Lanthanum 9.11

for Allen Grossman

Once, on a planet where earth & sky are partners
(emerald & sapphire) emerged an unknown pharaoh
cleft in a dreary mountain... quiet shadow
swimming into sun. He was met with sneers

row upon row, with hosts of angry errors. Then
he began to sing : sweetly mortal, this one,
humble & low as a dusty pigeon : crossgrain
against the chilly currency of that thieve’s den

(for lo, it was a land of bilk & money).
Against Memphis silt his melody set sail
upstream – steel compass shepherding a frail
canoe, whose prow & wake bear one bright V

toward heartfelt matrix (ruby, diamond).
His chant was not unheard-of in that land,
not strange : just passionate echo of grand-
ma’s hymn, & preacher’s reprimand :

a sense of rightness, stubbornly evoked
(tempered to the time at hand). His weapons
two arms crossed upon his breast – someone’s
stern angel, binding warmongers (Wovoka-

avatar). Just shadow of a gray shadow,
or slip of pebbles in a tidal wash : inkling
of forgotten plenitude, laughter’s foundling.
Lost land where river shallows press the bow

toward shore... among warbling lips of
silenced wings – that rosy treasure
chest, where blue & green, & black &
white, I & Thou, & earth & sky are one.


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