Sunday, February 26, 2006

Friday poetry blogging, Sunday edition

I'm late. . . Sorry 'bout that. This week's selection is by Robert Penn Warren from his collection Audubon: A Vision. It's also in his New and Selected Poems, 1923-1985, which I heartily recommend.

Was Not the Lost Dauphin

Was not the lost dauphin, though handsome was only
Base-born and not even able
To make a decent living, was only
Himself, Jean Jacques, and his passion--What
Is man but his passion?

Eastward and over the cypress swamp, the dawn,
Redder than meat, break;
And the large bird,
Long neck outthrust, wings crooked to scull air, moved
In a slow calligraphy, crank, flat, and black against
The color of God's blood spilt, as though
Pulled by a string.

It proceed across the inflamed distance.

Moccasins set in hoar frost, eyes fixed on the bird,
Thought: "On that sky it is black."
Thought: "In my mind it is white."
Thinking: "Ardea occidentalis, heron, the great one."

Dawn: his heart shook in the tension of the world.

Dawn: and what is your passion?

October: and the bear,
Daft in the honey-light, yawns.

The bear's tongue, pink as a baby's, out-crisps to the curled tip,
It bleeds the black blood of the blueberry.

The teeth are more importantly white
Than has ever been imagined.

The bear feels his own fat
Sweeten, like a drowse, deep to the bone.

Bemused, above the fume of ruined blueberries,
The last bee hums.

The wings, like mica, glint
In the sunlight.

He leans on his gun. Thinks
How thin is the membrane between himself and the world.

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