The Small Self and the Liberal Sky
Perhaps you didn't realize
Anything can happen under a sky like this.
Never give in to surprise:
Not for mountains
Who turn under sheets and breathe in
Each other's green scent;
Not for the lights where nobody lives;
Not for the blood-colored mushrooms
That rise up one after one like little presidents;
Not for the small self, afraid
It has misunderstood the question.
Oh it's prepared to answer anyway,
It has its array of modest affirmations
Like anyone. Just that –
So many years and something in the leaves
Does not fall.
I find young starlings in the lake's ice,
Their wings spread like death-flowers pressed in a book;
Find moths spawned in the woodshed
Like a winter's supply of blossoms.
It's just that I was looking for a world
to walk into empty-handed.
That's when I found you, female, shamelessly
Sailing toward me in your folded paper boat.
Don't deny it, please.
At night the self feels smaller
And water is scarce in parts of the mind.
The small self is obliged, therefore,
To take back everything
Anyone has ever said.
No one is allowed to speak now
I thought it took
A red-tailed hawk
To make hunger
Look so easy.
It was your first time with me,
You lay awake all night,
Though your clothes
Went right to sleep
Like man's best friend
When you slipped
Into that other landscape.
As if the steam iron
Of being a whale,
Becalmed in sea-wrinkles,
(Such a lonesome cowboy)
And walked away.
How were you to know
Stood on their toes
For a better look
When you brushed your hair
From your forehead –
They were undone!
The vacant sun
Has better manners
When you rose
In the first, slender light,
It touched your shoulder –
But only a little –
As if to say
Excuse me, you dropped this,
Having risen all night to see you.
I've been reading Galvin's "Resurrection Update" the past day or two, so beautiful, a little haunting. Though he lives in Wyoming, anyone in the the west can claim his landscape. Or maybe just anyone. Wish I had time to write out Leaving the Tilted City, or Left-handed Poem. Or more, To See the Stars in Daylight, because I wrote a poem called We Live All Day Beneath the Stupid Fucking Stars, and it will teach me something.
But it is the morning of Christmas Eve, and the to do list is long, and snow is falling out my window, making the world more quiet. Which makes me think of the snow post earlier, and Mary Ruefle.
I would've call this post sky if I hadn't already used it. But I am glad I did, because small is more appropriate: this morning, poems, little quiet moments that break open the sky.
of a size that is less than normal or usual. "the room was small and quiet"
synonyms: little, compact, bijou, tiny, miniature, mini; minute, microscopic,minuscule; toy, baby; poky, cramped, boxy; informal teeny, teensy, itsy bitsy, itty bitty, pocket sized, half pint, little bitty; wee, short, little, petite, diminutive, elfin, tiny; puny, undersizestunted, dwarfish, midget, pygmy, Lilliputian; inadequate, meager, insufficient, ungenerous; informal measly, stingy, mingy, pathetic
not great in amount, number, strength, or power.
of limited size; not big
narrow, slender, thin
not fully grown or developed; young.
used as the first letter of a word that has both a general and a specific use to show that in this case the general use is intended.
synonyms: slight, minor, unimportant, trifling, trivial, insignificant,inconsequential, negligible, nugatory, infinitesimal;
informal minuscule, piffling, piddling; de minimis
(of a voice) lacking strength and confidence.
little; hardly any.
(of a business or its owner) operating on a modest scale.
synonyms: small-scale, modest, unpretentious, humble
archaic low or inferior in rank or position; socially undistinguished.
1. something that is small: Do you prefer the small or the large?
2. a small or narrow part, as of the back.
3. those who are small: Democracy benefits the great and the small.
4. smalls: small goods or products.
5. smalls, British: underclothes; household linen, as napkins, pillowcases, etc.
into small pieces. "the okra cut up small"
in a small size.
"you shouldn't write so small"
2. in low tones; softly
Old English smæl, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch smal and German schmal, Greek mēlon small domestic animal