I'm a poet and artist living in Maine and often in Mexico. I have three books: Guerrero And Heart's Blood, set in pre-Conquest Mexico, Where They Know, poems, and In Love and Wonder, paintings. Poems have appeared in Little Star, The Caribbean Writer, Numbat, The Adirondack Review, Wolf Moon Journal and others.
Through the Woods
The trail was whispering beneath my skis,
The fir boughs heavy laden as I passed.
A snowshoe hare jumped out and loped ahead,
Its whiteness into whiteness was complete.
I’m lost, I said, but also knew I’m not,
And ached a satisfaction to my bones,
Could hear a deepdown drumming in my chest.
I moved like smoke, well oiled in my own sweat.
But there was really nothing left, no sounds
That I could turn into a living thought.
The gliding shadow of myself was made
Of snow and air, and up the graceful hills
And down we went, my shadow-self and I,
And all around, the winter whiteness glowed.
Where are the pine trees I climbed to the top?
Where are the cats that I named all Penny,
She who left for a year and came home fat?
Where is the horse that loomed at the window,
The moose at the door, startling my mother,
The boy who ate worms just to watch us gag?
Where is my childhood friend named Jack, who knew
By the age of ten, somehow, what he’d be,
The same Jack who moved far away and killed,
So we heard, his wife, then himself one day.
And where is the orchard that fed my dreams,
Where I ate green apples, sprinkled with salt?
And where is the sitter we plagued so well,
My brother and I from the top of the stairs,
That she never came back? And where is
That white haired old lady now, who sat on
My bed to hear my prayer, then said to me:
Death is a dead end stop. There’s nothing there.
God of the Cracked Cup
Bathe my voice in you, drown me in
Your own black wine, breathe for me
An air where all my fear is not.
Burn me backward into ash, then
Resurrect me whole again
To live a beacon, knife-edge life
Where every nerve’s a whisper-howl,
A flower whip, a flower-flame
Desire in blood and bone and brain.
In blue the early hours begin,
In green, the wildest weeds and stems.
Profusion’s middle name is mute
But calling everywhere its charms.
We love the summer’s hurry by
Parade of ecstasies and we,
Its brothers-sisters rooted well,
We rush to name the passing high
Midsummer, 1st of new july.
We follow on a chance of wind,
We crowd the days with breathing in
What’s hardly there, delicious air
Now filled with green profusion’s spell
On how we live, in living here.
From A Dream
The denizens doddered. A few.
More were like guests who were fluid
In musk, seemed made out of silk, and tall
As steeples on stairs, going up.
There were rooms to choose (quickly please),
Four floors, I remember, and each
Had a spell of its own, with windows
Of shimmery glass that held trees
And blue sky, and boats with scant sails
That always seemed full, moving
Slowly down river forever.
Portents of slithery evenings
And dawns filled the place like Chanel
And crystal with wine, and except
For some noise from traffic outside
And the sight of weary old men,
The vision remains, of sea-foam
And sky and elegant women
In throwaway gowns and windows
That shimmered with summertime clouds.
There was once a blue day into which the birds sang
And never stopped, when the too real dream you woke from
Had faded into the beauty of a single hour
And all the voices in your head began to shout:
There is a name wrong on the invitation list,
On the sign announcing who’s never going to come.
It was on this day that a great work needed your most
Constant attention, but what you found instead, what you
Saw at last, was that you hadn’t prepared for it, that
You hadn’t, after all, learned how to labor, and knew
That even the shining smile of love itself had become…
A harrowing adventure you no longer dared to take?
And, that your refuge from it once again would be
The same dusty Eden where even now another Eve,
Wet from the sea behind her, smiling and dripping
And holding back her hair, is standing at your door,
Ready to announce: The Healing Of Mankind Is Near.
©2014 Alan Clark