I could not stop my hands clapping. I clapped
And clapped. I clapped as in the dirt the bird collapsed,
As worms grew wings, I clapped.

A man stood in a river balancing
A grape on his lips. His tears fell in the current
Swept them away. He kept performing

His trick: grape hovering over the hole
Of his open mouth and never dropping in. 
I clapped and I could not stop

My hands from wanting to cover my mouth
But they would not. They clapped
And I listened to them clap—a noise

That if there were woods would echo in
The woods. But there were no woods
I could see. Only a man. Twigs in his hair.

Bent over the water where the water stood
Most still. A tree fell in the woods
He kept speaking to his own face—

Is true if and only if a tree fell in the
Woods is true if and only if
He kept speaking to his face in the water

As I clapped, applauding the logic
That needed no belief. Like the shadows
Of bird’s wings, the shadows of my hands

On the ground. If there were birds
I could believe in
the birds so I let myself look up.

One bird kept exploding in the sky.
One flower kept dying. Isn’t it happy? a child asked,
Everything eating the sun? Isn’t it

Happy? Isn’t it—she asked, laying down
On her back in the grass—happy?
Everything eating the sun? Isn’t it—

More by Dan Beachy-Quick

Hariot's Round

     I know, to entice, to convince, I must sing
   Your ear inside stone, must sing
     Gold bitten and true, the corn kernel, one seed, 
       I must plant one gold seed in your mouth with my lips.
Raleigh says: the Queen knows my name. The Crown
       Of a woodpecker is ruby, but shy.
     Inhabitants adorn themselves with feathers, and feathers
   Bright on arrow ends. Bow--before a Queen. Bend closed my book.
The page is deaf that turns back to look at what it found.

This Nest, Swift Passerine [excerpt]

But how find how as it flew onward
& the mountains gave back the sound
to say what I mean the call of the bird
& the echoe after to say I've seen?

Raven hungers and calls and the mountain
Hungers back and calls
The whole range of peaks in the bird's beak.
Raven lonely and the mountain rings
Loneliness & the echoe after we could see
him no longer 

The echo after we could see 	Light in echo the eye sees
also through the ear 		a double infinity

Heroisms, 4, 5


I speak these words directly into his yawn

Open cave of
                    his dark almost kind
                                                  of fire-lit mouth 

And the shadows there my words form these shadows
In the back of the hero's throat

A world we applaud where chained to the ground
We watch the trees walk past us. There are other ways to describe the year:

Seasons of
The hero's boredom. 


Where the horror is comparison, honor sees
Hands in the trees instead of leaves—

Honesty asks why the applause is so quiet
When the wind blows so hard—

Breath is the atmosphere at utmost extreme
Where the lungs are flowers—thought the dew—

The sun doubts everything, a general statement
In whose light the hero sees these helpless things

Beg mercy, beg darkness for obscurity—
We do not comprehend the awe, it comprehends us—

When leaves fold in halves they look sleepy
Like eyes, but these eyes are fists