Idyll, Oct. 2001


The rain low, the white asses of deer fled

The field high over the valley

I walked the field smiling and wet

A little lewdly over the soft hill dripping

Wanting to roll around and shout and run and dig

My face in the women hills.


I hadnít been away in a while.


I went out into the mist hills of the little East

That are more ancient than the Western peaks

Cold-faced feeling blessed like He

Which is knowing what is holy and what it means

Through the holy fog on the green womenís hips

Through the thicket raspberry lashing my tent pitched in the wet autumn fern

Rain crashing for slow minutes, out of steaming logs the white wisp crisp yellow

Autumn in streambeds where the water was bearing its resurrection.


I went out remembering the berry hooked to a thread of the old poet

Who believed in gyres, things coming apart, the method to save it, kabbalic

As the stone of night.†††† And now my city burning, and I went away

I take long hikes in the afternoons, backpack full of nuts, water, poems

I lounge along the trail in the dirt where no one comes

Propped on rocks reading aloud, murmuring more like, until dusk stubs the red autumn coals

The forest floor raises a few inches, imperceptibly a few feet

Until I am much shorter, the woods haunt, they say: Be quiet.


And walking away looking back I flush with a start (mine and his) turkey wings

Beating out a passage of ancient hollow drum music through the fir boughs filtering

The same light that cathedral windows shed when it rains outside, and the wings thudding

Make me walk faster.


I cross the bald hill out from the windbreak fir into wind facing

Past the walls fallen in of a farmerís house

Who chose well once, rich earth, a stream nearby

But was chosen out by illness or ill luck, miscarriages, alonenesses

The ruins growing elms, the valley massing the last light.


I walk the line of a bluestone wall the farmer built

Describing his land from the landís, and look back to the fir forest

Through schools of yellow fish-fire, then all the air like a brown river

The bald windy hill suddenly snuffing out in blue blurry black sucking

That seems to come from the wood, carrying sounds of the carting of stone, the snow

The men, shoeless and without homes, hugging themselves against the winter.


††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† -Christopher Ketcham