Once upon a time there lived a Mississippi riverboat captain, named Mr. Lawrence, who had two daughters, Jessie Ophelia and Cleopatra Desdemona (not kidding)... Jessie Lawrence married my great-grandfather, George P. Gould.
The hobo-poem stumbles out of Itasca,
a somno-ambulant mutter
just west of Superior
like a Nile-canoe in Minnehaha
or Thesée-en-Argo, lost at sea
in a maze older than time.
A stone-barrow, or lime-
burnt spacetime spruce-vortex (little tree
Apollinaire chased down in Paris
listening to Stravinsky
on the 29th of May).
Distant thunder... blessed senseless
mote. What acorn happiness
coils beneath necrolithic
Moscow? What lithe
Pocahontas limns Potomac offices?
Lightning rives gnarled raven limbs.
One glint from gold iris
shakes the paralysis
from icebound Neva aisles – low hymns
drone from limestone fish-caverns;
there is no place on earth
where Psyche’s sighing hearth
cannot ray lamplight (ask Jules Verne,
or Edgar Allan – ask St. Joan).
My Delta Queen glides on
engulfing sorrow in her zephyr-zone.