The forest is closing in
black and white, twigs snap
underfoot ghost stories
told in the night. In those days
at least you could tell
your stories from ghosts
and see the confusion
of laughter and fright
in the glow of her face.
As for these days you have
grown to know how to use now
to locate her glow
in the face of your art,
though surely you know
she would doubtful consider it that
or see the confusion
of laughter and fright
in the rock-steady glow
of the black and the white.
I sleep and dream you’re with me,
Then I wake and dream you’re not;
My every dream with certainties
That prove to be their opposite.
It’s when I’m drifting in and out
I’ve often wished you’d spare me
From your familiar second thoughts
And gently shared misgivings,
Though lately when you’re lingering
It comforts me to guess
Your soul believes my sleeping dream
To be your home address.
One day I’ll dream you’re with me
And the dream won’t come to pass.
Where here there is snow and where here there is rain
where here we’ve heard either a bird or no bird
we may look to the snow or look to the rain
and ask, not both a bird and no bird are here?
Well, yes and no—not both a bird and no bird.
a fig tree in fruit—
not both a bird and no bird
to be heard
*Title is a reference to ‘Bird Song’ by Robert Hunter and Jerry Garcia, upon which lyrics the accompanying haibun (or some might argue not a haibun) is modelled.
Presently I must return to my kin,
for the law has decreed it to be so
my dear feathered friend.
As it will pain me to leave you behind,
for life on the wing is no place for a shadow,
so it would plague me to bring you below:
I fear if the knowledge of you became common
our prison would run out of puppets to govern.
If this were a dolphin performing a trick
of light with an arctic pear chandelier,
would mirrors be vases and sunflowers rust
on re-entry or visually similar?
If that were a theatre curtain drawn back
from an ocean wave passing your window,
would safety orange do for the dolphin
or would you prefer it tangelo?
If those were ripples in milk on the wall
and the arctic pear chandelier tinkling,
would force be the window, the window the load,
or the dolphin an armchair to brace in?
I once knew a hornet’s nest intimately
as my own mother’s womb, but the honey-
comb cells held no honey and the hornets,
if that’s what they were, were no Delphic Bee.
If Kant was alive today
to hear Guthrie Govan
soloing on Regret #9,
he’d say “Man!
That’s what I mean