Beneath Is Better (A Theory of Understanding)

wings of angels rustle in Latin
says Zbigniew Herbert

I recall so little (amo amas
amat
) the little so broken I
sauntered soundless
down paths in the park

I heard a policeman speak
in fragments from above

from a helicopter I understood
little

less than Latin

rotors and engines and roaring traffic
a soup of grammars and syntax

Angel is an ancient word for
Entropy which word was invented
in 1868 by Clausius

I mean the turning inward
downward
demanded by police

Energy is another word another
world at night a bird

probably mockingbird

keeps awake
the weary

means nothing by it
“Means”
“Nothing”

entropia, turning inward
an older word

than the French for Cajun
acadienne but

perspective was invented by Vitruvius
then was not needed until
the invention of the railroad in 1789
by William Jessup who
invented the wheel
or a flanged version of it
to hang onto an iron rail

I learned from a book there are
trees beneath earth

Geoxylic suffrutices
forests sunk

trunks underground
and the merest wisp
of leaves left visible

within earth beneath fire
beneath breath of man or cosmos
immortal wooden wilderness.

Into Bad Weather Bounding

(After Wallace Stevens' "Of The Surface Of Things")
Colligated points, dust, ultimately a cloud, as in
an orographic cloud in Colorado cringing against
a horizon. Boundaried vision and vapor conspire 

to exhale, exalt into rain random dispersal into 
the present: I see as far as that. I never saw farther.

In sinking air, mammatus cloud a sign the storm
has passed is passing... I walk happily whenever 
or sometimes pass the last bad sign the bounded 

land, I am sad as you are doubtless. Sad said 
the bad man, somber. Otherwise say:
In my room the world is beyond 
my understanding;/ But when I walk I see 
that it consists of three or four hills 
and a cloud.

Making It Up as You Go Along

Lucretius loved Epicurus, knew
the world through him; his
meaning was clear: love as a way
of knowing, of assuming the known.

To know is to narrate.
People die trying to tell what
it was like there then. Others
die of not trying. The form of this
telling is, for example,
a trellis. A growth controlled
unpredictable within measure.

Trellis. Tri licium. three threads.
The weaver knows
through the fingers the way worlds
hold together. Basket makers.
The shadow of a trellis is filled
against itself, against measure.
See the sun try again to
stop the movement of the rose

climbing among the woven ways.

Animals Imagined

A boy on a horse,
a boy on a horse along a river.
Less simple—time intervenes thievish.
A boy on a horse in the rain along a river.
A picture emerges from mist—faint rain
hiding the regnant risk, arrowing rain,
boy lost on a horse in the rain along a river,
a high bluff beside water. Story:
the bit firm in the horse’s mouth
the hand of the boy unfirm.
What we played we played, dangerous
only in retrospect.
If it can be remembered
it was survived,
the era of imagined
horses in radiant landscape;
only the rivers remain.