Lanthanum 10.20

the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice
Hobo didn’t need much : just to watch a little
willow spar swing lowly in the breeze, enough
to send him into trance-lit ecstasies.  Puff-
ball of nature, he bends his face to the Delta –
all that vagrant extravagance of everything
South.  This his faery pilot knew; her antidote
a strip of willow bark, sprinkled with sea-salt
from the Gulf; she hands it to him, saying –
this willow’s salt & sour taste will help you
keep your distance, Hobo – you, prod son
of dusty Adam Bum, first good-for-nothin’
who forsook God’s lofty lifetree for the yew
of cemeteries. & he beheld that great wide
field & swampland, flush with green & streaming
traffic – gargantuan White House replicas, mean
shacks... ear-shattering roaring scaly rhodo-
dendron dragon-place – unspeakably multifarious
complex, uncontainable... & heard her whisper :
you cannot rightly love earth’s florid splendor
nor ever share undying joy, until you sense
in the Gulf this dream’s supernatural source.
Look there.  With willow stick she waved off
the clouds – & Hobo saw a simple cenotaph
of stone, immovable, in cobalt-blue susurrus
(Jordan-stream).  It was the gravestone of
a kingly king, beside his spouse – asleep there
in Atlantis.  Who’s alive, who dead? his teacher
crows – the one who knows what love is, son.

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