Friday, June 22, 2018
Down and Up
Down there's steep, exceeding footfalls
in lunging weight of self, mixed with vacillation:
to mosey cleaner trails or finish hill to base,
course tree horns, creek trickle, mud-hovering
mosquito knot, and skunk lily in the shade's green paddles,
whence the turn-back clambering, weight of self.
A spawn of rotting stumps and the down-thrust paths
diminish, then find themselves again
over barring, long-fallen trees and muck
and face-found webs in the thickening heat.
More rotting stumps and lean-to trees; one-man
passages and some half-a-man-without-a-head.
Sometimes in an opening along the slope
a lifting of the quandary midst its ropes
has you hear: hugely secretive and busily
pitching voices from end to end. An old car is down there
thicketed near occasional drip drip
down from a level way that once was a backroad
or driveway - for what and to where, swallowed.
Burnt trees like steeples of charcoal
are down there. Splintered and toppled crops
of stricken boles are down there - and birds
like water-skipped stones, recklessly
over the down there under-story,
singing, shooting, stone-and-tree clear,
chip, chip, chip. A whale boulder that can have
a dozen people is limply hidden, wearing moss,
beached from an old ocean's cataclysm.
In the evaporated swamp, gathering sump,
pocked pinnacles of termite sponge
engulfed in leaf recesses; the grub homes
that the woodpecker opens up;
and the standing figure not trunk
between two trunks: broad-shouldered, dun,
housed in matted growth, could begin loping
on long legs, thrice man-pace, steadily toward you
from below, robe burning dark with living animal,
revealing unreal teeth, the guttural grunting growl:
man of the bears and wolves,
feral and stinking where you just stood,
out from the growing, rotting lairs;
odiferous wild man of the woods.
When evening light is out of the woods,
up there's out of: lifted weight of self
in airy, fulsome sunsets. Up there's out.
Green walnut's skin, bats and dragonflies;
dusk-downed llamas, cattle in the lidless fields.