elephant fig tree


The grey matter beneath the gray dome
over the elephant’s
great brow.  Intelligent
murmur through muted horn, become

flute-sound of turtledove – a rose-
gray granite labyrinth
in miniature (by mouth
of elephant-gate) whose lid will close

this casket blossoming with images.
A concordance of old & new,
the synagogue-ecclesia
of you & me (through corny stages

of a mystery play).  Tall gnomon
of a totem pole (Raven
shadow in the grim ravine,
the wooden idol in its barren

cul-de-sac) points toward the sun.
It is Cautantowwit,
testing your trickster-wit,
lifting his twisty calumet (smoke, son).

Ineffable infinity of Manitou
embodied now – made
manifest in mode
of neighbor Nazarene, addressing you.

Come into my garden, urges he;
the Magdalen has found me,
so shall thee
her almond eye’s polarity


seeps Providential clarity
as clear as spring rain,
clear as tearsEnter
my garden, friendyou’ll see.

My Providence was like a field
where Hobo limped through
wildflowers, bumbled into
common day – let childhood yield

to manhood, womanhood – O bright
ripe liberty to keep
sweet civil peace (a steep
ascension to the morning light).

The message of the good grey elephant
is like an invitation,
then – to taste Creation
as a gift of vine & wheat... sent

from grey clouds like rain, or as
a green palm spokes its wheel
with light.  Let it reveal
itself – ultramarine, topaz,

gold, diamond.  In articulate shade
of elephant fig tree
cresting azure Sydney,
reckon the pattern starlight made –

an octahedral Southern Cross
lifts through your heart
transporting human light
to everlasting dwelling-place.



my circuit is circumference


Sunshine in June – one whole note
melts into the chord
of summer.  In the old
garden of Time, the poet’s boat

extends its shade toward evening twilight.
The golden ratio of the sunflower
stretches to the nth power
(its perihelion); clay speeds to insight,

cartwheeling uphill into angelic life –
that bright-gated City
whose anti-gravity
magnetic North amends all strife.

Through this fan-feathered diapason
of a planet, the limpid figure
of a limping friend, your
sister-dove (gray pebble, midnight sun);

her hazel eye takes in mortality
as a grave garden absorbs
the one whose goldfinch orb
will bend, in parallax fluidity

as rivers from Paradise stream forth
or a mustard seed
flares – life’s high meed
a sunny gyroscope (balanced from birth).

So the Messiah-bloom of Israel
like Joachim Fiore,
Henry Flower (ey
hey yo) anchors goodness to the Pole


Star, steadfast over midnight waters;
so Infinite Presence
arcs into salience
turtledoves & fiery matières

de Bretagne (Arthurian hide-&-seek
the Once & Future King
resolves, into a ring
of riven oaks & golden fleece).

The One Who Rose from the Dead
lives in our midst –
Who left his Holy Ghost
as marigold, to blaze undaunted

Hagia Sophia (with a million eyes);
American peacock (turkey?)
or Aramaic poppycock (see
how archaic our ways – how wise!) –

only Phoenix-Turtle comprehends
how from dream-song flame
Reality revolves the same
again... as when a potter bends

her starfish over azure sand
& lofting clay from seabed
into galactic Roundhead
Cavalier (old Charley-Horse le Grand)

curling himself into green honey-oak
until the lightning stroke
flashes – where thunder spoke
the wheel that spun Ezekiel (Rose-Boke).



Hobo's dream-sponge


The pearl shines at the bottom of the harbor
as a lamp glows in the darkness.
Color of St. Francis’
donkey (silver-grey, St. Thomas More).

Henry’s church is in the grey-scale too;
a weathered pebble, like
an unknown soldier (Psyche-
cloud, veiling the ocean’s blue).

Bright pennants of the jungle world
(green, orange, black) are
silky glass, refracting back
primary triplets of an orb unfurled –

gold sun, red clay, & midnight sea.
Her mouth is milky ivory
from Santa Giulia, in Brescia...
her parabolic harmony dovetails for me

into a grail from good grey Elephant
(whose queen is dark & comely
Africa).  So Henry’s comedy
plumbs bottomland; its hierophant

is Hobo in disguise, pearl-diving
from the Golden Gate;
his Beatrice-Juliet
is Orpheus-Eurydice – is every living

soul, sleeping to swim the wake
of Lake Victoria.
Birth-rite of Jonah –
rock-dove sparked for Zion’s sake


& all Creation’s sign of Noah.
Suddenly, like lightning
we are made – brightening
kids from adamant stone – Aloha,

planet-people!  Welcome to Providence!
A grey Rabbi heeds
my mumbling... new needles
green the stems of an immense

Jerusalem spear-flower... Juno
to Juneteenth, July to Jubilee,
the fallow air grows milky
& the Glory of the Lord will show

petals of pink & indigo
before too long.  Behold
the twin mirror-doors of bold
St. Thomas – he who was slow

to believe.  Now the dream-sponge
out of Resurrection Cemetery
sucks Lazarus like Henry
into a mystery play.  Plunge,

Cautantowwit-Raven, into the deep
Black Sea.  A Thunderbird
breaches your salty word
in spumy clouds of Neva-Sleep,

& Woodpecker hammers out Twin
Oak’s mandorla-canoe –
a Restoration Day, for you.
Casket of Lazarus – a milk-crate tin.



poem for Father's Day

John Gould rowing in Oxford, ca. 1995


Father’s Day.  Here’s a quiet hallway.
Grandpa’s twilit apartment
on Delaware Street.
Cozy, gemutlichkeit, OK.

Grandma’s old Revolutionary print
over the dining table.
George Washington & nimble
Lafayette – their filial détente

confirmed in pizzicato minuet.
Grandpa’s brass cannon
shell shines dans le coin
Et nous voilà, sieur Lafayette.

So the crimson seal in melting wax
like Hamlet’s father’s ring
purls out, expanding
into undiscovered final acts –

Pacific reconciliations, palm-
print circumferences...
the moss-green salience
of Liberty’s majestic calm.

The Son of Man looks to his father
as to an anchorage –
firm stay against dry rage,
banal amnesia, unruly weather;

history would lose its thread
& be estranged, without
a commonality of thought,
that human constancy – dead


center of the curly sprout
who springs up (fed
by seedy Shakespeare’s Head)
to brazen River of the Holy Spirit

(Father of Waters).  Before all times
the soul looks out in joy
upon a wide Creation Day
like mossy meadowlands – rhymes

with Honest Abraham in his
absinthe mandorla – bright
JFK & MLK – light-foot
Truth come marching in (this

copper seal of Peaceable Kingdom).
Light of fathers everywhere,
the milky dawn-lair
of the race, breathing soul freedom

like whisper of Lipsanothek
(cross-braced in elephant
ivory from distant
Brescia) – a life made perfect

sustenance.  So a little acorn
from William’s Catholic Oak
(in windy Providence) spoke
to me once, as father to son;

as a green man in emerald coat
smiles from a heart of sunny
gold, so dauntless – funny!
Lifting my heart to his coracle-boat.


John Gould, U.S. Navy, 1945


a flower for Bloomsday


Gray Hobo-bird faces a problem :
how to save his own long
featherweight fern song?
How to rewind a strung-out poem?

Effigies & icons flashing by
like ripples in his eye –
Burchfield, El Anatsui...
Hartley, Martin, Klimt... Johnny

Jasper... fond winter raven-
oeuil of Master Bruegel...
Pompey, in the empty well
of Yahweh, was befuddled – No One

There.  The clear plein air of Quaker
meeting house, of Shaker
chair.  The carpenter’s
simplicity of Philadelphian law-

oracles.  We hold these truths...
But Hobo’s murmuring his
Nil Reed Candace house;
his prairie wind blows wild (Ruth’s

trail through mazy corn, tracking
Boaz from Goshen-land).
With poem-in-a-can
in hand (his pemmican) & Red Wing

Thunderbird-Woodpecker perched
atop his hat, he moseys,
slouching, sea to sea;
aboard his polar bear canoe (birch-


light) he circulates a mystery –
where be this Henry Church
round whom leaf-sundials march?
Planted in Resurrection Cemetery?

Or hidden in a holm oak tree?
The painted whisper gallery
enshades invisibility.
Will he sleepwalk forever, Poetry?

The milkweed monarch fans meekness.
This moth is camouflaged
brown dust.  The sagebrush
rolls through red deserts, the cedars

pine for Juniper (slate-blue).
Time’s broom sweeps clean
but tiny seeds remain.
A microcosmic mustard-yellow

gyroscope (spun in Ravenna
backwater) balances
Galilee on Providence;
the bicycle with one duo-antenna

twirls its silver spokes into
a rose-wheel window.
Where did Harry go,
Hobo?  He’s hidden in Otranto

glass.  He’s riding Pegasus
into a cirque matrix –
cartwheeling carny tricks
as Henry Flower Wilderness.



Shakespearean marzipan


Behind fine axe-hewn basalt
of the Incan hive, an eye
like Aaron Siskind, maybe –
quick, delicate, alert.

Mortised ramparts of any state
mark its mandala-border;
stone blooms of order
warp twisters of love & hate.

Only this human heart of flesh
harbors invisible diamond –
petal-scent of almond,
marzipan snowstorm (baked fresh).

Imagine one simplified snowflake
in three dimensions, spinning
like a gyroscope (one wing,
one leg) after one thunder-shake

of glassy dome – Will’s trident, maybe
in a late romance (Blackfriar’s
globe).  King Henry sires
trouble for himself – falls into sea

pursued by Bear.  Near Normandy,
flagship goes down – she’s lost,
it seems – until at last
Hermione steps forth, sleepy...

La Paix (familial, civil, global)
breathes yet, to dance once more.
It was Sir Thomas More,
lapped in bearskin, at the North Pole


who played the bear, who played the fool;
who played Disoriented Lamb
bleating I am, I am,
who flit the snowflake (melting soul);

his mother (Everywoman, from
Mulberry Street) wept
for the shame; she slept,
& it was glory in the end.  Hum

flickers (pictures in a whisper gallery).
The cranium of Unknown
Soldier wears the crown.
Empires of high frozen sophistry

shudder beneath an infant’s smiling
gaze.  It’s not the wise
who find the way (surprise!)
but every lovey-dovey Sing-Sing

resident – repentant heart, meek
mule.  Chaste planetary
hearth, Psyche-egalité
bright thunder-akme... slant, oblique

world-pirouette... Hagia Sophia
in a peacock’s fan.  Tango,
barefoot kid’s fandango
under the sky-vaults in Ravenna –

light of my light & yours,
Waltz of Three Bears
by Mendelssohn.  Flares
Franciscan, by Pacific shores.



cottonwood sky


In the steep ravine shading the river
Hobo’s eyes follow
smooth limbs upward, so –
into a cloud of silver-green shimmer,

Columbian sky-nest
of cottonwoods.  His squint
moseys like scattered flint –
mishmash out of Ocean states

into some kind of Land o’ Lakes
matryoshka doll, or Land 
o’ Goshen Big Rock Candy
Mountain.  The poet is a sacred

fool (or cataleptic converter)
& every shepherd’s an
effete abomination,
just a bump under a bumpkin tower.

Hobo keeps an eye on Henry,
ambling up there
on River Road.  Air-
head royale, full of acorn honey,

soldering his Goshen stone
into a manic-hollered
coat of caustic red
Rhode Island rooster-throne –

a sharpened archaic Goshen point
left at Minnehaha
Falls by some Ojibwa
dream-boat.  The time is out of joint


he cries, with a Norwegian accent –
O Jessie, O Ophelia,
my little tree, Columbia!
Come tripping back unto the oak tent

once again, out of the Ocean foam!
Flip your big dive, big Dove,
into reverse – for love
of Yahweh, & of Manitou, & home

sweet home!  An infinite Intelligence
invisible as air,
kind as mon cher
Francesco, wise as Providence,

clear as the sky vaulting these gray
heart-leaves – our octave,
Henry, Hobo... wave
on wave, on wave (lithe sun-ray).

From the standpoint of ineffable Person
an infinite free Spirit
(older than Cautantowwit,
with all his Raven-wit) – a Someone

omnipresent, serving restoration
to a hurt creation – mercy
exudes like oak-tree honey-
gall.  Some smiling heart-shaped cotton-

wooden crossroad Livingstone –
green-gowned Sophia
traipsing Milky Way-a
Sarabande (one, two, three... one).



the melodeon of civil peace


This silver light-pull on the black pathway
like a miniature dragon or
sperm whale (grey Minotaur
immured in Ocean labyrinth)... Ariadne

dropped it here for me, maybe
(bowline from safety net
strung beneath Golden Gate,
or strand of hair turned silvery

along the wheel of time & gravity).
In him the root of the matter,
wrote Cotton Mather –
he meant that turbulent sectary,

mild Roger Williams.  An apple root
it was, the legend holds;
clasped in earth-folds,
his buried limbs became sweet fruit

(at Prospect Terrace, where his bones
were laid).  Sweet peace,
he called it; a release
into that harmony among distinctions

Roger christened Providence, & we
e pluribus unum
a spiritual freedom
planted in magnanimity;

a willingness to mingle tares
& wheat, so infant conscience
tried by experience
find its own starry stairs


& not by force, but gentleness
its ripening prepare
to climb past nightmare
to the melodeon of civil peace.

So gather up stray iris-strands,
Henry.  That self-same
moonlit trail (slim
path between wrath & Rhode Island’s

liberté) was Alighieri’s narrow way
between Imperium,
Ecclesia... low hum
of Jonah-Beatrice (out of the grey

cloud-surf of Ocean River).
Garden & wilderness,
Solomon’s shepherdess...
airy Sophia in Hopkins windhover...

O delicate light-threads, pendentive
on twin pillars, anges
d’orange...  Who arranges
your catenary smiles?  You dive

with her dive, you rise with her rise,
surfacing... Hail, Jonah!
Out of the whale, Jeanne-
Arc!  The mercy in your eyes

– wonder in ours!  A gold mandorla
where the twin points meet –
meld into one – & greet
the Union with green palm... Alleluiah!



it's not the actual statue


The poem curls out of the soil
of speech, an idiom
of natural freedom –
not the symbolic Rose (Étoile

du Nord) but the actual rambling
pink thorn-petals
pendulous stained glass
welds to parallactic lightning

(baptism of liquid fire).  These two,
the symbol & the thing
itself, twirl interlacing
through the June weather – like Hobo

& actual Providence, the scrappy
burg Rog Williams named.
Free habitation, framed
by metaphysical hope; happy

locution for Rhodos-location.  Only
an Ocean state of mind,
maybe – where you might find
your inner JFK, sailing toward Galilee;

only a craggy Catholic Oak
whose simple fortitude
cools tempers rude, &
opened ears when Blackstone spoke –

lifting his anima naturaliter christiana
to chant that common law
inheres in English & Ojibwa –
sponge of manna-Minnehaha


drifting like green Columbia
or cottonwood fluff –
adhesive, light enough
for grave thread-whispers (ahh...

I understand).  Radiant Naiad
à New York, lifting her torch
for Liberté... hopscotch
of bare feet round hummingbird

maze-vat... such were smoke signals
for a wide corn-dance –
pregnant sum-trance
of orbic humankind, out of deep wells

(perennial realtà).  It’s not the actual
statue, the actual state
but what they indicate
(A-frame of Lincoln-log) – rational

celebrations of Memorial Days...
Thanksgivings (4th
of July an afterthought
of fireflies)... myriad ways

a Union of republican consent
gathers (in common sense,
civility) at the tense
apex of divine intent –

buffalo tepee of Providence,
Manitou table
of justice; peaceable
kingdom, benevolent, immense.



by old Bronze River


Every day’s a sabbath day
for Hobo in retirement.
He drowses, full content
by old Bronze River (jasper, say –

carnelian, or sard).  On an empty bench
left for Henry once
in Dante’s Providence;
muttering seek ye the good, mensch

avoid evil.  That would be a start.
The natural conscience
inheres in us; hence
dignity of life abides at heart

like some inalienable hearth-fire,
wants but a spark
to swivel toward magnetic
North (up near Itasca, where

scampers el Baby Rio del Espiritu).
That’s his geography –
some Hart-biography
sketched by the circle of a grey-blue

palm (O Thou smoky Hand
of Fire) – lightening the clouds
with limestone pigeon-crowds
& Jonah-spray... playful Leviathan!

O chaste & ancient liberties
free men & women found
promising iris-ground
out of primordial charities


when Pharaoh was scapegoat too
& idols of the king
morph into Arty-thing
or potsherd red-white-blue

jewel-eye... old Noah’s galley
wakening in Galilee,
when ordinary Mary
hums a grass-green prairie

ray.  The light of Providence
shines out of living things
her omnipresence – springs
on breezy air (moist & immense)

into the metamorphoses
of human times, places –
so many steeplechases
in one race!  Four horses

at Clop-Clop Ellipse rounded
the bend by Hobo’s bench –
each iron bit they clench
forged in a molten sun-crowned

whisper-salience.  Providence
Rose crossed over the line
in first.  Bright human-
divine dervish foot-dance –

key pivoter in clay, O starfish
sun-Leviathan –
O luminous Kid of Man
in cloud-basilica (original Ish).



arise, iris


An iris opened on the first morning
in June.  Like a Byzantine
empress, rich purple &
gold – her petals butterfly wings

or flying buttresses at Chartres.
In the mirror of her eye
a spark of fiery beauty
keeps us tethered from the start

to time & clay & gravity.
What we know of day
stems from the way
her lullaby enclosed Night Sea

with human shores.  So poetry,
say Anna, Nicolai,
Osip; the warm akme
glows like a sun-hearth, humanly;

so that we feel at home on earth,
where all our rights & dignity
are cherished – held inalienably
near, defended, justified – their worth

continually savored by our freedom.
This the bright consensus
won by Athens once,
& by Jerusalem – that liberty of Rome

as well, as well-water.  Oasis
of mild light & shade,
Athena-keel for well-made
coracle – pilot’s compass


through confounding waves – hardy braid
Arachne spun for us
to cross Pontus Axeinos
(Lethe too, returning from the dead).

Those immense majestic figs
haunting a promontory
in Pacific Sydney
guard the Observatory – wisdom’s pegs

around a mounted, tented hologram
of Southern Cross.  Diamond
of floating light – almond
icosahedron – luminous emblem

of the 6-way star Black Elk beheld
on prairie underneath wide sky

           *           *

invisible Manitou we travel by
all night, to where bridge-rivets weld

phenomena to Thanksgiving.
Kind circuit of a whisper-
dome, thy Presence clear
& sure Love-blessings bring!

That ghost dance out of Resurrection
Cimetière – when Buried
Man became unburied
after three days in the ocean-

chest of earth – concluded with a sail
due north, to Ocean
River, where it all began;
& now, like Jonah out of mother whale


or like Carlotta out of Vertigo
a little charley-horse
tightened its muscle-force
around the oaken knee of Sampo

(read : Humanity) amid thick shade
of English oaks (Fig-
Newton Township – dig?).
An acorn Lincoln-logos made

branched into spine & ribs & mast; 
the human rights of Edward
Coke transmuted seaward
in good Williams’ boat; at last

the courageous limb bore fruit – Soul
Liberty.  Where Alighieri
drew the line, we
carry on – our freedom’s in the whole

Thanksgiving Bowl of civil rights.
You cannot chain the wind
of smiling Manitou, nor bind
Creation with your rabid fights,

O fanatic unseasoned fools!
Free mind like lightning
(your dead branches blasting)
lifts just Jonah with her Golden Rule

& adds the pearl of high Sophia
Jesus chanted, Francis
planted... holy kiss
of cosmic Union – azure everlasting Gaia.



agate density


Dante nearing the end of his poem
ambled around Ravenna
under cloudy skies.  He saw
the glinting tesserae in the high gloom

of San Vitale, Sant’ Apollinaris,
yet loved best
that older cryptic nest
Galla Placidia (Empress

for a day, exile & refugee)
had plaited long before –
with panel of Jesus-Nazir
styled as Arcadian Orphée

clasping rustic David’s staff,
loafing on a green slope
shared with sleepy sheep.
He loitered, gazing at the roof-

beams, lit with swirly-interlocking
whorls of 8-point stars
surrounding one small cross
like neon phosphorus – marking

their zones of cosmic midnight blue.
The mausoleum held
no body.  The rough shell
hid its agate density from view.

Primitive angel glyphs in caves
across the planet glimmer,
lurking, waiting for her
aria of plummet-stone, through waves


of spacetime, spiraling in Dante’s ear.
Singing, bringing in sheaves
(while Ariadne weaves
her fleecy oarlocks round one salty tear).

So tesserae reform, like Gospel
beasts into one
M – a beak so aquiline
& sharp to tear the casket lid from Hell –

the shearing blade of sheep from wolf,
of infant innocence
from feral insolence,
scattering bread across a shark-tooth Gulf.

Ariadne lifts her penny whistle sign.
A chartered Paris yearns
toward heaven – burns
for shame... the Minotaur’s declension

stokes the flames, flares orange
for a time (4 times).
In the House of 4 Pines
wind-chimes supplicate one ange

d’or via strange door (subterranean).
The flute still rhymes.
The sunny shepherd climbs
a green hill toward his Galilean

Psyche-Mendelssohn.  Sibelius
ratchets his violin...
geese fly from Ravenn
into Estonian concord (a Finnish Russe).


engr. by Harold Sund (from Ravenna : a Study, by Edward Hutton)


to the Open Road


Hobo took to the Open Road,
from Minneapolis
to ancient Providence.
Like Mark Baumer, or Johnny Appleseed

or Pippin, off the deck of Pequod
unto lustrous ebony
of kings (their feathery
full fathom five... old sacred wood).

Gray tintype of elder Whitman,
stiff lead butterfly perched
on his hand.  We searched
for you, O monarch soul – your Plan

a prairie zigzag into Mexico.
Across the Rio Grande
to feathered-serpent land
pacing a shadow like raven-arrow

(Narragansett shade).  Crumbs
for Elijah-bird, Joachim-
eagle (from the seraphim).
Who plummets (wings like snare drums

thundering).  A way of traveling back
into deep green earth,
Hobo – measure your worth
for cedar berth (from Hackensack

to heavenly Jerusalem).  Transfiguration
chicken shack – here Hen
gathers his brood again
into the spare refectory (Franciscan


cornerstone) where Piero limned
an emerald almond branch
lit by a thread (match-
fuse flaring) like sun-skimmed

honey-milk.  So Hobo burbles home
downstream.  The Gulf beckons.
Blue radiance of suns
(YHWH, YInMn) out of Pacific foam...

& in RI, in San Francisco Bay
orange arcs of rainbow
(mulitocular O-show)
fan skyward Hagia Sophia spark-display.

A yellow-black viceroy wavers
from Petersburg, southwest.
Grave resurrection, chaste
Akme-vision... dark cherry life-savers

Persephone crane-dances
limping to the spring.
Natasha’s creaky swing
for Julietta 484   rusty romances

when we dead shall rise   ghost-dancing
circling into the cloud
of dust   meek now, not proud
Frank Muleteer   Jennifer Sing-Sing

abracadabra... Alcatraz
rock flung from sky
become canoe   your eye
be dew   pine-sap    river to Paradise



sunset orange


The grey pebble, the unknown soldier
flung like a meteor
or Pippin to the ocean floor
blazes with spiritual authority (chaired

in the adamant of Time).  Quick
fiery arc of Jeanne,
dove-mild, Columbian –
from sweet Itascan spring to thick

Louisiana live-oak grove (along
a serpent’s labyrinthine
swerve).  Dream-scene.
Microcosm in a hobo’s glass, song-

songe awakened on Rose Island.
In your eye, Henry –
in our eye (INRI).
Crossroad of a king’s last stand.

Royal beyond kings, in their halls
of mirrors (drawing near
like Minotaur, a minor
character in Humpty-Dumpty Falls).

Lightning of intellectual fire
with rattling Thunderbird
enclosing Red Wing – Word
for equal brother, sister – Sire

& Siren in candescent colloquy.
Sheba & Solomon
enfolded in one zone
Galla (octagon vault-canopy)


Placidia (ample, enduring crown)
might set like Orpheus
to shepherd sheepish US
to her clay plateau (emerald, ultramarine)

within Ravenna’s salty limestone
tombs (carted away
to Rimini, Ezra)
Franciscans monitor (Dante’s is one).

Henry-Hobo, ascending from the grave
of buried Berryman
under a Minnesota sun
shrives everything (old beggar-knave)

to thread the needle, so narrow
from Providence hillside
through Julian suicide
& Gateway Arch, to San Francisco

Porta Povertà – the Golden Gate
rimmed sunset orange
to rhyme with that strange
Libertà, shining in every heart...

the Jonah-Dove, or Jeanne d’Arc,
or Jenny Littletree
Corn Maiden, in D.C. –
my Pocahontas statue in the park

veiled by the evening radiance
of West Branch, Iowa.
I am the Mystery-Yahweh
of Life, she say – the dew’s sundance.