Shaun T. Griffin is the editor of Torn by Light: Selected Poems of Joanne de Longchamps (1993) and Desert Wood: An Anthology of Nevada Poets (1991). His most recent volume of poems is Snowmelt (Black Rock Press, 1994). Other work by Shaun T. Griffin published in Weber Studies can be seen at: "I Am More Afraid of Wind than Rain—of Travel, Poetry, and Sons," Vol. 16.1, "From the Ash of Human Feeling—Teaching Poetry Behind the Fence," Vol. 18.2, poetry Vol. 21.1, and "Letter From the Blackstone River: Under Fog with the Porcupine Caribou," Vol. 22.2.
But what have I seen that cannot be uttered?
The fiery spokes of paintbrush—devils, I believe,
stacked on an emerald spine—
leafless but for the scramble
up a high desert slope, the candle's foothold
under clouds. We trust the thunderheads
to nourish this wild red hair, if not now,
then tomorrow, when it spins to rust
on the seam of a breeze.
Or take, for instance, the cornflower—
swizzle stick of the backyard
plopped among the weeds like Easter eggs:
pink and white and blue,
the long cylindrical plow we name
for its Belgian ancestry.
"Koren bloomen blau" my mother-in-law says,
and the plant puckers with its falling
to dust, a green field of stems.
We ride the rogue daisy that drifts among the sage,
yellow but for its derby
smack in the middle of petals.
This lemon truffle floats round the curve,
Chaplinesque, a natural protrusion of feathers
but for the quills of clear ink,
and there beneath the hat, a cabbage leaf
in the swill of daylight, its closest relative
either shaman or shadow.
And then, the alpine lupine—
a powder blue lace on the road's sweet neck.
How do we come to name you? Bowed, empty of hand
blue dancer, pirouetting on a bed of pebbles and sand
whose puffs of denim we wash with each passing.
What white and blue star collided with you
on this ruddy grade, spire of cool
mountain color, to make flower
from a crown of rock?