I've reached the projected center of this seemingly-endless poem... this is the concluding section of chapt. 6, Bk 2... the 144th poem so far. But Lanthanum is a see-saw of plans & improvisation... & I realized this morning that my grandfather John Ravlin's cousin Grace's painting called "Pink Gate" fit quite well into what I'm trying to accomplish at this stage... so here we go.
About a century ago (just 86 years before
now, to be precise) my great-grand-cousin Grace
painted a picture of the Pink Gate, in Tangiers.
What found its way through lingering eyes, your
fingers traced for us to see : feminine
seagull-panopticon, settled into soft
earth-jar. Variations on flesh-tone
theme (friable clay & palm-leaf green)
balanced on a pink gate at the center of the frame.
Not supercilious or grandiose, not superhuman,
domineering... rather, serviceable, sane.
Humane... charming. Earth, sans fear & blame ‒
clear, sun-washed. Grace... in your eye &
hand. & it was like a dream, out of sand ‒
an oasis at the center, a gate of human-
colored clay. From single minuscule seed
(infinitesimal ‒ no more than 1/137th
of a centimeter ‒ smaller than grain of salt)
buried by sluggish river, emerged the tallest,
vaulting tree. Slowly, slowly. A Sabbath-
baobab, a birchbark arc of shade. Of shade,
& shady, breezy sounds. Out of the desert
came a whisper; out of the sea, a murmur-
voice. Longstanding, ancient. Subtle braid
of sense, instinct with tensile strength
(stringèd bow drawn taut; mighty dome
aloft on wings). A pair of lips from
Jubilee ‒ Solomon’s very height & length
drawn by quizzical cubit-Queen (of Yemen).
(For accuracy.) On a limestone ridge
Grace gathered her unfolding theme : one pledge
for the whole shade-branching realm (rocked
in the bosom of her eye)