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