the angry clown is not your father


If we look once more at your Topsfield
Aquinas-map, Dante –
that earthy horn of plenty
floored by starry sarabande (sealed

fan of luminous phenomena)
the heavy things of Time
rehearse the Salem crime
with simple weight of rigid clay –

ice-cold, stone-cold, bereft of life.
The line sags from the bridge;
the daughter of a lost age
droops, off-balancing (soul-grief).

Quantum quirks of spooky action
powder another image
for displaced rage
into the time-funnel... dissatisfaction

with oneself provokes a personal despair.
We do not know who’s there.
Halloween is in the air;
brown leaves congeal to pumpkin hair,

the angry clown is not your father
anymore.  O Juliet,
the phony craven despot
crafted no safety net... look further.

A rippling of seashore memory
brings grey gulls to sleep.
The peacock’s eyes gaze deep
as Argo... hold her now, Hagia Sophie.



when the Eternal comes


Shards of a spectrum scatter flashing
by the old twin-doored
twin-dovetail mirror
out of Mexico.  Light faceting

(from purple candlestick, late
afternoon, October).
All Souls’, beyond Tiber
or Po, where goat-sheep congregate

beneath the tiny pumpkin lamps
of Chinese lanterns.  We
lift them with you, Psyche –
4-dimensional temple!  Clamps

of copper from an iron ribcage
breathe out now with you
your Scattergood milieu,
egalitarian Link-o-pen; rage

cannot stem your dissemination,
nor malevolence
of Minotaur silence
muted trompette marine.  O nation

sowing disintegrated diamonds
of personhood – like rain
of milkweed seeds!  A grain
for monarch feathers (Solomon’s)

or living stones, or silver pennies
American .925
recursive light from hive
2 dozen bronze lamps from your base


Rick Stocks has gathered in 3 warehouses
brass railings from the stairs
for climbing to the Bears
who dance around your Ariadne’s

Crown, Leviathanic brow;
soul liberty, she said,
& rising from the dead
these hieroglyphs tattoo my prow.

The lamp lifts in an evening light.
The crossroads (dying –
living – loving – giving)
focus, like a lens (Hittite

or Italian – Roma, Ethiopian...)
how my heart emigrated
toward your implicated
face (memory of Raphaelian

grace, nested in Providence).
So the quiddity of soul
shows Psyche (personal);
how you live, what happens

gradually fold to perfection
when the Eternal comes
& autumn drums
refracted through her leafy prison

echo under circling stars
the Three Bears dance
beyond Pacific romance   &
La Paix rises   from Venus, Mars



Path P in six directions


The immeasurable quiddity
of a point in spacetime.
An icon turns on a dime
flashing silver corona (so free)

– as green almond eyes shine
with smiles of recognition
a beloved face is one
whole star – 4-dimensional mine-

shaft to the planetary helm
or meteoric stone
no one can own
coming down from sea-grey realm

of milk & honey (Northern Lights
a mirror for a horn
of plenty).  So being born
thus, river-clay triangulates

Path P in six directions
diamond octahedron
finished in the sun
like plates my mother hexagons –

weathered oak-leaf hands (brown
in the round, rolled
out of clay, from old
dishevelments of tumble-down

autumn).  & where the tree-rings
circulate the marrow
spacetime’s arrow
coils into chestnut Sphinx


whose crumbled wine one drinks
out of the Nile-delta –
steps northeast  selah
toward the dome (when nobody thinks

one will) resembling a bronze acorn
of evergreen holm oak.
One ruddy spoke
upon a node of blinding sunshine –

ice-hewn clarity of Everyhon
beside the glowing hearth
of agape – the earth
in equilibrium – Son

& Father & the Holy Ghost
waltzing a crane-dance
to the drone of Magdalen’s
accordion (hale Mary’s host)...

& once the orgulous organ’s
dismantled, & the light
flows through violet
rose circlet (there in Jacqueline’s

seatown) – a naiad will emerge,
a sundance figure (on
the prow of Lincoln’s own
logos).  Sophie her demiurge,

love-waves her rite – La Paix
or Buffalo Woman,
Morning Star... pine-
green majestic Liberté.



Yves Bonnefoy, little by little

This is the first part of a sequence by Yves Bonnefoy, titled L'été de nuit.  Another try at translating this beautiful poet.  (see original below)



It seems to me, this evening,
That the starry sky, spread wide,
Draws near to us; and that the night,
Behind so many sparks, is less obscure.

And the leaves blaze too under the leaves,
The green, the orange of ripe fruit, intensified,
Lamp of an angel near; a shudder
Of hidden light seizes the universal tree.

It seems to me, this evening,
That we entered the garden, of which the angel
Has closed the gates without return.

from a sequence by Yves Bonnefoy

ravens snag rookies in bluejay trees


The angry father is a sad figure;
the unarmed child who walks
with open hands, talks
toward him, reaches C major

on the 88 (pine-green octave).
Ravens snag rookies
in bluejay trees;
the hunters wonder what to have

out of their hollow sack of Bruegel-
frost; argufying
starlings form a ring
around a sole magpie (farewell,

Maggie).  Translucent October
showers yellow-black
on Caesar’s hunchback
(rogue goldfinch – he’s never sober).

Cold grows colder, stone more stony;
rude men kneel down
for a crust of wine-
stained loaf; God’s only phony

for the mickle microphones – the orphan
player’s Richard III.
She’ll stand by me,
mutters Rusty Piers (cowman);

after the grey November rain
stars will come out again,
gems constellate the plain –
& Hobo echo her enchanted brain.



Hobo was King of Mars


Observe the canoe, in the dusty garage
in Ferrara, if you can find it,
she said.  A Star of David,
sewn upon spectral autumn vestige

of threadbare overcoat, shines
in the gloom of late October
day.  My hobo-mutter
fritters into golden leaf-combines,

disintegrating fleets of ripeness.
August limbs go plain
beneath afternoon rain;
the tree stands like an empty chalice

ready to be topped with drifting flakes’
archaic frozen stars.
Hobo was King of Mars
lifted up unto a throne of rakes,

crowned with a pile of leaves; his head
was a planetary pumpkin, &
his magic rattle-wand,
tufted with scorpions, was made

of lead.  The heart shrivels with dread
& melancolia
until the Tauromachia
twirls, milky moon... lifting the Dead

Sea of All Souls’ into a strange orbit
of anti-gravity –
like your gallant oak tree
that lived 600 years upstate


whose trunk was broader than her height
whose acorns sail
from Hudson to the Nile
& carve a reedy vessel (upright

Osiris in mosey-miroir)
to tack the ark of justice
toward mild Providence –
I hae ne wroth, her murmur

filtered through the Pharaoh-mask;
I am the Shekinah
behind Who-He-Who-She;
I am your Miryam at the matrix,

almond salience, unflagging J.
The stars waltz gently
round the Pole... we
dance beneath them, in a play –

late romance of a shakèd spear
or rustic ferris wheel
where Smolak will repeal
the bearish curse, the hunter’s fear.

Hobo might head back home again
to Basking Ridge, above
the Rio of the Turtledove...
a furrowed nut, a graybeard brain

whose love came surging from the sea –
a tidal wave of hungry
soul (his coulombee).
So turquoise panned gold embassy.



down by the Rio Espiritu


Cottonwoods mime autumnal Golgotha
down by the Rio Espiritu
Eli, Eli, why have you...?
– branching-out concavex vesica

(tree become history).  Now the mirror
of round Galilee reverts
as when murky Po River’s
backward film flows to Ravenna shore;

magnetic gravity of Mary
reels the molting dove
into the tumult of
new-found Columbia’s eyrie –

cavern-kitchen full of Piero’s light,
her mummer’s earthbound feet
tap blessings to the fleet
in spires of crane-dance patter-flight.

The almond is a little tree
whose acorn eye marks
spoken blooms – arcs
from a sparkling diamond sea

triangulating stainèd glass
from humped Cahokia
to Saarinen-eye.
A speeding Spirit of St. Louis

soars to Notre Dame & Chartres;
steep-waltzing Trinity,
one 1-3-2 will be
your eagle-masque (dive, mère-maître).



something very like an H


In the limpid evening distance, the twin
piers of the bridge are shining
as if a smile took wing.
& something very like an H is drawn

in orange ‘gainst the azure gold –
a catenary grave
for slight Ophelia (wave
goodbye now, wrinkled Henry Gourd).

Hamlet & Laertes squabble
aching in the trench;
leaves fall... the wench
is dead.  The leaves make hibble-hobble

& the scene folds into quiet,
sea, mourning.  The ship
groans back to London.  Slip
the knot now, Everyman... knit

your soul into that oaken keel.
The ropes will fray, the mast
will break, redwood at last
keel over too... yet may this steel

needle still aim toward home, somehow.
A gibbous moon ripens
onto Jaybird’s pencil-
thin & salient thread (above, below

twine almond bears)   the crossroad sings
with joyeux Yeshua
the motes flame   Manitou
Black Elk   yahoo   the tree-bell rings



the trumpery of tusked bore


In my republic of grey matière
all things have dignity –
50 states of Jubilee
emerge from one low rustic star.

The akme of the chaste vision
loops down from innocence;
a catenary salience,
the smile of your companion.

Coke’s helm of liberty-in-law
(old holm oak in the woods)
frames acorn neighborhoods –
spun west from Berkeley’s awe

& Williams’ magnanimity –
raying from Rhodian gate
one starry Ocean State
to Frisco Bay profundity

(Pacific fiat through a lilac door).
Woodblock villains rage
across a cypress stage
the trumpery of tuskèd bore;

rich mythologies advance
boast-predator Power;
a tiny violet flower
planted at the Gate’s entrance

beams back toward Rhodos-Liberty
her creole-green
& blazing copper sheen –
one steadfast statute in the harbor, she.


Roger Williams Memorial, Prospect Terrace (Providence)


Minneapolis in purple light


Beatrice at the vanishing point
or Juliet on the bridge
mark infinite edge
to Alighieri goat-trails (figure 8).

The leaves of universal autumn
rain like parchment tears
from planetary spheres
& sea-grey eyes (too close to home)

to say goodbye, to wander streets
vacant & desolate
& drift   (disconsolate
refugee)   where only fleets

of shadows meet   (lonely nightmare)
& still the yearning heavens
wheel   manna leavens
their deep imperturbable desire

rooted in unfathomable joy
Eternity, O Eternity!
he crowed (with penny-
whistle, raven-quill) – meek Roy

nestled in evergreen holm oak
like Ariadne’s emerald
corona... like straw-gold
Acorn Maid, among the little folk.

The drowsy King of Love bowed
his trompette marine
umbilical fountain
of spiral clay (Galilean mode).



crumbs beside the Po


The life that spirals from the sea-cave
like a serpent-root, a curious
labyrinth etched across
the limestone of a vaulted nave –

the dappled sparkling of infant
river-wavelets.  Mud-brown
vortex of an unknown
casket – Easter-packet – font

of raven-crumbs, beside the Po.
Or Ishmael’s hieroglyph –
inverted fisher-skiff
of pregnant galaxy below

afloat now, circling – a living hand,
an arm, forehead, eyebrow...
emergent tar minnow –
Tad Pole, or Polly Wag, some sand-

borne seaweed driftwood Jane...
Christa on crossties, or
IONAH (in Paradise).  Your
Queequeg is a queer cuss, man,

but OK – floats all right – can even
swim.  His Ariadne-
boles are capillary –
vein his bones into a crown

of 50 stars (for Jubilee).
The echo-cave is empty...
only EurekaShe
has found him! crows (from sea to sea).



another blast from the Oak of Phenoque


The poem might be a superconductor,
its topology so homespun,
threadbare, cold & thin –
a 1-dimensional egg-beater

jamming a needle’s eye in Denmark,
or Verona.  The capstan
spools the whole yawning
span – the wheel is made of holm oak,

evergreen & ancient, holy.
Argo is her name;
a million eyes flame
round her oaken rim, & Ariadne

anchors her from Ocean floor –
her catenary line
loops gracefully, from spine
of cedar mast to dark-green shore.

The old exotic matter of Bretagne
sleeps in her sybil’s leaves;
the lovelorn wind that grieves
through Dante’s cedars in Ravenna

carry G’ma’s freighter Gospel, too –
from Cape Ann out to Frisco
through the Gulf of Mexico.
Jessie, Ophelia... tarragon, rue...

her sleepy spells rise from the clay
& spin toward constellations
full of Okie calibrations –
a rain of acorns hits the hay


where long-abandoned train stations
sink back into the prairie
& a grey turtle (airy,
airiest) flew fluting through the nation’s

backwaters.  The love that moves
the Son & the moth-stars
goes raying through a potter’s
helm, the way an LP grooves

(Columbia).  Her ire will not last
forever – no, Iona
&/or Iowa have shown a
willingness to rise from lead ballast;

Do-Well, Do-Better & Do-Best
have joined hands in a wing –
a simple pleasant wedding,
thistle-burred (give red & blue a rest).

A century ago, the Meuse-Argonne
became a charnel house.
Grandpa Edward S.
was there, & shipped home (lucky one)...

– are Guillem’s muses all gone now?
An airplane lifts from Eiffel
to New York – the spell
takes hold – Liberty lifts her crow-

bar torch – ignites like acorn
from galactic hearth...
summons magnetic North...
O steadfast keel, O evergreen horn!



on San Francisco's day


How quickly the tiny silver hearts
of the cottonwood turn gold.
In honor of the sun, grown old
now (down where a brazen stream departs).

Franciscan metamorphosis –
leaves drifting on the wind
bring Hobo back to mind
their magnitudes, their endlessness...

her cosmos full of smiling shapes
detailed by carpenter,
who shakes the roof of winter
into a trillion dazzling ice-capes.

The scarlet & the royal blue
he doffs, along with his
armor... naked he goes
into the plains, Ti sta seguendo.

Imperial purple violets
are his insignia –
his Tauromachia
a simple tread (love-knots

from Ariadne’s labyrinth).
A rusted railroad bridge
over the Western ridge
turns orange... Guillaume’s absinthe

goes green... out of the grey cloud-
matter whispers down
a ring-dove’s croon (your own
ange d’or) – original shape-shifter God.


Brief poem by Yves Bonnefoy

Another poem, in my halting version, by Yves Bonnefoy (from the series A une terre d'aube) :


The bird among ruins is freed from death,
He nestles in gray stone facing the sun,
He leapt over all suffering, all memory,
He knew no more what is tomorrow in eternity.