Poem for the recent eclipse

    Notes on a total eclipse of the moon, Aug. 28, 2007

    Pack Creek Ranch, Utah

    The moon didn’t pay its electric bill
    so says Petra on the solemn lights off
    Irreverent from sleep as fast as quips the moon pulling
    its cheshired up-drawn wings of a white lip
    How it fades, curtain drawn, exeunt
    natural as nothing I’ve ever seen
    foregathers night to its why, even the coyotes ask
    They cry longer this night than I’ve heard the summer long packs
    usually one loner cramped and curmudgeon
    Now singers chirp, gargle, gong
    not settling for the moon going away.

    But the moon goes – it goes! And the coyotes can’t quite believe it,
    the hourglass goes, the curtain goes, the eye goes, the meadow up high goes
    and the rock down low goes and the pinyon forest goes
    the land goes, our camp ends
    Drawn down, a wink and a wink, the pearl goes
    and the quicksilver goes
    The poured light goes, and the fire goes, and the tin pan goes
    and the last match goes
    to red milk and umbre and sienna and red fog and Pluto’s ashes
    the one precious pearl seething in the south sky goes
    towns wink out, the last men go
    to their valley and to the river between the cliffs
    on boats of patch and clay they go, never to come back.

    Only fools sing that the summer is gone and lament the season
    of the high light – it’s over
    The rains will come and snuff out the fires we built once high
    on the mountain
    There will be no more waterfalls born in the gold of rainbows
    run over by our cars
    no more ten million stars falling, no more breasts of women
    or girls naked as girls
    no more of the lakes and the rivers so warm
    we slept in the water
    The moon goes, it goes, I want to bang drums
    call on my tin pan burn my tent and eyes
    but none of this, not one fool extravagance
    of the old superstition holds the moon still nor the season from its chance
    because it goes, it goes, it is only aureole only shadow
    and then, in the sentence at last, it is out
    The coyotes have learned the lesson, stopped their song
    gone to sleep
    I imagine they have found a canyon
    in the new darkness to their liking
    the men are gone down the river
    the towns are abandoned
    only the fools wait for the ashes to come back.

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