the principle of the epic poem


A monarch sails transparent air
over a sea of grass
toward Mexico cedars.
June hums softly into summer

orchestra – a Symphony
of Ocean River (flutes
by Apollinaire).  Broom-roots
of harmony brush copper tympani

with nervous splendor.  The principle
of the epic poem – Hart
Crane’s plangent part
for solo Jonah (sailor’s pipe)

merges with cat-gut chords
of choral hymn, Atlantean –
sagas of Everywoman,
Everyman (adze-edge word-hoards).

A stone spun from heaven... King
Tut’s meteoric dagger,
sanded to plow much bigger
meadows.  Star-fields of the tongue

flicker from familiar cave –
shape speech to love,
vault from worm-grave
to groves of cedar (almond nave

upon a flame-stream, evergreen
to save).  Pine-needles
tingle with seedling-
cones; wings fan (bright V-formation).


Lake Vermilion (sunset, 6.5.16)

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