Memory is full of Providence

                           i.m. Henry Shelton

Fall steps softly to the door
beside the river now.
Memory, somehow
is full of Providence today – your

little hideaway of brave
adorable & free
spirits, whom to thee
were given – opening, wave on wave

sea-gates of joy & liberty.
Like that dear one
on Petersburg pontoon
floated to town – Elena, she

of the midnight sun – as if an emerald
kamen-ring of Gumilev
(tattooed ghost-brave)
stood there, incarnate – held

my hand, like Word made Flesh – began
to dance & sing; as if
Columba on his acorn skiff
arrived in New York harbor – shine,

Franco-Irish lantern – beam
your torch around the globe!
Moss-copper robe
whose folds encompass freedom’s dream

whose web of mutuality
is wind-blown sail
on cosmic Ocean trail
chaste vision of equality


tall northern pine who will prevail
like massive cedar tree
in Puget Sound   like she
who danced the Shaker upland trail

to soul freedom, with John Slocum
or Henry Shelton in
Rhode Eye   Franciscan
mule of social justice   plumb

spine of Blackstone’s Catholic Oak
or Williams’ open hand
give me your poor... stand
in my healing shade... Manitou spoke

on Wisdom’s dancing-wheel of joy!
& my hoarse scar-tattoo
on Queequeg’s silver-blue
casket – my burbled Jaybird cry,

confessional – only an ochre scratch
on earliest cave-wall;
only a golden ball
of Ariadne-wool, wet sheepish match

balled-up by selfishness.  Who lit out
for that stony kingdom –
ancient Big Rock Mountain,
deeper firmament, beneath the shout

of pokey politics – that Cosmosphere
of lovingkindness, where
the soul finds Primavera air
& breathes... & sighs... & lives forever.


4th of July, Providence harbor

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