Tuesday, January 24, 2017

political double-double octet

political double-double octet
(1/21/17 – the Women’s March on Portland)

the raindrops come down straight when they do come down;
air raw, translucent fish scales from stratus

to sidewalk, Willamette running brown & roiled—
meeting under the bridge, then mud underfoot,

then feet moving, chaotic, linked, one river,
ten thousand times ten thousand molecules fused

to the cadence of drums & a sad trombone:
4th avenue’s transmuted, vital current

being this human in a cold wind, gloves soaked
blacker than ever; language on posterboard

passes dark indecipherable trees, green
light strings twining trunks, switched off; kaleidoscope

of umbrellas nonetheless, the drip off them—
they say when you stop shivering it’s a sign

of hypothermia, so I’m okay—choked
with complicated tears as rain falls on all

it’s not easy:  camellias buds marked time
clenched, constricted through the weeks of ice white air—

grass has surfaced along the waterfront: I
could almost hear your voice in that—not easy

opening; breath labors leaving lung’s blackout
to shimmer along the wind, emerging in

this world, mingling with all other visible
breath—how long have I waited to become this

Hicks painted 62 iterations of
The Peaceable Kingdom, the lion’s eyes gone

mild in each; Du Fu climbed Baidi tower, his tears
gushing from an open wound: a refugee—

one drop of rain becoming the Willamette,
one blade of grass grown equal to a flower:

that fringe of thousands sprouting on Morrison
Bridge, these magenta caps: so many blossoms

Jack Hayes
© 2017


For more on Hicks & his paintings of The Peaceable Kingdom, please see the Folk Art Societyof America & Wikipedia.

The Du Fu reference is specifically to his白帝城最高樓, báidìchéng zuì gāo lóu, which Sheila Graham-Smith & I have translated as “On The Highest Tower In White EmperorCastle”, though in my reference here it’s the more traditional reading of the tears of blood being Du Fu’s own tears.

Line 29 paraphrases Arvo Pärt, who said in 24 Preludes for a Fugue: “a need to concentrate on each sound, so that every blade of grass would be as important as a flower.” (kus niimoodi kontsentreeritud iga heli peale, nii nagu igal rohuliblel et igal rohuliblel oleks nagu lille staatus)

Image links to its source on Wiki Commons:

The Peaceable Kingdom: Edward Hicks, c. 1834. Public domain

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for stopping by & sharing your thoughts. Please do note, however, that this blog no longer accepts anonymous comments. All comments are moderated. Thanks for your patience.