Sunday, November 2, 2014

Someone More Adept Would Mute Its Voice


Jay Wright

Each instant comes with a price, the blue-edged bill   
on the draft of a bird almost incarnadine,   
the shanked ochre of an inn that sits as still   
as the beavertail cactus it guards (the fine   
rose of that flower gone as bronze as sand),   
the river's chalky white insistence as it   
moves past the gray afternoon toward sunset.   
Autumn feels the chill of a late summer lit   
only by goldenrod and a misplaced strand   
of blackberries; deplores all such sleight of hand;   
turns sullen, selfish, envious, full of regret.

Someone more adept would mute its voice. The spill   
of its truncated experience would shine
less bravely and, out of the dust and dunghill   
of this existence (call it hope, in decline),
as here the blue light of autumn falls, command   
what is left of exhilaration and fit
this season's unfolding to the alphabet
of turn and counterturn, all that implicit   
arc of a heart searching for a place to stand.   
Yet even that diminished voice can withstand   
the currying of its spirit. Here lies—not yet.

If, and only if, the leafless rose he sees,
or thinks he sees, flowered a moment ago,
this endangered heart flows with the river that flees   
the plain, and listens with eye raised to the slow   
revelation of cloud, hoping to approve   
himself, or to admonish the rose for slight   
transgressions of the past, this the ecstatic   
ethos, a logic that seems set to reprove   
his facility with unsettling delight.
Autumn might be only desire, a Twelfth Night   
gone awry, a gift almost too emphatic.

Logic in a faithful light somehow appeases   
the rose, and stirs the hummingbird's vibrato.   
By moving, I can stand where the light eases   
me into the river's feathered arms, and, so,   
with the heat of my devotion, again prove   
devotion, if not this moment, pure, finite.   
Autumn cradles me with idiomatic
certainty, leaves me nothing to disapprove.
I now acknowledge this red moon, to requite   
the heart alone given power to recite
its faith, what a cradled life finds emblematic.

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