remembering John Tagliabue (1923-2006)
In the uncertain light of early dawn, I woke to find
the ghostly presence of Natasha, still nearby.
A morning mist flooded our tree-limb hideaway
& heavy branches seemed to dissolve... distend...
turn insubstantial. This cloud breathes everywhere,
she said; we’re perched on limb of Ocean River – sea
where all the streams converge. Look now, Henry :
you’ll see a figure for enwombed Man – a butterfly
entombed – whence Melchizedek from prism flies.
Again she raised her hexmiroir, green-rimmed
with copper rust. I looked. My sight grew dim,
obscured by cloud... fine rain across my eyes...
& then I saw him, through the pre-dawn haze. An
old man, limping bravely toward me... in slouch hat,
with white birch cane. Gosh – is it really you, Walt?
I exclaimed. The same, he said, smiling lazily (a
blade of wheat seesawing from his lips). I’ve come
to give you a dab of bardic courage, boy. Cosmic
Union’s the nation we maintain : an epithalamic
verse revives the universe. Just as I hummed
sweet pity over writhing youngsters, thrust
my hand into their wounds, to heal – to turn
blocked hornets of flint to water-myrrh – so
each deed of heartfelt care is bound in trust
to Everlivingness : her regal token, promised here
on earth (who’s omnipresent as the summer grass).
The door’s agape! Torn off, unhinged! – yes, yes,
O sage of stone Jack Diamond Elk! Dance! Cheer!