ineffable mosaic sky


The air so brilliant & clear today
beside the Bronze Age river.
The railroad bridge hovers
over its reflection – a light play

of diagonals, like water-spiders
on a pond, or cloud-feathers
above the Jordan, tethered
to a steadfast figure (Jasper’s

orant mariner, circumferencing
gray sea with shady palm).
That chanting shepherd, calm
beneath an indigo wheel of blazing

stars... one cheerful face beaming
from the medallion
in Classe (Apollinarian)
under darkened wooden ceiling

of abandoned ship, beached in pine-
swamp, at Ravenna’s edge.
Mere icons of a human pledge
so simple, local, omni-Byzantine –

ineffable mosaic sky
where Love bends waves
to lift us from our graves
into a metamorphosis   kind Aye

above halo of tears   you streak
with serpentine arches
agios   agios   agios
one river-rainbow   in an eagle’s beak



as in a game of hide-&-seek


Piero the geometer
graphed the perfect dome
(that marvelous human home
& winking sea of gray matter)

beneath the curvature of San Francesco
in Arezzo – a flock of swans
of radiant intelligence
about their Queen, before the portico

(Temple of Solomon).  He’s hidden
as in a game of hide-&-seek
the wooden matrix (meek
logbox from Tree of Life).  When

Helena comes to Jerusalem
she’ll draw it out again –
sliver from a lion’s
paw, grim rib from Adam’s

galley mast.  Constantine dreams
his tiny golden honey-cross.
Mary’s Pneuma-moss
wells in the quiet kitchen... gleams.

Sweet psyche-legends circulate
around a forgotten rock
in Magdala.  The flock
is scatter-gathered... salty fate

& jittery salts plank-walk the yellow-
black monarchs of love.
Their cedar treasure-trove
is one pine ark (Jonah chi-rho).



Weldon finds his shoes

                                   For a Tear is an Intellectual Thing

This evening light over the sink
& clutter of Mom’s pots
dish soap, what-nots
stillness of an eye that doesn’t blink

pupil of an unseen commonwealth
Lincoln-logos of a realm
Time cannot overwhelm
where Walter nurses back to health

Hart’s broken farfalla-tower
& Weldon finds his shoes
again   & Berryman his
balance on that bridge   O Flower

Joy   Out of these winter fields
where Bruegel-raven   zig-
zags   over leafless twigs   &
Guillaume’s pink turban   slowly   heals

Your graven images of gravity,
Henry   my autumn fall
1132   a burial
at sea   the perspicacity

of buoyant Jonah   one grey gull 
white-feathered underneath
lights on a wave   breathe,
Dove   lift down from empty skull

my ashen diamond   the snow skims
sparkling   under the sun
& from bright gatherings one
Flamant beams   whose warmth redeems



through clouds like whales

                              i.m. Fr. Jacques Hamel

You breathe a mist over stained glass,
like a cloud over Mirror Lake,
by the trolley road to Blake
(in Mendelssohn).  Rouen, alas.

In Chartres nave, one dark gray
thread still navigates
J-whorl, on golden agate –
Ariadne’s Way (sealed crypt to Day).

Her catenary smile will make
a lazy loop through Space
in Time; her carapace
a turtleshell – sweet curve you take

through clouds like whales, Jonah –
to find an old mercy-go-
round anew.  Like Jessie O.
on racy waterwheeler, sunray-

rain-bowed – Lady Liberty
an echo of Cahokia,
a salience of Royal Oak
(lips’ kayak lifting word to be).

Deep breath, Path P, Rhodos.
Out of a barbed-wire
cat’s-cradle (rust pyre
of Minotaur-empire) you rose –

winded with old George, the breadwinner,
& Maggie, of the veritas
caput – where Brandywine flows
into 4 Pine River (soul scout’s honor).



"Can you enter the great acorn of light?"


This heart-shaped leaf from cottonwood
dark green & silver-gray
may float down other rivers – say
the Don, by Voronezh... or Eridanos,

through Ravenna (north of Hades)... &
each windblown plum sails
off a shakedy limb, whose spiral
roots corkscrew (like S.S. Normandie

propeller) down into a labyrinthine
seine of mounded knots...
a weedy sea-change (plot
of plots).  Black Diamond is crystalline –

common as salt; an octochoron,
regular, complex;
cubic prismatic Rex
or tesseractic honeycomb (acorn

beanie, maybe).  From her, La Paix
like some Hermione
dances to life again – see
there!  Her coracle – l’Éternité!

My raven-tesserae form nature morte.
Venn diagram for Orpheus
bent to his Beatrice-dust
in Adriatic backwater – ‘til brought

up short, like Slocum, John (Shaker
Indian of Puget Sound)
or like Black Elk, who found
her sun-spun gyroscope (stung-sweet Makar).



her smile shall win


Sultry evening in the Twin Cities.
The earth.  My mother’s kiln
stoked like Jersey landfill
with Dante’s willful souls – at ease

like oil on fire.  My moss-green vines
climb the gazebo skein.
Oblomov lived in vain
& died, sweet gentleman.  My light declines.

Oblomov dreamt a febrile dream,
icon of idle summer
grace.  Her lips murmur
& tickle his ear – Awake, Sunbeam...

Dante, shaken, shudders with Love
& epileptic ecstasy;
parallactic Ocean Sea
& shadowy Argo up above,

Emperor Henry on chariot-throne
of Rhodian charity.
A band of silver-grey
light-thread knots chords – the drone

of universal B-flat (Kingdom Come
with trombones, clarinet
& flute) – At Last.  FIAT.
Oblomov lifts his balding dome,

his heavy lashes... orange twin
pillars hold one Ariadne-
loop.  Pacific naiad?
Juliet?  La Paix?  Her smile shall win.



your fluent kingdom


Old river the color of rusted iron
you beckon me back before
shell-shocked histoire
humaine (long nightmare drill).  When

we were as flint people in limestone
hideaways, under
the glare of Viper-Vulture
in his ice-eyrie.  The repetition

of trauma exudes a pearl-shell
palimpsest (le Roi
est mort, vive le Roi) –
one slight Gennesaret wave-swell

is laved to Pietà massif, circled by Rome,
lapped by typhoons (of bursting
tears).  We are thirsting,
River, for that fluent kingdom

where Ebionite & Nazarene,
snake-handler & Sioux
shaman – every blue
highway mutt, sadsack has-been –

every humiliated woman, each
weakling sissy-boy
undone by bully
chants of dominance – might teach

a new lesson.  How once that marble
lifted into cloud...
one dove-grey noeud
vitale (breathing AMOR into dead fable).



casket from Samarkand


Crusaders racing to the Tomb,
an historical pinpoint
in 1099.  Where He went
at 33 (a little room

for some great reckoning).  Daggers
in the eye turn every way 
shark swordfish play
for nightmare realms, & beggars

follow San Francisco up a narrow
fuse (to blessedness).
Stigmata (foolish meekness,
humble mulishness).  A wheelbarrow

carries mild infant Majesty
into his palmy kingdom,
spiky Jerusalem
(sea-rose of sandy history,

Rome’s  crabapple).  The viney mind
demands firm scaffold,
grid to climb, hold
fast – casket from Samarkand,

mercurial chasm, golden
kaleidoscope... meanwhile
one half-moon wafer-smile
of blinding white sail’s sudden

eminence rides on gray wave –
the plummet of an eagle
etches his grave seal,
marking 1132 (full fathom five).


Dartmoor pixie cross


Lament for Philando Castile

shadow of a shadow


A raven stitches broken arcs
over Lebanon cedars,
through layers of cinders
on sands of Galilee.  These marks

print tracks, embed the shadow
of a shadow (of
a shadow).  Whose love
cooled into bottled borders, crow-

foot scars?  Etched into sealed eyelids
the guardians of sleep
administer fear, & reap
nightmare (endless cycle in the Cyclades).

I have no wrath, hums the writhing
wheel of flame – my smile
will melt stalactite guile
until their funny bones come lurching

from the humus... rows of soldiers
thrown from stone, their hearts
wrung into speaking parts.
Her modulation wove its sutures

out of the basalt lid of night.  The ocean
gathers all its woe into
moist glance of pain... you
hear her sigh.  Love’s Jonah-sign

one silver thread – gray clouds,
gray sea, gray gull, gray
dove... & every way
her wing turns (lifting raven-moods).



make it new


Herman riveted to crow’s-nest,
Dante wearing out
his shoes... Weldon, forgot
by Golden Gate, & Berryman, a crust

of snow beside the limestone bank.
Moon rose from sea
with magnanimity,
night’s passionate gravity... & sank

these antithetical children of the sun
beneath immeasurable Ocean-
wave.  Matrix of one
twinkling eye... stuttered translation

from sharks’ dogma to Cutty Sark
sped rondure-eloquence –
an Ocean River sense,
human inheritance (almond birthmark).

The old salt bears his Southern Cross 
as shark-tooth earring,
tattooed heart.  The singing
shrouds (sea-urge, wave-moss)

remind him of Jonah, lost infant
of the crew – of Jasper,
& Francesca too – Ariel
in Ravenna pines (al fresco fundament).

Make all things new.  An emerald gong
plumbs planetary tides –
sun-shimmer plies
Gennesaret to Tuscan hills (all-human song).



Euxine seagull arcs


The old watercolor over the mantle
in my mother’s house – the twin
gray fishing boats, the brown
warehouse, the whitewashed walls.  Gentle

Gloucester, Massachusetts (Grace
Ravlin pinxit – Grandpa’s
cousin, from Kaneville, Illinois).
Soft clouds, the upright crosspieces

of lank lanyards (still sea-green
harbor, granite walk).
Thinking of another work 
lone lady at Mount Vernon, culling

flowers for George Washington.
And of another Maximus –
not Gloucester’s famous
philosophe, but Maximus, blue unicorn

who sketched with Euxine seagull arcs
on stumps (his amputated
medium) one delicate
& sibylline solution.  Sparks

fly upward from the hearth of Love
– fly outward, penetrate
wolf-packs of gulag-state.
This heart simmers like kiln-hot stove

or croon of turtledove, hidden...
violet in tall field grass,
cricket near an underpass.
Willow by slow river (Magdalen).


Grace Ravlin, Gloucester Harbor (ca. 1928)


Henry Hankovitch on the ol' geetar

experimental Restoration Play


Cedar shade of Galilee,
Aesculapian shepherd
staff of serpent-
skin, shed (leafing royalty

in vernal memory).  Magdala
Stone of good deeds done
O spouse of rustic sun
& witness won... lowly Messiah

come & gone (& come again).
Time flowers on the lips
& salty fate slips
into diamond lantern (homespun

dream of overflowing glee) – a shout
of joy from a windblown seed
of newness sown (whorled
Jubilee) – canoe-galleon, afloat

round Milky Road (unquenchable
Eternity) – that lights
gold Magna Carta rights
welded in smiling crucible

of Manitou.  So on this day
Canonicus & Charles II
framed (raven-spelt) new
Charter, for primordial Way –

experimental Restoration Play
within green cedar
fane – firm oaken chair
of planetary cheer (our Ripening Day).


Roger Williams Memorial, Prospect Terrace, Providence

* Note : on this day in 1663, King Charles II of England signed the charter creating the new colony of Rhode Island.  Written, and sponsored (in London) by Roger Williams and Thomas Clarke, the charter pioneered a new form of government, founded on principles of religious toleration and popular sovereignty.


granite made of air


Hobo sets his sights on Ocean Sky
the cloud-boats drifting
stately, aquamarine
high-masted spinnakers go by

The rusty syntax of the railroad bridge –
necklace for a queen
Galla Placidia, maybe... blown to the edge

of warlord chaos, courtier intrigue;
guarding son & heir
with the pale gold hair
(who will not see the Soo Line zigzag

into the forest, north of here).
The mosaic interior
night-blue with stars –
her mausoleum, like an eggshell ear.

Sea-light filters through pinholes
of gold.  The grey matière
a granite made of air
hides pigeons, ring-dove souls

within its manifold (octahedral
catacomb).  Even
Hobo finds his kin again;
the smile of cousin Jeanne will roll

a tensile thread out of the maze
of time & circumstance –
her light ghost dance
where mountains bloom (sheep graze).



the palm, the fiery gates


American robin on my fence
I sense you are a friend
& neighbor – here to lend
your orange breast, for salience –

swell-sign of aerial fellowship
in gravid cave-adventure
(blue waves of chicory
pacing old roads, from Boston slip

to San Francisco).  How your edgy
yodeling interrogates
our grubby, wormy hates –
sclerotic, squamous tragedy

of shriveled hearts, rancid hypocrisy!
You diagram with song
a madrigal so strong,
so many voices in emergency

merge into blueprint buoyancy –
manifest (garnet clay
prairie roundelay)
a ship-shape evening constancy.

Mute gesture from crow’s-nest G-ray!
Memory, beyond time
salts a Boethian rhyme-
beat... in quella Roma onde

Cristo è Romano.  Staunch ruddy
steersman indicates
the palm, the fiery gates,
Pacific O... – Eternity! is all his study.


Map of Rhode Island, 1780

wolf spider bite

I used to play a "tarantella" on the piano... I forget the composer (Mrs. Elledge, my piano teacher 45 years ago, would know).  I grew up in the Mendelssohn neighborhood of Edina, MN (named such by its early settlers, musicians with the Minnesota Symphony).  The tarantella has very ancient roots - it was originally an ecstatic, Dionysian dance meant to drive out the effects of a "tarantula" (actually, European black widow) spider bite.


The monuments tremble in the mind
like shuddering leaves... the dun-
grey flesh of Russian
olive shoots (wild weed you find

along grey highways).  Clouds
resemble ships passing
(or sheep).  An everlasting
turtledove of new beginnings crowds

grey folds to elegant mosaic –
peacock splendor, rainbow
tarantella.  Help me now,
Ancient of Daysthe mortal ache

of this wolf spider bite is like a prod
in the bull-dance arena.
I must rotate – ah,
Pocahontas handstand! – God

reward your goldfinch serenade!
Thunder & lightning speed
yon seraphim-steed
across acorn crucible (blade

pillaring smoke & fire upon hill
at Glastonbury, or
Golgotha).  Now you are
whittled down to walnut mind-rill...

pirouette... red veins of iron
rivet into diamond.
Bran-matière.  Pond-
ripple osprey, ranging (arak-golden).


Painting by Michael Gould (Elmer's glue & acrylic)


Geoffrey Hill, Yves Bonnefoy, Elie Wiesel


                      Geoffrey Hill, Yves Bonnefoy, Elie Wiesel

Light at dusk across the grass
salted with white crosses,
poppies... graph of losses
rounding up the Somme.  Mass

for the mass of young men gone.
On Cemetery Ridge
the plowmen made a bridge
of bone, unbreakable – and won

the day.  Coraggio, amigos.
Somnolent River
Time will shiver silver
when the last full measure flows

from infant veins, against the grain
of human servitude –
that dominant X (rude
chi-rho, nailed up in the brain).

In the barranca (by the monarchs’
den) the battered Consul
penetrated to the well
of Golgotha.  His mind sparks

like the last firefly of evening meadows...
a small emerald octagon,
or 4-leaf clover – moon
over Eire, over the raging shadows

of the nations.  Clue vero, Ariadne-
yarn.  A catenary
arc, or smile – an airy
rack of clouds, threading the Neva R.


George Bellows, Rain on the River (RI School of Design Museum of Art)