Poetry Life & Times March 2002 Continued:

Poetry By Michael O'Grady

See Main Page for biography.

Index of poems:

  1. Relationships

  2. Ducks

  3. Good Day

  4. Limestone of Poitiers: Twelfth Century

  5. Sleepless in Night Thunder

  6. Unto the Palindromic Year: 2002

    © Michael O'Grady

    Maybe I should become Gregory Corso,
    wear my hair the way it wants,
    say "devil pancakes," "eggplant patties," or
    "all women are no good and that's that."
    Maybe I should just curl up and be done with it.

    I could go to Luxembourg and open a word shop,
    eat in the park and watch the dogs peeing,
    let the flesh under my eyes turn to cigarette butts
    and not notice when anything at all happens,
    even if it has my name on it.

                          I could get a job
    on a big boat and disappear in the life boats
    when there was no emergency drill. Appear
    on the bridge with messages of obvious falsity,
    fly a kite all afternoon from the aft deck,
    hang out in the lounge with a rubber mask
    of Diderot hiding me from the uninterested.

    I could go west and keep going, as though
    it were 1824 and I would keep in my mind
    that the gold rush wasn't over, at least until I
    reached Nevada.

                           I could predict the past
    and charge people by mail for information
    of huge import but long gone.

    Or I could propose to Martha Stewart
    and help her with keeping track of mustard jars,
    freezing leaves and making stencils out of old soup labels.
    Or I could continue to feel as I do and just go on,
    as though nothing was happening, which is often the case.

    © Michael O'Grady

    I like the ducks who swim in pairs.
    They sometimes go their equal ways
    And face the waves with earthly airs.
    Each bird, beak and body bares
    And then on wings their feathers raise.
    I like the ducks who swim in pairs.
    They lightly sing the changing airs
    And would, if able, voice their praise
    And face the waves with earthly airs.
    I seem to sense another's cares,
    Reflecting willing love on waterways,
    So like the ducks who swim in pairs.
    From crumpled feather each repairs
    To spring again and curve above the bays
    Or face the waves in earthly airs.
    They somewhere nest in downy lairs
    Among the weather's cumulous days.
    I like the ducks who swim in pairs
    And face the waves with equal airs.

    Good Day
    © Michael O'Grady

    Do go gentle into that good day,
    Bright snow blows back the black of night;
    Engage, engage the dawning of the way.
    Thin flakes, as petals floating may,
    Descend in solitary, random flight.
    Do go gentle into that good day.
    Upon the beds of buried bulbs and hay,
    The sober snows in time build height,
    Engage, engage the dawning of the way.
    These specks of snow amass upon the clay,
    Foretell Spring's fractals, the flowers light,
    Do not go gentle into that good day.
    Incremental jots blossom where they lay,
    Become peonies, morning glories bright,
    Do not go gentle into that good day.
    Engage, engage the dawning of the day.

    Limestone of Poitiers: Twelfth Century
    © Michael O'Grady 6/3/00

    Gord in image chiseled high the spout.
    Old godly rain it rained adown in March.

    Leather lathered from the oils in coat
    Of lamb; earth lifted high on faith's scaffold.

    Taught grotesque the stone, he thought.
    Meat monger, John: fat for roasting fire.

    Chunk, Chank, steel to stone in chips.
    From rock to gargoyle, evils wrought.

    His arms winged in majestic orb-wait.
    Nearby. Hard rain down shall fall.

    That Fall would thunder court and fell
    My rise to Master, tremble All that Is.

    Spires needle heaven's woven weave;
    So moves my hands in stone; no word.

    Sleepless in Night Thunder
    © Michael O'Grady

    This silence, where I cannot see your hand before my face,
    Is torn with bursts of full illumination, rent with thunder,
    No sound of gentle rain upon the roof nor your fonder voice.
    This dark, where forms are gone, the sleepless green of grass,
    The surety of trees, the light on sand as we walk the shore,
    Is fearful in its firm solidity, its quarry of weightful ebonite.

    The house is rattled by the batter of vast claps of tremor.
    Huge billows of this shuddering barrage roll upon my panes
    And the lightening splashes incandescent, galaxies of light
    That image darkness, furl and die, pummel me with weighted fright.

    I never feared the storms of bursting light and sound,
    Never entered in and touched their anger manifest.
    Safely covered with a sea shell round my head,
    These furies and these lights were buried in a swallowing sea.

    Oh, but there now is the gentle rain that softs the dust,
    A change of air, as though your hand had touched
    My back and hidden parts and lifted water from your well.
    The rancor of the night subsides and ground is watered,
    Moist spring leaves await some flowering of your voice,
    Your tender shoots, the wave of dawn that lights the shore.

    Unto the Palindromic Year: 2002
    © Michael O'Grady

    This globe has ice: above the pond of dormant carp,
    Quick silver frosts the poplar branches
    Limned with rime. Veined leaves have sagged
    Under earth's flung spate of frozen fire.

    Yet the small mesanges that feed on seeds
    And feather color in the frozen air
    Show flickering signs that all warmth
    Has not fallen, nor has flying grown a deadly art.

    The light now at solstice, intense and plangent,
    Turns mauve in the western-darkening afternoon.
    This early night for some is blankly calm,
    Some with fear feel crystal ice on stone.

    Yet in our turn around the centered fire,
    We see the umber bark beside the green of pine,
    Beside the bud that waits upon the yearly arc
    To show again the jonquils come from soil,
    The sun rising on the melting pond of lilies,
    Hands upon all shoulders, a wider landscape.

    May the arc again arise, melt dark poplar ice,
    While small fish sing their iridescent scales.
    Let this pelagic pebble skip the roiling waves
    As rousing waters tune their longing lives.

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