May 19, 2016

Two poems by JOHN GREY


The path is steep
like morning scrambling over
the rocky bones of night.
Haze hisses from the hemlocks.
Pines plait the dawning pallor.
Antelope brush
like the hands of drowning men
waves from the ridges.
With deft footwork,
a scarlet tanager
leaps from branch to branch.
a twisting, seeping drop of blood
on a still-life canvas.
On every leaf and needle,
dew photographs the shards of sun.
The chill wind that flecks my skin
is soon usurped by a dark
underbrush warm.
In a small clearing, a bold shaft of light
partners with my face,
the nascent altar blooms of wildflowers.
This world's complete without me
And yet I'm in the frame.


So what is it a song of?
The rain stopping?
More wild-flowers breathless to bloom?
An added lushness to the grass
that trims their pond?

The dusk's laced with
plucked strings of frog throats
No other sound is so insistent.
Bird songs dither with their sense.
Animal noises waver between food and fear.
Only the amphibious chorus
is unrelenting in its tone, its volume.

So what is it a song of?
Rain or flower or grass?
The pleasure that perceives these things?
The duty that knows nothing but to tell?


JOHN GREY is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, Perceptions and Sanskrit with work upcoming in Big Muddy Review, Gargoyle, Coal City Review and the Coe Review.

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