Thursday, June 23, 2011

poem || Peter Sherburn-Zimmer

Poetry Is Making and Seeing

'cold air
on the sill
close the wind-
ow portal of the day'

the poem has the pedigree of a mélange
or a stray dog sniffing
turned over trash cans
for illumination

our European knowledge of china has come via latin and french and at any
rate the french vowels as printed have some sort of uniform connotation

what is needed in San Francisco?
ask in the bay and in the tenderloin
a little curtsy on the sidewalks
of the financial district would also help
and a schedule of farmers’ markets throughout

while putting the books away
and letting the words speak: arigato
said to the bank teller and
to the broad smile of the guard

we heard the chorus
of beautiful voices
from intelligent women at the gallery
and were thrilled at our entrance
into paradise

all in the service
of ‘making’ an aesthetic life
in lieu of the ethical
or the life of action…
an either/or for another millennium

my friend complains
about eternity
but then writes poetry
and offers tea
instead of a deck of cards

copyright 1955
and still in print
making the circle into a circus
in a salient solitude of delight
and rage and looking forward to…what?

that tight muscle
in the bottom of my back
makes me want
in the middle of plenitude

the glare of afternoon
below the shadows sings
reminds the lazy mind
of skies without birds
nests without pollen
regrets without the pine and the oak:
a land lost to stillness
and a city not quit sure
it will not turn mad
with the next electrical blackout
leaving automobiles stranded at street corners
fire trucks hoping for a flame
traffic turning and turning
and relief only with the end of the day

or steal silk
for the bath
and let my conscience
boil over
with ease

I listen for
water in the afternoon
and am satisfied
bitter tea

Creeley made the occasion
a cliff before
rushed beyond
what yes-
terday could imagine

to sing you
love songs
in your own Esperanto

I heard an unfamiliar voice
say unfamiliar things
about Egyptians and gods
I did not know
and felt comfort somehow
that I too could enter
the world of the unknown
without tearing my pants

the naturalist
takes delight
in each turn of
to what can be found

where weeds grow
trees stand aside

even lost scissors
come back
when I am looking
for a poem
it does not always
on its own

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