dumbshow does silence rebuke


BONE FRAGMENTS    Poem Text    
First Line: Stray frays of virga. In the wood grain: line graph of annual rainfall
Last Line: Or perhaps a gray fox’s or a dog’s? The cracked femur spills sand
Subject(s): Bones; Knowledge


BOOK OF LAMENTATIONS       
First Line: We all have a story to tell. Mine begins
Last Line: Well-edged, sharp to the point, has been my fortune
Subject(s): Loss; Moving And Movers; Refugees; U.s. - Immigration And Emigration


BORGO ANTICO       
First Line: Nothing is mercurial above the mid-day shadows
Last Line: We live in the body because it is what we have to give


BREVIARY: 1       
First Line: The air is the physical
Last Line: At its brink overbrimming


BREVIARY: 2       
First Line: Marring the reflected sky
Last Line: The real and its reflection


BREVIARY: 3       
First Line: Take heart. The dark is dismantled
Last Line: Take heart. Please take heart


BREVIARY: 4       
First Line: For an hour, illumination
Last Line: All are counted and accountable


BREVIARY: 5       
First Line: The weight falls between two slides
Last Line: Without the clink, the recovery, the fall


BREVIARY: 6       
First Line: The dome is gray, a gray all its own
Last Line: Estranged, common, they do not intervene


BREVIARY: 7       
First Line: How impenetrable the gradations are
Last Line: Barely seen beyond the willows and outcrop


BRIC-A-BRAC    Poem Text    
First Line: Say that sin is a seed that mildewed
Subject(s): Conduct Of Life


BRIC-A-BRAC       
First Line: Say that sin is a seed that mildewed
Last Line: There's no path hacked yet through the thicket


BY DUSK       
First Line: By dusk the greenwood burned


BYGONES       
First Line: What is the past but everything
Last Line: A silence etched by burin and acid


CENOTAPH: 1       
First Line: In the shallow domain of light's fitful flare
Last Line: The cold weight of water that unearths a grave


CENOTAPH: 2       
First Line: How long did the crescent moon trawl in the wake?
Last Line: Each a tattered disguise for the travesty


CENOTAPH: 3       
First Line: From a distilled essence of quartz and rose
Last Line: Sleep as silt sleeps in its dark fall and depth


CLARITY    Poem Text    
First Line: I hear, between always and to be


CLARITY       
First Line: I hear, between always and to be
Last Line: A flicker lingers on the suet. %a peck. A smear of red and it's gone


COLD SPRING BROOK: 1       
First Line: How does light affirm in its passing
Last Line: But breathe he must, so he breathes in


COLD SPRING BROOK: 2       
First Line: He builds the entire composition
Last Line: Within the lightning-quickened instant


COLD SPRING BROOK: 3       
First Line: He has made of the narrow threshold
Last Line: Doused as it is by the cold, damp breeze


COLD SPRING BROOK: 4       
First Line: One june, after weeks of no rain
Last Line: By a restless, wild welter, redeemed


COLD SPRING BROOK: 5       
First Line: It began as a sketch, and remains such
Last Line: Leaves the world, in its abstraction, true


COLD SPRING BROOK: 6       
First Line: The crow lives in the aftermath
Last Line: A hollow that fills and fills with what falls


COLD SPRING BROOK: 7       
First Line: Say all of it can be taken back
Last Line: A net that traps him under the surface


COLD SPRING BROOK: 8       
First Line: Oh, he half-sings. The book of moonlight
Last Line: Bound as he is, he lets the dark come on


COLD WAR       
First Line: My mother nods off. A lit cigarette
Last Line: Lightning, our of sync, preens the maple


COMES A TIME       
First Line: There comes a time when you no longer believe the night
Last Line: Answer, 'I...,' knowing there comes a time


COMMEDIA       
First Line: Besieged by nightfall, they fear
Last Line: And, to resolve the comedy, kiss


CONFESSION ON THE ISLAND       
First Line: Bound to them in their bondage to me
Last Line: I am blessed you took pity on me


CONFESSIONAL POEM       
First Line: The story would not resolve itself for the telling. It remained
Last Line: From the trauma of creation


CONSOLATION       
First Line: One story he always told


CONSTELLATIONS OF AUTUMN       
First Line: Who oversees this congregation, this collect of caws, this clamor of rooks
Last Line: Western hills. The sun all haze. Read the poems of my teachers and go %back to bed
Subject(s): Autumn; Constellations; Seasons


COORDINATES       
First Line: Ten thousand worlds in the eye of a deerfly
Last Line: Everywhere at once, then nowhere, where it lives


CRAB APPLE       
First Line: The thin chipped branches of the crab apples
Last Line: You almost forget the season they flower


CROSSROADS       
First Line: Is it for the enigma of the hour?
Last Line: A hollow cathedral of chaff at the crossroads


CROW'S COMPLAINT       
First Line: Beneath the rain, the crow
Last Line: It waits, %uncharmed. Stays put


DANCE GLYPHS       
First Line: The riddle begins: the deer enters the winter arbor
Last Line: The riddle begins: the far bank of the river


DETAIL FROM THE LAMENTATION OVER THE DEAD CHRIST       
First Line: The final gift that each affords
Last Line: Once. Once she was alive with him


DETAILS       
First Line: As the fog lifts %the once-obscured is revealed at this
Last Line: Is this. Is this, this, this, and this
Subject(s): Details


DISQUISITION OF A GESTURE       
First Line: I am no longer that orphan
Last Line: I would count the hours


DIVINATION AT CHAPMAN BEACH       
First Line: I mention the light on cold spring brook
Last Line: Like a dove's blurred flight. Then a blue like water


DON GIOVANNI IN HELL       
First Line: The owl and bell betray the hour
Last Line: Grace, like a scythe, cuts what it cradles


DOTAGE OF PROSPERO       
First Line: Untouched by his craft or alchemy
Last Line: Falls then lifts silently on the night's hot air


DREAM LANDSCAPE WITH THE OLD BRICKYARD ROAD CREEK AND BLIND WILLIE       
First Line: I have returned to the creek, to the current-scalloped sand
Last Line: With one or two steps, he can ford the depth and distance home


DREAM LANDSCAPE WITH THE OLD BRICKYARD ROAD CREEK AND BLIND WILLIE JOHNSON    Poem Text    
First Line: Not the seed pearl, but the juniper


DRIVING SOUTH FROM IOWA CITY       
First Line: The whole day


EAGLE-HEADED GENIE WATERING THE TREE OF LIFE       
First Line: A thread of fragrance, as from garlands
Last Line: No words lift of their own accord from the page


ELEGIAC VARIATIONS: 1. MOOD INDIGO       
First Line: Ahead of me the day ahead
Last Line: How far I have come to be only here


ELEGIAC VARIATIONS: 2. THE STARLING'S LULLABY       
First Line: Another day kindled and put out
Last Line: What it burns it fuels with the soul


ELEGIAC VARIATIONS: 3. THE PARABLE OF THE VINEYARD       
First Line: The moon %its mouth sealed shut with wax
Last Line: And the thistle worn to a crown


ELEGIAC VARIATIONS: 4. THREE CROWS       
First Line: Three crows overthrow the canopy
Last Line: I was called by name and did not follow


ELEGIAC VARIATIONS: 5. THE BLUES       
First Line: How heavy the mortal body of christ
Last Line: Lord I just can't keep from crying sometimes


ELEGIAC VARIATIONS: 6. STUDY FOR RAIN       
First Line: Between cypress and olive
Last Line: I should have said this rain was sweeter


ELEGIAC VARIATIONS: 7. NOCTURNE AND REFRAIN       
First Line: Now you may have the final word
Last Line: Now you may have the final word


ELEGIAC VARIATIONS: 8. CONFRONTING THE ORACLE IN FIESOLE       
First Line: Only a lizard to show the way
Last Line: For now still it holds its tongue


ELEGIST       
First Line: I exhumed from the muck, loam, and alluvial deposits a thousand
Last Line: The very logic of telling


ELEGY       
First Line: Sure, the earth gives back what it chooses
Last Line: That takes the shape of everything I own


ENCOUNTERS: 1       
First Line: He began to climb the slender tree
Last Line: And he watched as she walked into the center, %silently, a whit figure descending into blue


ENCOUNTERS: 2       
First Line: Once, during the occupation, he left the bars
Last Line: Faint steam lifted from the eroded furrows, %almost unnoticeable against the settling evening


EPHEMERA OF AUGUST       
First Line: I hung the heavy, beheaded body on the blade
Last Line: An heirloom bestowed, at the hot close of those last days


EPITAPH    Poem Text    
First Line: Beyond the traceries of the auroras
Subject(s): Ghosts


EPITAPH       
First Line: Beyond the traceries of the auroras
Last Line: Runoff, pitch-black, from the rivers of psalms


ERRATA       
First Line: I counted the three species of fire
Last Line: Annulled by its own reflection


ESSAY ON IDLENESS    Poem Text    
First Line: Clear sky, / but somewhere a shrug of thunder
Last Line: Delays as it waits for a fig to open
Subject(s): Idleness


ESSAYS ON A LEMON       
First Line: Violet shadow. A blur
Last Line: It reveals only itself


FALSE SPRING       
First Line: I look into a stubbled field
Last Line: It stalls, then lifts %in its bright spasm of flight. %it knows it's been fooled


FEAST IN JERUSALEM       
First Line: Once as clear as ivory
Last Line: Or the one we accuse, %but into our eyes


FIELD NOTE    Poem Text    
Subject(s): Nature


FIELD OF VISION       
First Line: Overwhelmed by rain, by that cross-grain of cold
Last Line: A self-portrait through which he must look to see


FINAL THOUGHT       
First Line: What I have written thus far is but a treatise
Last Line: Like a slipknot around nothing and undoes itself


FIRE       
First Line: Fire gnaws the green stems
Last Line: How clean and white the glow


FIRES       
First Line: This morning we found
Last Line: The dull glow dissolving, %reappearing. Small miracles %firing the air


FOOL'S GOLD       
First Line: I was not the type


FOR LUCK    Poem Text    
First Line: You know for sure you're lucky
Subject(s): Luck


FOR LUCK       
First Line: You know for sure you are lucky


FOR NOW       
First Line: For now, he prefers adagio to presto
Last Line: Balanced like a pearl on his tongue


FOR THE END OF THE WORLD       
First Line: A large torn branch, broken by wind


FOR THE NEW YEAR       
First Line: White walls kept white, rubbed with chalk
Last Line: This light after the body's %pleasure. Always this light


FROM DANGER       
First Line: Sometimes the day stalls, but does not falter


GHOST OF A CHANCE       
First Line: It is all here-thistle, ground cherry
Last Line: Knot this blood traces through my body. %I forgot how heavy you could be


GIFT       
First Line: No one is waiting. No one watches
Last Line: Something simple, ordianry. %something you might learn to fear


GRAVE OF A WOMAN       
First Line: All the flesh left is a patch of leather
Last Line: The earth the meek shall inherit


GUARD: 1934: 1       
First Line: Sometimes I wake up at night
Last Line: I asked my brother. Don't you see, he laughed, %it don't mean a thing, not a thing


GUARD: 1934: 2       
First Line: I get to where I can forget
Last Line: Into the length of a tunnel %and I felt better. I felt okay


GUARD: 1934: 3       
First Line: I went into town for a half-hour
Last Line: I didn't care about the chickens anymore


GUARD: 1934: 4       
First Line: After this evening's rain
Last Line: I like that smell. The taste of the air


HISTORY    Poem Text    
First Line: A hundred flint arrowheads, chipped, rain
Subject(s): Politics & Government; War


HISTORY       
First Line: A hundred flint arrowheads, chipped, rain
Last Line: Of fearlessness, the gift-bestowing gesture %of compassion
Subject(s): Politics; War


HISTORY OF THE WORLD       
First Line: Cumbersome grief, grief, %by its form fragmentary, is now our history
Last Line: A song that calls us to celebrate and mourn %that each day is not the day of judgment


HOMAGE       
First Line: O my god, looming and rough-hewn
Last Line: The flawed from this hammerdressed world


HOMAGE       
First Line: What prepares each day for the light that equals day


HOME REMEDY    Poem Text    
First Line: The whiskey made me invisible
Last Line: To stand in it was to blaze / effaced
Subject(s): Drinks & Drinking; Past


HOMECOMING    Poem Text    
First Line: In time, thunder unshackles the rain
Subject(s): Loss; Moving & Movers; Refugees; U.s. - Immigration And Emigration


HOMECOMING       
First Line: In time, thunder unshackles the rain
Last Line: The bird for the objection its sustains?
Subject(s): Loss; Moving And Movers; Refugees; U.s. - Immigration And Emigration


HORSE       
First Line: The horse my mother sits on is pocked
Last Line: The only thing she can do is wait


HOW TO SUSTAIN THE VISIONARY MODE       
First Line: Wherever possible, avoid predication: the night sea, the dark river, this rain
Last Line: Longer quarried in these hills, gray as the pigeons tucked in the eaves, this rain, this dark river,


IF YOU CAN       
First Line: In your life you will bruise your heel


ILLUMINATION OF HEAVEN AND EARTH       
First Line: On all sides


IMPROVISATION       
First Line: The only bridge across wind river is the wind
Last Line: Put a line through it. X it out: the wind over the lip of the green bottle. The wind-frayed stamen


IMPROVISATION OF FOUR LINES FROM THE SANSKRIT       
First Line: All things have their antidote: %a stick for the ox
Last Line: But for the restless repose of my gaze


IN ABSENTIA       
First Line: The sky is indigo and potash
Last Line: A sudden drizzle casts its aspersions


IN ARCADIA       
First Line: Half buried in scrub and red poppies
Last Line: There and gone. There and gone. There


IN BALANCE    Poem Text    
First Line: A large torn branch, broken by wind
Subject(s): Snow; Storms


IN HEAVEN       
First Line: If wind slashes through the honey locust
Last Line: Her discrete approach? She never arrives


IN SIENA, PROSPERO RECONSIDERS THE MARRIAGE AT CANA       
First Line: All sleight-of-hand trails the dross and clutter
Last Line: And no one, not even god, lifted a finger


INERTIA    Poem Text    
First Line: Say, for instance the stark exposure and awkward pose of this
Subject(s): Crucifixion; Jesus Christ - Crucifixion


INTERLUDE    Poem Text    
First Line: Beneath the violet embellishment of trellised wisteria


INTERLUDE       
First Line: Beneath the violet embellishment of trellised wisteria
Last Line: Will not break from the shadow and answer


INTO HAPPINESS       
First Line: Just last week I was bent with sickness


JUNE VAGARIES    Poem Text    
First Line: Now the mouirning dove vows a doubtful vow
Subject(s): Birds


JUNE VAGARIES       
First Line: Now the mourning dove vows a doubtful vow
Last Line: Inflects its one sentence as a question


KEEPSAKE       
First Line: Not the seed pearl, but the juniper
Last Line: The tallow of flesh


KINGDOM LIKENED TO A FIELD OF WEEDS       
First Line: The green is not wheat, but mustard
Last Line: No shade falls on the kingdom of weeds


KINGDOM OF GOD LIKENED TO A DEER CARCASS       
First Line: What the crow abandons, worms relish
Last Line: What the wind forsakes, dogs will drag away


LANDSCAPE AND SELF-PORTRAIT       
First Line: Two notes and an interval of silence. Not here
Last Line: Held fast and holds. The image was the image at hand


LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS       
First Line: What does the rosemary remember?
Last Line: The rue that once cleansed the afflicted?


LATE AUGUST       
First Line: While you are packing
Last Line: There is a breeze, %a thick slow wind still full of heat, %but it is motion, a relief


LESSON OF SNAKES       
First Line: The seedpods of the catalpa drooped and curled
Last Line: To burn and throb at last, to enliven me


LIGHT BY WHICH I READ    Poem Text    
First Line: One does not turn to the rose for shade, nor the charred song of the redwing for solace - see more a
Subject(s): Books; Reading


LINES IN MEMORY OF MY FATHER: PONTE SANTA TRINITA       
First Line: Water tarnishes %green and cinnabar
Last Line: I can live with it %my father said %meaning he'd rather not


LUNAR ODE       
First Line: O spare charity and arctic ash
Last Line: O for even the moon's light, for an iota of air


MANIFEST DESTINY       
First Line: Where his left hand fulcrums the shaft
Last Line: All he touches is changed for good


MANNER OF FIRE       
First Line: One season verges into the next
Last Line: And crowned by dust, %in its full quiet, %is its own calm commentary


MEDITATION AT HINKSON CREEK: THANKSGIVING, 1980       
First Line: The wolf knows nothing of the path I follow
Last Line: Than the flooded creek's debacle of ice


MELANCHOLIA       
First Line: Removed from its axle, the chipped grindstone
Last Line: That distance to arrange and in arranging change


MEMORY OF HEAVEN    Poem Text    
First Line: On earth we loved the waste of orchard, those branches
Subject(s): Heaven; Paradise


MEMORY OF HEAVEN       
First Line: On earth we loved the waste of orchard, those branches


METAPHOR       
First Line: To capture the morning


METAPHYSICIAN'S INSOMNIA       
First Line: The wind kicks up surf and keeps him awake
Last Line: Then the bad aftertaste of a long night


MILK GLASS       
First Line: What was left to her she now leaves to me
Last Line: As welcome as frost on the window, hard frost %that daybreak will not melt away


MUSE'S ADMONITION       
First Line: Party lights in the distance waver and dim
Last Line: A mouth opening to speak


MUTE SPIRITS       
First Line: There were other ghosts
Last Line: Like the cloak of a spirit in a street play, %knows no words to explain this first death to his son


NARRATION OF RAIN       
First Line: Rain blows through the pines. Rain rattles water oak leaves. Rain on the stone
Last Line: The rain on the face of the hunter and on the sorrowful face of the prey


NARRATIVE POEM       
First Line: The story of a story is order over chaos
Last Line: The story of a story is order over chaos


NEARSIGHTED       
First Line: Over on the far point
Last Line: And squint. The whole thing flares like a burning net, %a trap sprung each night and empty


NIGHTSHADE       
First Line: Those shadows, those flame shapes below


NOCTURNE AND MORNING SONG       
First Line: Soon enough silence will reign
Last Line: O god of clamor. O god of silence


NOSTALGIA       
First Line: Afterward, it was hard to sleep at night
Last Line: Finds his own mouth formed around an unsayable word?


ODE ON THE PRESENT TENSE       
First Line: Once more this winter seems all winters past


OLD SAYBROOK       
First Line: The ray must have been looking for something
Last Line: I knew by now the kitchen %would be warm filled with light, %and you would be waking


ON THE WAPSIPINICON       
First Line: A hawk rides a thermal
Last Line: Away from a source and toward an end
Subject(s): Change


ON THE WAY TO SINGAPORE       
First Line: This kind of fear is not new to me
Last Line: And you have the idea that you too %will die and be thrown into the sea


OR THORNS COMPOSE SO RICH A CROWN       
First Line: The greens-kingfisher, fern, cut shoot, mineral-constellate amid the
Last Line: Or, I could continue, and offer another story made of only the versions' %contradictions


OTHER SIDE OF THE ARGUMENT       
First Line: But she prefers the morning glory
Last Line: How it needs only a foothold %to fill half the day with blue
Subject(s): Flowers; Morning Glories


OVER HIS SLEEPING AND HIS WAKING       
First Line: Here, he thinks, was a kingdom. The leaf he crushes


OVERCOAT       
First Line: The day my father came home, blood still wet


PALIMPSEST OF CHALKED EQUATIONS AND ERASURES    Poem Text    
First Line: The freight of ambiguity can be figured as
Last Line: Collapsed beneath a bountiful harvest
Subject(s): Poetry & Poets


PALM SUNDAY       
First Line: Three weeks ago forsythia rattled its sticks
Last Line: Each year she looks out for an answer and finds %only spring's unmiraculous onslaught


PEAR AS ONE EXAMPLE       
First Line: Light, the common denominator
Last Line: He holds what anyone would call a pear


PERSEPHONE'S GARDEN       
First Line: The makeshift scaffold that held up the moon
Last Line: A story the digression overtakes
Subject(s): Moon; Night


PHOTOGRAPH OF MY PARENTS ICE SKATING, 1954       
First Line: The slight mist lifts into the upper branches
Last Line: And they will talk quietly %as if not to wake someone


PHRASE OF THINE ACTIONS       
First Line: What I know of the sacred is a gloss
Last Line: What is dust that he would think to reshape it


PILGRIM'S DEPARTURE       
First Line: Now that the sedge and reed warblers
Last Line: The other is on the tip of my tongue


PILGRIMAGE OF MY FATHER'S GHOST       
First Line: Halfway home, he comes to the field's edge
Last Line: The sun, still cold, consumes him like a fever


POLITICS OF HAPPINESS       
First Line: So I said-this is what I am
Last Line: This happiness is a curse, %althought to love it %is to call it something else


PRAYER       
First Line: Each day, adorned and in shambles, is your offering
Last Line: You who see the cleft in all that is divisible


PROSPERO CONSIDERS THE LAST DAYS       
First Line: What is love in his brackish blood
Last Line: He had imagined his love more like that


PROSPERO RETURNED FROM EXILE       
First Line: He cursed the flinty soil and a fig tree grew
Last Line: An island to which all are pulled safe ashore


PROSPERO STAYS HOME FROM CHURCH       
First Line: What if he called a thousand miles arrival
Last Line: Bach, and therefore the art of the fugue


PROSPERO TAKES HIS MORFNING COFFEE WITH THE CONSPIRATORS       
First Line: This morning a trail of spots mars the sun
Last Line: Find themselves lost, wrecked on his words


QUARTET       
First Line: All morning the song of a pulley's creak
Last Line: Until he looks again and finds it gone


READING IN BED       
First Line: Chekhov writes of a man
Last Line: The trees on either side %would grow larger and separate, %detailed, though bare


REASONS OF ICE       
First Line: The house sits up ahead on the hill
Last Line: Its eyes, in shade, darker than mud, %its large fist of a head cowlicked


RECONSTRUCTION OF THE FICTIVE SPACE       
First Line: He opens his eyes and a season passes
Last Line: The afterlife of the afterimage


REDEMPTION SONGS       
First Line: The story goes that seth returned to eden in search of a branch
Last Line: The simple music served its purpose


RESTLESS GHOST    Poem Text    
First Line: The wasp's paper nest hung all winter.
Subject(s): Wasps; Ghosts; Yellow Jackets


RESURRECTION OF THE BODY       
First Line: Do all who lie down expect to awake?
Last Line: The earth the meek will inherit


RETURNING IN WINTER       
First Line: Think what you will about this place where we have come
Last Line: We were so wise then. We believed cruelty was weather, and %could change


SACRED AND PROFANE LOVE       
First Line: If it is indeed more fitting
Last Line: What is a heart that consumes and is consumed?


SANDY POINT ROAD: AN ECLOGUE       
First Line: Again the day begins: the hour like galilee
Last Line: Yes, there is a path before me and I follow it


SANTO SPIRITO       
First Line: Above the terra cotta roofs, swallows dart
Last Line: Revived, we hold each other and we rest


SAVANT OF BIRDCALLS    Poem Text    
First Line: The blue herons' do-si-do,
Subject(s): Birds


SAVANT OF BIRDCALLS       
First Line: The blue herons' do-si-do
Last Line: Question the truth of my name


SEE THAT MY GRAVE IS SWEPT CLEAN    Poem Text    
First Line: Words are but an entrance, a door cut deep into cold clay
Subject(s): Graves; Language; Tombs; Tombstones; Words; Vocabulary


SEE THAT MY GRAVE IS SWEPT CLEAN       
First Line: Words are but an entrance, a door cut deep into cold clay
Last Line: Are words but an entrance? Words are but an entrance
Subject(s): Graves; Language


SERENADE       
First Line: All is a tally of remnants and patches:
Last Line: Lowers its veil as if a drama's end %were imminent, as if to keep separate %the mundane from the mun


SKETCHBOOK OF THE DEMIURGE, SELS.       
First Line: As one season stains the next
Last Line: Taking comfort you'll know what he means


SMALL CORPUS       
First Line: There where the thread breaks
Last Line: He sees a sky as blue as a god's body


SMOKE       
First Line: My brother and I cut a tunnel
Last Line: Smoke spread through the tunnel. The dark %was close enough to fill the cracks


SOBER THEN DRUNK AGAIN    Poem Text    
First Line: On the lightning-struck pin oak,
Subject(s): Drinks & Drinking; Wine


ST. JEROME: 1       
First Line: Outlined in the light of burning brush
Last Line: I expect their ghost-weight to lift %above the white branches like smoke


ST. JEROME: 2       
First Line: When I was young I'd prowl the catacombs
Last Line: The place had the smell of the earth %or a thing the body never knows itself to be


ST. JEROME: 3       
First Line: The translucent shell of a cicada
Last Line: Sleep is no good when it is murderous


STORM'S END       
First Line: The tarpaulin of rain torn away
Last Line: As much in exhaustion as in reverence


STORMS       
First Line: After a storm unbraided itself
Last Line: Only our strokes and the first drops %disturbed the water


STRIKING THE COPPER BOWL TO IMITATE THE SINGING DRAGON       
First Line: All evening the dark bleeds through
Last Line: And such a fire feral %and immeasurable


STRUCTURE OF FAITH       
First Line: Something in the air
Last Line: A tumultuous stratagem %it seems a gift, a fluke, %or evidence


STUDIO WITH VANITAS STILL LIFE       
First Line: The body, a vessel of shadow
Last Line: A flash followed by thunder, by rain


STUDY       
First Line: The wind. All things touched by wind
Last Line: Like the eye of a hawk when the hood is lifted


STUDY FOR SALOME DANCING BEFORE HEROD    Poem Text    
First Line: In the movement toward disappearance
Subject(s): Salome (1st Century A.d.)


SWORN DEPOSITION       
First Line: What he remembers holds like a slipknot
Last Line: Read back his answer, he cannot retract it


TAINTER'S FARM       
First Line: Everything in the landscape
Last Line: As though each wind adds to the erasures, %to the white sky holding, %by now, nothing


TE DEUM LAUDAMUS       
First Line: Out on the sound
Last Line: On how the deed %and the sentence are never just


TENDING THE GARDEN: 1       
First Line: The clod of earth in his shovel
Last Line: He knew what freight the train carried- %white faces framed by narrow slats


TENDING THE GARDEN: 2       
First Line: I was luckier than most, luckier
Last Line: But now, nothing as obvious as a kiss %could reinvent that girl or change anything


TENDING THE GARDEN: 3       
First Line: That night he woke on the wooden bunk
Last Line: It is what might cover one and take one's breath away. %completely, a final time


TENDING THE GARDEN: 4       
First Line: The trains pass more frequently. The whistle
Last Line: And that I would choose to remember it %on this particular day, this moment


TENDING THE GARDEN: 5       
First Line: She thought it was unusual
Last Line: She lifted the pails slightly at her sides %to show she could not accept the gift


TENDING THE GARDEN: 6       
First Line: The man beside her cried
Last Line: And realize she would never touch %herself as intimately %orwith such a pure and generous fear


TENDING THE GARDEN: 7       
First Line: I often think of going back
Last Line: On the soaked black earth. I hope %he survived, if he ever existed


TENEBRAE       
First Line: How can we doubters explain the midday dark
Last Line: How can we believe his tomb will stand %emptied, cenotaph to a god and man?


TESTAMENT       
First Line: How far and how keenly the causeway cuts
Last Line: On water not calm, but untroubled


THE BEAUTIFUL GARDENER OR THE CREATION OF EVE    Poem Text    
First Line: I return to the dream as if to a hive
Last Line: Not a flare when the frame snags and burns
Subject(s): Dreams


THE CONSTELLATIONS OF AUTUMN    Poem Text    
First Line: Who oversees this congregation, this collect of caws, this clamor of rooks
Subject(s): Autumn; Constellations; Seasons; Fall


THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS    Poem Text    
First Line: What does the rosemary remember?
Subject(s): Flowers


THE LITTLE VILLAGE    Poem Text    
First Line: Dusk as silent as an owl’s wing. The old wall, built by the romans, or built to keep the romans out
Last Line: Planchette on the ouija board centered over no
Subject(s): Villages; Ptovence, France


THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ARGUMENT    Poem Text    
First Line: But she prefers the morning glory
Last Line: To fill half the day with blue
Subject(s): Flowers; Morning Glories


THE PHRASE OF THINE ACTIONS    Poem Text    
First Line: What I know of the sacred is a gloss
Subject(s): Religion; Theology


THE PLUM ON THE SILL    Poem Text    
First Line: The cold at its poles and blush
Subject(s): Plums; Plum Trees


THE PROBLEM WITH THE FIRST PERSON    Poem Text    
First Line: I confront silence as if it were a space


THE RESURRECTION OF THE BODY    Poem Text    
First Line: Do all who lie down expect to awake?
Subject(s): Death; Future Life; Dead, The; Retribution; Eternity; After Life


THE UNSTRUNG LYRE    Poem Text    
First Line: With what can I string this antique lyre
Subject(s): Life; Musical Instruments


THIS MORNING       
First Line: Hoarfrost flowers on the stubble
Last Line: And the gray horse, its mane hatched in ice slivers, %tears at the bent, shagged stalks


TO ABEL       
First Line: I give it up-the earth, what it held for me
Last Line: Take this blow with forgiveness, as a gift


TO CHRIST OUR LORD       
First Line: A fire unhooks the snag
Last Line: What is love compared to shame


TO JOSE DEL VALLE, OCTOBER, 1981       
First Line: I walked home last night
Last Line: It's raining here. Coincidence


TO OLGA KNIPPER       
First Line: My little actress
Last Line: Someday. I hope to see you soon


TO THE MAGPIE ON THE ROOF OF THE MANGER       
First Line: You hid each star but one in a shallow shadow box
Last Line: Over which I hang headfirst, confused like the damned


TORNADO WEATHER    Poem Text    
First Line: This evening in the settling dark
Subject(s): Tornadoes


TORNADO WEATHER       
First Line: This evening in the settling dark
Last Line: June bugs rattle the screen, annoying as ever, %like the song he murmured that would not let me slee
Subject(s): Tornadoes


TULIP       
First Line: Worthy sovereign of pandemonium
Last Line: Lord of farce, make this tilled dirt your altar


TWO ASIDES BENEATH THE NEW MOON       
First Line: Shadows fill the shallow basin of the bay
Last Line: Good night, he'll say. Goodnight, I'll say. Good night


TWO-PART INVENTION       
First Line: One should not love the grackle for its song
Last Line: If god is a word, then words sally us forth


UNDERDRAWING       
First Line: The wind-brindled marsh surface
Last Line: But soon cannot see through the marks my hand has left


UNSTRUNG LYRE (2)       
First Line: These unaccompanied words, a cappella
Last Line: Upon which no tomorrow is postponed


VALLEJO: PARIS, 1938: 1       
First Line: In the gray-green of a photograph
Last Line: All this darkness has weight %and you have measured it %and carried it these years


VALLEJO: PARIS, 1938: 2       
First Line: You said you would die in paris on a thursday
Last Line: And from a fever you cried, %voy a espana


VARIATIONS ON A THEME: 1. MATTHEW 7:1-2       
First Line: Still, there are those who build their houses
Last Line: And prattle, and, of course, the vista %that was his temptation to build here


VARIATIONS ON A THEME: 2. GENESIS 3:17-24       
First Line: Let's asume a fracture, or a tear
Last Line: And bricks. The skilled work of hands - no - hooves. %do not, dear reader, think of mercy


VENETIAN AFTERTHOUGHT       
First Line: If a lit chandelier is lowered
Last Line: Bit by salt air and rust, lie unhinged


VOLATILE SPIRITS       
First Line: The day I'll die I'll know, if I know it at all, only posthumously, a moment
Last Line: To the bracken well, to the whole heavenly host of volatile spirits


WALK WITH MY FATHER       
First Line: A columbine's clear violet after noon rain
Last Line: Worked its gill. Opening, open, as if that would help


WEEKEND GARDENER       
First Line: He stands in the garden and thinks as we all do
Last Line: Say of him, as if it were the truth, he's at home %in the garden, which he takes to mean the world


WHEN THE WOOD IS GREEN       
First Line: The ample day hisitates, and that brief delay


WHITES (ELY, NEVADA, 1953)       
First Line: The scar, the moon, the blind man's can, the gluey soup of b
Last Line: Glaciers' paunches, slow and heavy, on the altar wall, the body %of the savior, in the tub upstairs,


WIND'S RELIQUARY       
First Line: The wind, everywhere and nowhere
Last Line: That is how gods were named. One at a tme, like newborns
Subject(s): Wind


WIND'S RELIQUARY       
First Line: What rain does not flood, the wind defaces
Last Line: The wind bestows at random randomness


WINTER ANNIVERSARY       
First Line: Again this year the moonlight
Last Line: The water dripping beneath it, then freezing, %still months before a real thaw


WINTER DINNER       
First Line: When the hunter returned
Last Line: And painted on a empty frail ceramic vase, %violets and wild strawberries


WINTER IN REVISION       
First Line: The holly, like a vessel of magic
Last Line: But hard berries like blood in their beaks


WITHIN A CIRCLE OF RAIN, MY FATHER       
First Line: He waited for a light


WITHOUT YOU       
First Line: The water yields no distance to the oar
Last Line: Four walls and one burnt match are my hell


WORDS TO A GHOST       
First Line: I put my hand on my heart, but pledge nothing
Last Line: But first you must breathe


WORK    Poem Text    
First Line: Once I believed in days like today
Subject(s): Conduct Of Life; Happiness; Joy; Delight


WORK       
First Line: Once I believed in days like today


WORLD ENOUGH       
First Line: Here the garlic is a lily
Last Line: By the tool brought to bear