Transparent Words - Poetry


4 Poems by Gary Blankenship


The Forest in the Winter at Sunset


Near to the moment before

the last light of day dies,

beneath a dome of twisted oak

suggestive of the Cathedral Base-Breue,

paysan woodcutters hurry

and scurry towards their hovel

stooped with loads of windfall,

acorn, chestnut, a hidden

lapin or two, belonging to

Fontainebleau's glacial Patron.


Long shadows of day's death

blend into night's dusky cast,

not for these simple villains

is the forest an edifice of church

or state, but the gnarled hands

and arms of ancient giants.

As the creatures of night stir,

weasel's squeak, loup howl,

willow's rustle, bear prowl,

nighbird's song, spectre shriek;


after all they are no more

than five, maybe ten, leagues

from where Bors slew innocents

and the ruins of Oise Castle,

where Elaine de Lutin held sway,

so they drop their loads and run

for hutte and simple comfort,

Pere from home made pear wine,

fils in Marie's warm arms,

the forest's beasts held at bay.


The painting by Pierre-Etienne-Theodore Rousseau displayed at New York's Met




Greater Canadensis II


(thanks to Jimmy, who wrote:

ready to return to southern
marshes where they spend the winter.)


Tis said the average adult goose

lets loose three pounds of droppings

every day.  With over 30,000 geese

around the sound, that’s all lot of

(throat clearing) natural fertilizer.


I see no reason to doubt the experts –

a walk in the park

stroll on the golf course

even a jaunty lark on city streets –

I find goose beneath my feet.


We wish their return to southland marshes

to spend the winter months;

but whether global warming

or natural cycles of heat and cold,

they stay year round growing ever more bold.


If we ate goose more often than Christmas,

there might be some joy

in their remaining in our wet lands,

but urban hunting is frowned upon

and who knows how to pluck a goose?


Our dirty shoes, geese good luck?  At least,

they’re good for a spot of poetry.






the call

from ghostly ziggurats

"war, war, war"


and Hulagu smile


We are taught the first came from there,

civilization and kings,

writing, records and the law,

bread, flocks and the wine of life.


We are taught Abraham came from there,

that the two rivers flow from Eden.

We suspect Cain fled to there,

to Nod and Enoch, the city of his son.


the babble

of rotting corpses


Armenian, kulak,

the sons and daughters of Joseph cry


We are told the last battle will be

fought on the plains of Megiddo.

Today, I hear it on my radio

from the marshes of Shatt al-'Arab.



muffle the call to prayer

smother the cradle

with the smell of almonds

and hammer of ploughshares

pounded into swords





Leaves Left Unburnt


The trees are empty except evergreens

and ragged inkblots where crows

and starlings shelter against the wind.


The lawn is deep in brown curled maple,

dirty gray alder and cedar needles

dropped during last summer's drought.


We could rake and burn the leaves,

but they are wet from autumn rains,

ugly debris mats strewn across the grass.


I kick my feet through the rubble,

considering if I should pile leaves

to romp through as we did when five;


The kids will not; their eyes stuck to the tube,

they'll wrinkle their noses at the thought

of wet leaves and hidden spiders.


From near the western shore, I hear music,

the sound of geese moving South.

I grab the scent of a neighbor's outlaw fire,


and jump from a running start

as we did when we were six.




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