Monday, March 15, 2010

Poem -- Ides of March

Having seen the film "Night of the Shooting Stars", it haunted me -- and strange that Caesar and Brutus should have struggled in the same way as the men in the film -- what is friendship -- why does belief in a system interfere... and how is it, that we care for our "own" and shoot the outsider... This poem looks at wind playing the oak -- of course, we know the wind can uproot the oak, as in La Fontaine, but the Oak is also bending away from civilization (the telephone wires), its masculine trunk and branches half-clad, wearing a feminine skirt -- and a meditation on brown is not bad -- how the etymology means "dark" -- how brown is actually composite -- chestnuts, reds, golds, earthy shades... and yes, enough road kill poems have been written -- but it still hurts to see animals felled by the roadside... and how do we participate in this? you too? you too? What is betrayal as we turn our eyes away.

Ides of March, 2010

Today, the wind is playing the oak
that bends away from the telephone wires.
It tussles at the brown curls and clusters of leaf

this brisk day in March in upstate New York
where no Brutus, no war, not even an earthquake
interrupts the insistent music of wind as it shimmies

the skirt of clinging leaf. Dashes of caramel, coffee
a hint of chocolate, catch on elbows and angles
of tree as mannequin before a new change of fashion.

The tune whispers in waves of ripe wheat,
something sinister, like the scene in Night of the Shooting Stars
where countrymen, divided by allegiances,

scatter like rabbits. The film plays the word survival
strong as Mussolini, or Americani or Verdi requiem,
as peasants snake through the sepia stalks of a Tuscan field.

Ripe crowns of grain shine in the red twilight,
broken by the sound of thrashing, like rattlesnakes,
the brittle shake of men about to escape or kill.

A German face is a Sicilian face, is a brother’s face
is a lover’s face, but so quickly forgotten:
a trio of men tending a fascisti

turns to ask for water from the trio tending a partigiani
and suddenly it is not about tending
as all grope for guns to shoot perceived enemies.

Back to the oak’s tune, above the road, where to the left,
lie the mangy remains of a raccoon, to the right,
a deer whose hindquarters gape in fresh red.

The wind picks up, and spruce boughs start to heave
under the cold diamond spit of rain.
Beyond the hum of the highway the echo of a coyote

as he sounds here is my turf
it resounds And you? And you?
Et tu …

submitted to i Poetry – poem of the month 3/15/2010
and sent to Dwain and Borderlines

No comments: