Leslie Philibert - 2
What is Happening to You Now
Light from this page; the bleached wood
Reflects; the cornea bends the wisdom, the
Iris breathes each syllable and the retina sees
All.Each phrase runs down the optic nerve
Like a scalded cat in a greased alley.
A banged-up neuronal room closed, locked
And strange. What you started to read a few
seconds ago has fallen apart and then been
Joined again.Lights over the horizon ;
a reaching out, a new moment; a healing.
Hair of the spider,
the old man`s curse;
spicules of ice
That turn my windows
into a French pattern;
older than rime
white as a virgin`s hair,
hard as Winter`s face.
A Blind Man Looks at the Sea ☊
Let me be sighted in the sea wash,
late waves, back water
that curls as foam under the Moon,
my face pulled to the tide,
my eyes brothers in salt,
no startlight, no endlight.
Gulls sing at the first
slight wind that changes
direction in my ears.
Let me drink all this;
ebb and flood, wind and sea,
sea and wind, flood and ebb.
The windows of my soul have been
sheeted; cool and soft,
white rooms and blank tiles
digging in snow,
sucking at ice in the last big cloud.
Like a ballon I must be tied
to the arms of the earth. So
curl me up and wash all the mess
out of me, being a shell
of rubber and pumps.
I am filled with things that once grew.
My last lover, a box of lights and pictures.
I might even wave
or blow a kiss across the white sea.
Let me be pushed, let me drop like milk.
The Crystal Palace Is Burning
You do not expect glass to burn;
letting out the fire trapped in panes,
white light having been caught before.
But it does.
They say you can see the flames
as far away as Brighton.
The end of an age.
A widow in a frame of
melted lead and cast iron.
Flowers of smoke.
A fallen bird,
with ribs of a serious time.
A Dry-Stone Wall Near Coleraine (for Seamus Heaney)
as if the pale stones
share the warmth
between two sides;
sea and field cut,
early light and full morning;
the path weathered and slow.
an island full of shapes
patterns of bricks and numbers
and the thin voice of a bird
lost on a strange planet; so start again
and disregard all the faces
that bend under order, just
watch your own dancing hands,
listen to your own stolen voice,
you are deep in your own sense, underground
until the world implodes,
a puzzle flying, the lines crossed;
a broken window full of stars.
The end of a white road;
pearlwort in a stone square,
cold and calm the wind.
The tanning of a whale;seals at dance
dog eyed in the morning and lost to snow,
shapes like stones in new skins.
Petrels fall out of the wind
(sky and earth tipped;a passage into grey).
So mourn for the green in another place.
a distant bodhran;stones and breakers in
white-boned water,shattered glass,
endurance the last sleep.deep in fern.
a bent silence
unattended the changes
subtle through the hours
a white-horse star astray
blocks of darkness
that fall badly
a town at sea beyond halo
the night sky, holed cloth
as a motor bees down
a river-road full of coal
starless, too late to guide
the air empty.
The Lost Poem
Shoved in a jacket, a folded heart
a breakage of notes about the body fascism.
Nach Auschwitz ein Gedicht zu schreiben
ist barbarisch. So sing then a song about
Oswiecim, about the ice on the Sola,
about Silesian firs, tell me the story of a
train hanging under the stars, late from Hannover.
Tell me in hushed words about a hole in a roof,
about rushed concrete, about the sinking to ash.
Then throw this poem into the Sun.
No paper can carry this weight.
Let me be a casement
that you open when
you look out of a window or
a sill full of warm moss
to rest your hands upon.
So when my profile
and every swing door greets
a stranger an old man has
kidnapped my soft face.
My eyes are full of red lace
my wrists alloyed with copper
my body fallen into chinoiserie.
So let me collect, talis qualis,
small sins in a tin box
postcards under shoes in a cupboard
as the breaking of my shell is
the looking at pictures through a window,
bits of the past, calls on a dead line,
everything gone but not gone.
Walk Slowly At My Burial
take the pace out of step;
the black beetle crunches over gravel,
a block of ice, stupid silence
carried like a china cup
nearly down, a ring of flowers,
the first prize packed like a gift,
six strong men are needed to carry
my boxed bag of bones;
flaps of skin and the old-man smell.
Hold on. A moth in a lampshade
couldn`t bruise its wings less;
scared of the fall into cold loam.
a puzzle of rivers and ice
a dead fish dances under a witch`s dress
birthless you have become an ancient fir,
seagulls bend slowly in the salt air
and chatter over the freezing whores;
the sinewed ships are full of string
and cloth and wood that strain
out the songs of men lost to earth;
so pull through the alleys full of water,
thick-footed with the glazed eyes of fish;
winter`s door is ever open,
trees that draw from the coast to higher ground:
pure and wolf with frost.
the sky sunk low to the sea
wet towels slapping in the wind
sea-eyed and water-faced
with chipped front teeth
sinews taut under young skin...
and the ebb
that makes stones drift
between a child`s thighs
down the beach
down the beach
running into the dilute
a salt step crying
footprints lived short
as if just lost
shouts stolen by the wind;
time to go.
The moon fallen next to the Rhein;
a black stone burnt and chipped
as black as the night`s eye
as dark as midnight`s coffee
as hard as the last touch
as strict as a monk´s hand
as quartz as a buried knife
as burnt as a warrior`s brooch.
This bird gasps and loses feathers;
sick with a stomach full of stones and
a thousand years; two fingers pointing at heaven
a block kneeling to water
a prayer caught under a hammer
a pale boy hanging on a wall.
All ready to launch; to be pushed into the brown flood;
over holy mud and under the ochre of early evening.
Cold and quiet; let it take to water.
Morning (for W)
your breath in the night
as outside the rain
be kind slow
your eyes bohemian glass
but other in dawn
be kind slow
your drift over varnished floors
a nightgown full flowered
the chatter of cups and steam
be kind slow.