the Ariadne pattern


A wild white rose at the side of the house
bloomed just today
like the city of Dioce
on green clover stairway   Spouse

Sister   in clusters of stars
Who are you?   Magdala
Stone   mosaic   of gala
winefest   little swirl of squares

corn-maze   around an ingle eye
your single sigh
the keystone   by-&-by
(little fiddlehead fern   turning pern-

kernel   the axle of the ax)
as Icarus   burning wax
falls   cataracts
into Grotto J   (relax)

on Chartres nave-pavement   discern
the Ariadne pattern
that angry monks   learn
magnanimity   & turn

again   as falcons gyre   into
the sun   (mild   smile
on earth   mile upon mile)
the Son of Man   is fashioned true

whisper those lips   of windblown rue
Jessie Ophelia   your
leaves of grace   empowered
to plow   deep rose   to emerald blue


My open road (happy b-day, Walt)


Memorial Day.  A good man’s ashes
hid in stone by-way,
two steps from coppery
Minnehaha.  Her long eyelashes

(Florence) his.  Only a mile or so
from viridian jungles
of springtime (Mendelssohn).
His father (Edward) fended the blow

at Saint-Mihiel.  & Katherine,
from Reading – with a red
peony, under a shed
in Belgium.  Only 29.

Red Cross volunteer (unselfish 
clear-eyed gaze).  Poppies
in a man-made sea
of miseries.  The human wish

for Providence is octahedral
diamond.  My open road
is riven motherlode,
adhesive gossamer.  Vein-trail

of cottonwoods, bent by the wind –
a flexible thread of silver-
green, a gusty poplar
grove.  Slight syllables will bind

this dream-sail to a Temeraire
leaving Galilee harbor
(bound for Superior
beneath the wheel-rose of the Bear).


River trail (with cottonwood fluff)


the flute zigzags

Thus we bring to a close Book 6 of the great mumble-pilgrimage, in form of Cricket-Chirp Epic, which we call Ravenna Diagram.  Six books = about 340 poems already.  I do believe the sheer steadiness of this eccentric errand is beginning to garner a little more public notice.  Some batches have appeared here and there in Blackbox Manifold, in the U.K., the Journal of Poetics Research, in Australia, the Battersea Review, in the U.S., and also in Sweden, in a memorial anthology for world poet Regina Derieva.  One poem is forthcoming someday in the venerable & magnificent Poetry magazine, and the estimable Puncher & Wattman publishers, in Australia, have made a preliminary commitment to bring it forth in book form eventually.  For all this support, I am so grateful to the editors involved.  And special affection-rays beam out to those steadfast readers scattered about Rhode Island & elsewhere in the cosmic blogosphere... thank you, dear pals!

*Postscript, 5.28.16 : surprised to learn that this poem was written on the 79th anniversary of the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge (May 26, 1937).  The poem celebrates the Golden Gate in the final stanza.  The bridge is a recurrent whatnot throughout Ravenna Diagram.


Walk back   through a rainy-day memoir
through the watercolor (Grace
Ravlin   Gloucester, Mass.)
over a fireplace   wherever you are

down the River Road   by the cottonwoods
through the rose garden   with
a quipu-thread   into depths
of summer   Willy’s hobo moods

when the eyes relax   deep into green
& a river flows   to the heart-
matrix (almond, athwart
twin orange trees)   your ascent   unseen

Father Hennepin   or St. Louis
by the Stone Arch Bridge
on   New World ridge
where Evening Star   harps Liberty

These harmonic  concordances
Apollinaire   à New Orleans
Ariadne’s  contra-dance
in sleepy Paree   sybilline séance

The flute zigzags   l’après-midi
sad Adams (Henry) perks
his ear   the password works
once more (Encore, encore!)   you see

twin gates rise   virginal   ange d’or
with safety net   one golden
thread   trompette marine
from Jessie O. to J.   soft whisper-door



Concord, Columbia


This gazebo’s tilted octagon
of weathered, worm-eaten
cedar holds off the rain
in Minneapolis, again.

Again, Henry will dream his songe
like a train-hopping sponge
& let summer arrange
cloud-peaks of glory (strange

magnet, fourchette d’orange).  Concord,
Columbia – créatif
brain-fever of native
mer-wit – good Will’s three-cornered

cap of happiness (wasp Osip’s
honey-basket on the Hill
of Skull).  A game of skill
is Vladimir’s, & music too – the ship’s

a Kievan ark (turned right-side-up
beneath its choral dome).
Salt-azure breath of wisdom
streams from Maximus (one cup

of simple crumblevine); his prong
is set like Lebanon
cedar beside the chronic
faultline – earthquake birthpang,

epileptic flow.  & now one smile
reverses Golgotha
with OK light – it’s manna-
Madeleine (kneads pain into a grail).



of the clay peoples


Path P stretch in six directions
out of Cairo, Huck,
sez Jim – any way you look.
One of them north-south junctions,

I reckon.  There was a labyrinth
of red clay trenches –
dead men in its clenches
like flies hung in a spider’s tent

– heavy that clay, so heavy!
Like the bottom of the sea.
How could a little child be
dancing in such dismal gravy?

She’s Pueblo, of the clay peoples;
they put away wrath before
the sun go down, f’sure.
Lookee there.  & through the peephole

of his fingertips I saw (obscurely
as that garden of Sheba)
a lightning pathway – Sun-Ra
threshing floor – arisen merrily

from ripened Flanders wheat (so
melancholy).  Like Van Gogh
seized with a fury-glow
of happiness... Persephone?  O

yes!  Threading her crane-dance
through a peacock’s eye –
purple Hagia Sophia’s
woolly poncho-swirl (at cave-entrance).



hove-to before Frisco


Strong wind in Minneapolis
today, & slate-gray
clouds (stone solidarity
on high).  Big Wind, my father’s

nickname (Indian Guides).  I picked
West Wind.  Some air
in the ceremony there –
pre-Scouts, & pre-Socratic

too.  How a breeze shoulders a mountain
into laurel blossoms;
how one lilac sums
a people in a spell (for funeral train).

The Word-as-Such... the Word is such
for we who have passed over
Lethe.  It is more
than scent of orange – it is a torch

lit by shaping lips, a summons.
One hectoring nation
circles on its chain
thirsting for liberation... the romance

of Spring on earth.  It is only a turtledove
salience, a gray-feathered
stone from Petersburg;
just a load-bearing mule, hove-

to before Frisco.  & you are called to join
the company of saints –
where Livingstone faints
in swamps of cedar (violet, African).



Gemstone of Paradise


The poem is for lonely you
amidships (I-&-Thou
nailed coign to prow) –
& for that grubby neighbor too

next door (George or Georgina
with the garden hoe).
A solitary lamp-glow
lingers in the old cantina –

in William Blackstone’s study (man
who went to live with...)
– uphill, on the forest path
to Middy Wewe’s blithe fountain.

George Washington spins in his grave
to see how we behave
without a mind to save
us from ourselves.  Thee must be brave,

& true, & kind, & dedicated
to the perfect good –
that global neighborhood
that shines, wid’ green & delicate

kiwi-glow, beneath the rind
of blind & brutal night.
A callow grail-knight
stumbled on it once, near Samarkand –

spry Wolfram rings the tale – &
like an unknown soldier
leapt – O soulman Prospero! –
from here to Skye (in Neva-land).



There are orioles in the woods


They’re casting another bridge across
the River; saws whine,
a tug toots, the cranes
lift high & gawky, like red-rose

giraffes.  There are orioles in the woods...
My long-drawn notes
shore up a span that floats
on vague bleu Gulf streams – moods

& swings; you have to walk between
the strands of frayed thread
looped onto gravity (dead
reckoning)... O plum-colored has-been,

warped by Magdalenian
& riverine diffraction!
Yet one stone section
lifts the key.  Giuliana

limns it, with her simple pottery –
the old grey painter
in his deserted corner
emanates intransigent asperity

like mud-splashed cast-off prophecy.
Only the rough rind
of some green kiwi-mind...
her catenary rainbow bend (sea-

sown, high-flown).  Yon Earth-Gate
shines at earliest dawn –
solemn mandorla-keystone,
freedom-sign (gioia incarnate).



Of Marcel Proust, of Oblomov


In the old octagonal gazebo
shaded from sunrays
screened from mosquitoes
I think of Marcel Proust, of Oblomov;

of the haze of tranquil summers
in an equilibrium
of nature.  Let it come.
The books fade into memoirs,

epics filigree life’s borders
with remote heroics
while the housecat licks
his fur, & children play recorders.

To live life on the edge
of the petunia patch.
To bandage every scratch,
wipe every tear...  sea-azure pledge!

Noah’s flute-compass – a pilot’s
Providence – the homing
pigeon’s purple ring
of ocarina nostos-pivots...

Deep down in the teeming orbit
of the clay, a blessed
favor lifts each nested
creature into intricate

brush-feathered limestone – emerald
fresco, where white-
haired eagles congregate –
floresce into the parchment (gold).


In the deep grain


In the deep grain, American
wood flows like river
darkness, Indian-giver
is your claim   start again

with a gamble, shepherd   desert
is your friend   when you
become a   sheep (who-
who, keens   Cyclops-owl).  My yurt

is yours, pilgrim   enunciates
Canonicus (to the dauntless
youth).  His confidence
in the common good   illustrates

the Second Table   of stone
outlines   everyone
understands   Turkmen
& Catholic   Quakers, even –

that the Good   is transparent
& rooted   a charity
branch   shading   the nitty-
gritty (hungry teeth)   your Parent-

Spirit, who is Heir Apparent
&   (apparently)
Ancient of Mondays
also   her name is Clement

or Clementine   she wears big shoes
she drowned   in the river
it was my mistake   her
name   is Jessie (almond   of the Jews)



Sur le pont d'Avignon


The cutthroat sun over Minneapolis
leaks light into many
dark corners.  Rimini
in mind (a limpstone palimpsest

beneath shellfire).  Go & strike
the tents, men long way
to Tipperary.  Say,
Francesca, if you can – how to make

things new.  Peer into womb
of earth-cavern, Ezra –
all the way to Ravenna...
At far end of Pontus rest him tomb

where Theseus stole them golden fleece
Maximus   whose sea-blue
eyes of   geomatrix   (thrum
true)   abstract chamber piece

like waves reiterating   into nautilus
the human sum   reframed
from steel teeth (Somme
bad dream)   the whole shark armistice

To turn   from bull’s-eye bulletins
down a narrow corridor
or trench file   war
in the hand, in the mind   sin’s

armature   in the marrow   Guillaume
& Jesus   the   steamboat pilot
metymorfs   the whole plot
in a forest   of masts   high sunset room



Palimpsest of legends


Out of gray matter of clouds & sea,
matter of Bran or of Bretagne,
slow combers of the brain
surface a fresh conception... see

your own shadow cast by sun
on flesh-tone limestone –
hear the whispering drone
in wave-beats from an unseen iron

spring.  Echoing, the king must die...
as the palimpsest of legends
from which everything depends
layers the storm with its pearl panoply

in coats of gray... & the first murmur
of the galaxies is almost
silence... & the gray ghost
of Jonah wheels one palm-feather

through the circumference of Time...
& a slight gray thread
drawn from Ocean riverbed
dangles in a cat’s-cradle (a smiling

rhyme) – emblem of unbreakable
immortal grasp of Love...
as one sea-breached dove
wings its immaculate cable

from far-flung farfalla world
to world (your only monarch).
O cedar-scented arc!
Almond diamonde – O salty pearl!



One perfect notion


Take this canoe : figure in space
afloat upon time.
Like a Venn diagram
of lapping overlappings, Falcon-Ace –

with the footprint of a sacrifice
like seal of royal doom
(where heavy lilacs bloom).
Beneath lilacs, by Lake of the Isles

I turn back down Memory Aisle...
see shades by willow leaves
in Providence.  Gold sheaves
of lyres, in single evening file –

there’s good gray Edwin, like
a giant beech – there’s Voodoo
Queen of Arkansas (Who-
Who... her seedy owl’s with Mike

now – harps in D.C. laurel branches)...
& Hobo Henry, leaning
back to earth (sing
resurrection, buried man) – launches

out on rolling River of Dreams
(with mazy crane dance
in a prairie trance).
E pluribus unum, Roger Williams...

muttering like young apple leaves
from a root in the grave,
out of lips keen to save.
One perfect notion... (so Hart believes).


Womb in the cave-shade


They were farmers & shepherds in West Branch,
cartwrights & blacksmiths, laboring
through pain... the rusty ring
of iron clamps, the thick stench

of horse manure, the pigs & cows...
yet took their time for quiet
in the Meeting House – let
runaways abide, lambs browse.

Their silence lodged in protest against
violence itself –
the insolence of Guelf
& Ghibelline, the gangs, the hunts...

the iron dream of domination
locking the brain-cave
in its frozen grave
(creak-echo of damnation).

There was a spring in Tuscan hills,
coiled like a rusty serpent –
green with moss, bent
into turtleshell... old Williams’

spiral (out of Coke, Blackstone).
Mules’ rustic rights
& supernatural delights
limp into leaves of a live-oak woman –

her heavy womb in the cave-shade
like a Negus by the Nile
hidden for a while...
almond ark of spring (oak-apple maid).


Quaker Meeting House, Scattergood School, West Branch, Iowa


In the vein of Atlantis


Spring, a project of the Earth.
While she waits for Homo Sapiens
to get over his aggressions –
revert to innocence (a Maypole mirth).

In the beginning... all the begins
of the Beguines... the big
innings.  Whirligig
of river-prairie syncopations...

I went down into the Bottomland,
down to Monk’s Mound.
A Mississippi sound,
a tuning fork of lightning (&

thunder).  I looked into my hand
& felt a gentle eye
look back (speaks Ioway).
Fishnet... veil of mystery... grand

Isis-Life.  Her cryptic tripod
out of Flanders fields
(a Jenna-quivering) yields
Triple-Flem – from Seeker linchpad

over Providence, through keystone
arc, westward... stray
crois (her sunset Gate) –
one orange firetread in the ozone,

warped on muddy waters (surging
to Lousanna).  So
the shield of Buffalo-
Mandan feathers her circlet (corralling).


from Monk's Mound (Cahokia, Illinois)

Statue of Isis (West Branch, Iowa)