1 Into the laterals and faults of strata Whose linear seams are like memory, Water wades its way, settling matters In small aquifers, incised meanders; Then floods over a landscape that teaches Plains are only so much sediment, Silt the slow ocean of any reach. Think travertine and serpentine mantel- high in living rooms, or kames and tills Scattered like loose change, the marvelous marble Of dolomite and metamorphic rock, Or granite now as coolingly aloof As someday overhead . . . small seismic self Feeling a gust rattle years through the roof. Meanwhile, there’s still the phone and mail, the door, And the reassuring fact the fault’s not yours As you’ve not budged. Not even the cat crosses the floor. Outside, the world’s continuum of nests Is full of cries announcing differences, While mineshaft down, the brittle shale of self Waits, certain of its own circumferences. One is colossus of one’s growing doubt, With ideas like past presidents profiled And floating enthusiastic shouts From old elections, conclusions of the will, The dehydrations of mere permanence. But high wing over shadow, how the world Doubles in its transience. 2 Resplendently fragile, more color than weight, As agile of flight as of changed habitat, The birds are choric in the fate Of their varieties; predictable Of habit and Darwinian choices, Myriad on one scale, and on another Essential and of but one in all. And voices, This side liquid whistles followed by a trill, While there, a series of clear carolings, Then the rapid whinnies of descending will While somewhere overhead a finch attempts All notes at once, as though to summarize The way limbs ladder up, step green to blue So shadows rise. But year on year, wing beat and season, Fattened or starved, silent or full Of migratory sass, one reason Brings each back, whether the same or no— Warbler and thrush, sparrow and finch, wren, jay, Thrasher and dove, tanager, waxwing, owl, crow, hawk . . . They light, feed, breed, migrate or stay. Calendar wise in their brief histories And vulnerable as any emigrants Searching to eat, they are geographies Of days, convergences of now, And needed if for nothing more than their arrival When, worthy that again we crane to see, They bring survival.
Wyatt Prunty - 1947-
For weeks he’s tunneled his intricate need Through the root-rich, fibrous, humoral dark, Buckling up in zagged illegibles The cuneiforms and cursives of a blind scribe. Sleeved by soft earth, a slow reach knuckling, Small tributaries open from his nudge— Mild immigrant, bland isolationist, Berm builder edging the runneling world. But now the snow, and he’s gone quietly deep, Nuzzling through a muzzy neighborhood Of dead-end-street, abandoned cul-de-sac, And boltrun from a dead-leaf, roundhouse burrow. May he emerge four months from this as before, Myopic master of the possible, Wise one who understands prudential ground, Revisionist of all things green; So when he surfaces, lumplike, bashful, Quizzical as the flashbulb blind who wait For color to return, he’ll nose our green- rich air with the imperative poise of now.