Fall 1990, Volume 7.2



My father is dying
and I must go
as the wave must fall
as the wing must fold
the light must fail
point fine
must keen
a kinsman's grief
against earth's cold recall
the barren chant
the cut off rose.
My father is dying
yet I must go
as the seed must swell
as the harvest yield
and spring prevail
I now
must glean
among the sheaves
of what I can recall
yet go, for he
has left me
seeds to sow.
Sous la Pluie
weary of clinging
to half-life
in the grey day
fall into the twilight
of my face
and counterfeit
what will not flow
from eyes
unaccountably dry
in Paris
under the rain
Storm in the Osage
for Winston Weathers 
Low pressure over the Great Plains
alerts the blackjack sentries
to scout down the ochre wash
and signal
with thin January limb
the milling mass of clouds
like grey-spotted ponies
straining to top the red hills.
Into the burgeoning hush of grey air
a limb falls
a light streaks
like a band
of mottled warriors
the storm strikes
with clubs of hail
and blades of rain
counting coup
on the flick of black fur
and lash of brown eye
and the flash of our cousin the red-bird
in what's left of the woods below.

Ojibwa Lament
birch-bark shrivels
helpless as a winter leaf
seared by a shaman's curse
dry eyes burn
blast by a strafing spirit
whistling through my winter teeth
dry skin chafes
cold as the winter dead
above me on the high bier
the frozen heart
of spectral leaves
and skeletal trees
in a phantom terrain
where the shadow of the soul
settles on a limb
just out of reach
and waits

Spring Song
The meter is established by my rake
so full of sunny February zeal
that drifts of dry brown shrouding
quick spring up
trochee of rosegray
and iamb of green
The note of wintersong so long unstopped
will soon respond to fingering of rain
quickening earthbreath
pulsing of sun
and urging of star
Until my rake yields up its raspy song
to conduct of a jonquil's thin baton
invoking Spring
in hymn of hyacinth
and lilt of lily