Between Fulmination and Adoration

after the music installation at Descanso Gardens, “The Sky Beneath Our Feet” by Peter Wyer
                              for George Floyd

i.  there is a reason for the phrase a riot of colors.  witness the fury of the poppies
       the blood red holly against the wax leaves.  a deer scavenges just a breath away—
a dark wound mapped to his flank where the guard hairs did not grow back.

ii.  spring does not enter quietly          let’s talk about the assault of the irises and their harsh
tongues.   let’s talk about the peony held down by the weight of the rock.

iii.  azaleas, crabapple, weeping cherry tree (snow fountain)
           overcome by roses (their quiet hearts)  I remove my mask 
                      and bury my face in their folds.  
                                  Rilke said I see you, rose, book half-opened,/
                                               having so many pages/of detailed happiness/we will never read

iv.  who can read them?  these are not words, nor pictograms, nor kanji. a rune? 
             from runasecret or whisper.  from Gaelicsecret, intention.

v.  I follow the singing toward the forest.  trace the motif of a single note to the crown 
of the oaks                   Artahe               Arte               Areix               Areixo
             voices ring the sky beneath my feet

                        here is the tongue of Eleanor of Aquitaine. the trunk 
                                    an effigy revealing the aquiline profile, 
                                                bark peeled back to a mushroom patina.  

                   someone has knit her a verb of silk and dewthe veil at Fontevraud Abbey.

what breathed will breathe again. 

vi.  Sowulo you are the last song
             sun seat of the soulI heard your music in a constellation when
                           stars kneeled from the heavens 
                                       and looked into my eyes  

                           how black the sky 
                                       how they hung from invisible strings  
                                                   something escaped the tenderness 
                                                             of his body and touched me


* The words ‘Artahe, Arte, Areix, and Areixo’ either mean oak tree or evergreen oak in Aquitanian, the ancient forerunner of modern Basque.

Copyright © 2022 by Lois P. Jones. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on September 28, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.