Tuesday, April 07, 2009

A luxury beyond reach

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Consider The Morning

At first I am happy to find the small speckled egg,
quail and unbroken, alone on the ground, then feel
the small quill of sorrow for the unformed nestling
that will never hatch because its time has eclipsed
in the fragility of such living things subjected to the
ruthless principles of indeterminate cause and effect.

To have the morning to consider such a thing is
a luxury beyond reach of lavishly marbled banks,
elusive as what cannot be found in the implausible
itinerary of even the most clever hotel concierge.

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A butterfly’s torn wing; a lizard’s dropped tail still
writhing like dockbait before the shy worm’s abode
settled in the mold-coddled architecture of a split-
level acorn. In the near distance comes the call that
will never be answered: Wa-see-choo! Wa-see-choo!
the tasseled sentry alarming the egg-laden bevy
scattering like grass seed for the shadowed thicket.

Sparrows, too, sow their impending sorrows, common
as found materials that bind and weave us into nestmates,
the crashing sky caressing, the patient ground littered with
delicate dispatches of what passed there, in feather, by
bone, surrendered structures better suited for purposes
as befitting the brief notice of poets who gaze out windows
in search of what reveals when such blinds are unshelled.

Joseph Gallo
April 6, 2009


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3 Comments:

Blogger Kyle parried...

It is a luxury, isn't it? Or a blessing, or maybe a responsibility. William Stafford wrote, "For it is important that awake people be awake,/or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;/the signals we give—yes or no, or maybe—/should be clear: the darkness around us is deep."

April 12, 2009 8:02 PM  
Blogger Joseph Gallo parried...

Ahh, my good friend, Kyle: Thanks for your kindly comment as it is always muchly greatly appreciatedly.

With luxury comes tacit and implied responsibility. Or at least it should.

Were that idea observed and held to in this world, we would not be in the suchstate we're in.

"... the darkness around us is deep."

Title of one of his eloquent books. I loved Stafford and count it as one of the beloved moments in my life to have shared a meal with him.

Where is that poem?
Oh yes, here:

Dinner With William Stafford

It could have been a great exchange
of two poetic minds, a yielding of hearts
wise beyond a life measured by a simple
amassing of runted pulses, a genteel
camaraderie that might have seen raised glasses
drained in robust declarations beneath smooth
and vintage moons in a more rakish time.

But we sat at opposite ends, over too clean
a table and too many others. Snow is much
more interesting when mottled with flecks
of dappling, like the skin of his hands blemished
with liverspots, dry as fresh tablecloth.

Against the wall, his shadow was concise
and faultless like a moth across the miles
scenting its own kind in the darkness.

He sat quietly except when a politeness
fed that silent need a room has for company.
He drank iced tea, ate bread, and something
small like the hours left to him.

His eyes seemed to rest on what mine
yet struggled with, like a primate considering
something stripped of language.

So we ate, just ate, and I watched this poet
of pure form and substance, simple and unmeasured
eat his small food, drink his simple drink.

No wonder he lived
in Oregon.

Joseph Gallo
October 1996

April 14, 2009 12:46 PM  
Blogger Daniel parried...

I thank you for posting such a great picture of a quail egg. My son found a couple dozen in our backyard and we weren't sure what they were until I came across the picture you posted.

Mystery solved, thank you. :-)

May 09, 2009 7:44 PM  

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