Dragonfly: Edmund’s Snaketail

This species is currently known only from six counties . . .
It was thought extinct in the 1970s and 1980s . . . .
Giff Beaton

You wing to perch in the tree’s crown,
to still as jeweled yellow-green.

Your wings are panes overlooking
current’s clear and tireless pouring.

Through spring into the summer’s onset,
you haunt greens’ spectrum of woods

leveling to foothill’s chill seams
riffling over erosions of rocks.

River’s shallows ripple through rocks
for you to claim, to scud patrolling

your glinting stint of territory.
Mosquitoes’ plague and fate of flies,

your hunger scans through leaves.
Your globes of eyes veer out from eras

of genes’ lines past your reckoning,
launching the rush of flight to the kill.

An arrow’s shaft, you fly to hunt
the targets of your four wings’ course.

A phallic shaft in flight, you sheer
through air to wings arcing up

from rock’s island. You clinch her.
She arches her clubbed tail to you,

pair bending to one wheel of two of you.
You circle eggs shuddering from her,

not knowing a man’s name names you.
Among human numbers, you don’t know

the nearing of zero. Caught in sight,
your gleaming is beauty in sunlight

over waters where instincts know
streams, rocks and trees’ heights.

For now, April carries your rarity’s
facet of time you are. For now, you are

a jeweled valediction, a living brooch
you give to a branch, jewelling time.

Rising, Opening, Encompassing

The universe is the only text
without a context.
Thomas Berry

Through different trees, wind becomes different sounds.
The pines become the wind’s sound, here. I hear it. 

Again the creek leads me along its seam, from my name.
Its artery opens out from trees, to a heart of water.

No identity will be time-honored. It will be time.
I feel mine. It is blood-honored. It is change-honored.

It is solitude’s language. It is oblivious sunlight
falling over leaves. Their ancient need greened to feel it.

Monumental time pairs into wings, flexing frail bones. 
Wings open like meaning under meaningless sky. 

Again geese lift from the pond I once knew well.
Their wings beat. Their harsh calls tear at the air

of my rising. We rise on our wingthrusts belonging
in our migration. In summoning’s wingwind, syllables

whisper through the rush of more slurring syllables.
The lines of being recite themselves. The primal poem

scores the lines of flyways through impulses born
knowing their courses, as creeks follow courses.

The one wing eclipsed the sky, wing of millions
of wings, shadow’s thunder of pigeons flown

gone into change-honor, accepted by change-honor.  
The disembodying wind calls my embodied mind.

Time is the cadence falling. It falls calmly as light
over leaves’ incarnation, carnage, reincarnation. 

The pond is left as ripples stilling, evaporating
from my knowing. My heartbeats count the tides

of blood’s migrations, pulses echoing out into older
iambics of nights beating into days, in the wordless odes.

Words of Time, Book of Fire

i.  Riddle of Sun

Fat roots that fucked deep
will shrivel.

From drought’s
dry earth, tall weight will fall.

A pine’s risen branching’s
once-green, once-supple
needles will parch,

brown litter fallen to crumble
when touched.

Wings will find sky’s flyways
that upraised eyes might target

to recognize in passing
as a tanager’s red wings
will blaze, flickering from

another instinct-guided return
to April’s branch. 

Like sea ice thawing, television glass
floats its dark surface

until a pushed button flashes it
into glimpses
of vistas of white

ice ridges crumbling
into slushy sea. 

Through polar wastes, forests
rose then died and froze,

as they would rise again
in warming sunlight.

Glaciers bled their freshets  
streaming down from summits,

as they would bleed away again
in warming sunlight.

Ocean spilled over plains,
as waves would spill  

again in warming sunlight.

Eyes will cut to follow then lose

red’s departing through green
flushing from branches’ seasons

of diurnal survival.

The blood-red feathers remember
through their color,

red’s memory veering as veins
into rivers, clearing to the air

of flyways’ courses.

Two wings will rise beating
among flocks of wings.

One by one, each caught in itself,

each bird flies
into instincts’ beckonings.

Skies of days revolve away
into night sky’s return,

horizon rounding
the width of a world,
measuring time’s hours.

A night’s clouds will clear
into the great distances

of the great night

always continuing
to spread, widening farther

into time’s sheer continuing.

The great night continues
to become itself,

to carry all spirals
of stars’ fire, of stardust,

of cyclopean clouds
and rubble.

The great night ferries
the drift of debris.

Great time is the chronicle
of the drift of debris.

In a forest’s night,

leaf embers rise to drift,

sparks widening
into wildfire widening

into becoming itself.

A wakening began
wakening itself toward more

than impulse, strangeness
opening through savannas
of strangeness,

spreading to seed
night’s continents with luminous
blooms of cities

and day’s tall stems of stacks
belching their blooms
of gray haze.

The gritty drift opens

as smoke rose hazing
from carnage’s campaigns,

demarcations of borders
lost in the flaming

of maps shriveling into embers,

each column climbing, billowing
mirrored in eyes

to blear after eyes
have shifted away,

smoke shredding into the sky

of clouds’ metamorphoses

and the sun.

ii.  Riddle of Pages

Time opens its night

littered with
its phase of stars.

The book drifts open

forever hinging
toward forever’s

last chapter of embers.   

The book of time slams open. 
Sudden, blown pages

lash, whipping into blurring.

Coal-red wings of pages float.

Each page’s eon passes, flashing

as each wingbeat flashes, passing.

The book offers
its pages’ blank oblivions.

Each page accepts
a ledgered lettering.

Glimpsed mantra after mantra
inscribes itself, to shimmer

through pages’ charring.

Sutras smolder into smoke.

Each sky of each page darkens

shriveling into black,
receding beyond the words’

incandescent letters floating

into nights’ constellations.

The electric freshet blazes a way.

Dream-steps waken

into finding their way, following
the line of meaning’s swift,
luminous runnel. 

The synaptic, coursing descent
radiant as lava
is the edge that guides
the footholds’ steep ascent.

The words speak themselves

as burning branches speak
their consumption, crackling
into recitation,

heard in illumination.

The oneiric gaze of upraised eyes
sweeps out through stars

to the farthest rondures
opening through all

of night’s eon-skull,

steps entering starless dark’s
void through rock’s skull

of a cavern’s cool,
sunless echo.

The ocher-painted walls
had been washed by torchlight
flickering through

skull-cradled thoughts.

A transformation persisted
winnowing itself

perpetually provisional

into swarming thoughts’ feverish
flaming of naming.

A going was guiding itself
climbing somewhere

swept with glimpses
of a vista’s distances
flickering through cloudcover’s rifts.

Up through itself,

scouting beyond itself,

a going would scale
clinging to a cliff face

up through itself, to debouch
beyond itself.

Mind would ascend

a mountain it would begin to feel
itself becoming,

maps of rivers
cascading, sparkling into rivers.

To emerge from time
to see through time –

through mind, to see –

red fire floating
in its bloating glare,

senescent sun oblivious
of oceans steamed away
from arid beds’ horizons.

To emerge from time,
to peer out through time –

brief minds would come to see

out through years counted
by a few sun-tethered worlds’

billioning circles, finally to wheel

through fire’s expansion,

worlds scattering as cinders’ flocks.

The turning page withers, collapsing.

The page crumbles
into ashes of archives’

measured and studied astronomies.

Smoke’s rise undulates, scroll
snaking in wind.

Smoke chronicles a pyre billowing
into dying away

beyond the long reign

of bacteria swarming
and churning

into joining and becoming
the burning.

Sun will consume stones

imprinted with what were once
wind-stirred fronds

and pinecones scattered
on ancient sun-dappled ground.

Sun’s lucence will consume

remnant stones shaped
from the shifting guises that flickered

to shards of hungering, searching
ape-shapes and man-shapes

sunken, locked under deepening
earth’s layers and weather’s
vagaries of ages
of ice, lightning and baking drought.

Mind would come to see the sun
floating in its laws.

Mind would come to see clouds ruled
by sky’s intricate laws.

The littered letters
brand themselves into the pages

hissing words
smoking into disappearing.

There in the page, a mantra
is another spring migration
of a tanager
glinting to a branch. 

There, winter forgets itself
through ice cliffs collapsing.

There, a sutra is sun’s

glimmer over a river

of traffic inching over miles

of a highway’s baking asphalt.

iii.  Riddle of a World

Empty cavern of a skull

had held a night of bison running
across cavern walls,

all held deep
in unheld night.

Some fragments will be dug
and lifted into sunlight,
carefully brushed
of earth and numbered.

Other rubble will remain
incarnations gone, like memories

unrecoverable through layers
lost in layers.

Parchment chars.

Smoke rises washing
into eddies, as waters eddy.

Rivers know nothing
of lives ending on banks

declared to be borders.

Maps’ paper yellows.
Maps metastasize,

browning into blotches
knowing nothing

of ink’s delineations.

A river’s rush fights
its war against rocks,

until carving its strength
as a hill’s arid scar.

Drought abrades green
scoured into sand.

Rivers offer their waters

to the conquering sun.

The photograph holds

a monk in last gesture,
cross-legged on asphalt

in the orange of a robe,

in the orange of gasoline’s
aura of flames.

The moments gleam
through an image past pain
of one life’s sum

in fire’s orange lens.

Flames’ sinews ripple.

Sparked pistons slam.

Asphalt’s scroll spills
toward desert’s sinking sun.

A human skull hovers
in flames. It floats

in sunburned skin
of bicep’s ink,
leather-chapped thighs

hugging gas tank’s
paint-sprayed slash
of meteoric flames.

Circle mirrors circle.

Vortex twins vortex.

The two tires blur
locked in chassis.

The two wheels whirl

caught as in curse
of pursuit.

Caught in one course,

one wheel races never
to catch the other,

as one wheel will never
evade the other.

They pass roaring

toward somewhere.

Unearthed, ore’s fierce

incandescence pooled

cupped in cauldrons
to be poured and forged.

Steel wheels clattered
down steel tracks,

steel car following steel car

heaped, trailing windrush’s
wake of black dust

to snake across plains
under night skies’ drifts

of cauls of clouds
eclipsing constellations.

Unremembered forests
darkened into ore,

finally torn from mountains’
soil renamed overburden,

to be reborn in fire.

Pines sun-hungered
to open into themselves.

Like messengers, pines
stood in their waiting.

Finally, a time ripened

into a choosing of time –

time of the possible
times that might be chosen.

Sun-summoned beauty hungered
to become itself.

Pines climbed, sun-sung paeans.

Out from the smoke
of the burning page –

Out from great time’s drift –

Out from all of blind time,
first eyes budded

to later mind opening

into a time for seeing
sunfall’s world –

to see it – to know it –

to be it – to keep it –

until voices within voices
finally ripple through flocks

departing through sky –

voices of messengers.

Blowing through sky,
a hiving of words

will whine away, farther
from words

forgetting words − I plucked

the gleaming apple
from a branch

The page wilts, warping
the imprinted words

of the ineffable fable –

then I saw the branch
struck brittle

as the tree of knowledge
creaked and cracked

in sunglare as it fell –

The scattering of words

will flock as birds chattering

into the mute distances.

Mosquitoes’ swarms will whine

lassoing into wind-whine’s
swarms of sand

calming to pages’ ashes
drifting down.

iv.  Riddle of Sparks

Foreheads raised
in Wednesday’s rite
will wear the black of ashes.

Voices will take flight

choiring within walls
lifting windows’

sun-brightened spectrums.

Panes’ puzzle pieces join.
They glow, coloring

the numinous scenes
of a savior’s sacrificial life

and of a mute angelic visitant
hovering on wings −

sun’s illuminated world

eclipsed past colored glass.

In dusk, the spectrum dims.

A book’s black and red

scriptures imprint the white

of pages’ allegories
of the good and of

the eclipsing of the good.

Seed heads rose

to sway in wind
through fallen columns

of gods’ ruined temples.

Color of blood, like drops
fallen in sun-warmed grasses,

would open into blooms’ red

of ratany, cardinal flower,
bee balm, crimson clover.

A pulse will throb. It will repeat

through a wrist’s red warmth
of blood’s passing.

Being’s mantra will repeat.

The mantra of being’s
question will echo,

echo’s repetitions dwindling,

dimming as words’
black ink sinks

into a page’s black charring –

what lived as you?

what lived as you?

Hand will let go of hand.

Form will depart from form,

the ashes of permanence

floating through aftermath.

The great book’s pages
will shrink away to sparks

showering through darkness,

darkening into darkness. 

It will burn away.

It will be the teeming
phase of stars

entering the end of stars

cooling and crumbling.

Beyond time’s youth
of the great, bright spirals,

residue will float, unraveled.

Darkness into darkness,

atoms will flock away

into separating.

Atoms will drift farther

from other atoms,

detritus parting

in unfelt cold

of the ultimate night −

of the conquering night –

v.  Riddle of Moments

Viridescence opened

promising all leaves
into opening.

Time summoned

in a moment in the sheen
of a temperate sun,

into the feeling of days
becoming themselves.

In all of great time,

the self would cobble
its redoubt of selfhood

at its decades’ borders.

A line crosses an empty field
of the white of a page,

line of words extending into words,

line of sky’s invisible flyway
wings follow into exodus,

line following into generations
following into generations,

line of viridescence

becoming all leaves
ever to open.

Meaning’s mantras would quiet

until silent as ashes floating.

In the page
of the ineffable fable,

two wings return in spring
through flocks of wings,

sunlight warming morning air
to sift through leaves,

aeolian breath whispering

of the scattered triumphs –

to see it – to be it –

Oblivious sunlight

reached down from sky, bestowing
what would become

the verities

of viridescence –

to live as you –

to have lived as you –

What comes to appear, seeming
the good or the true

what comes to seem to be
meaning and meant

whispers, trailing into rustling
aeolian through a life.

The lived decades might find
the invisible flyway

through the verities.

A year follows years’ flyway
circling sun’s radiance.

Borne by, born into

great, oblivious time,

the moments open
into becoming themselves.

Feeling might find the flyway
through the moments

of the meant.