and across the trees and pastures and commuter-rush...
softly, sweetly singing songs of daylight's resurrection...
a no-promises day...
This poem is by Agi Mishol, translated from Hebrew by Lisa Katz. The poem is from the Winter Solstice 2005 edition of Runes, A Review of Poetry; Signals, published by Arctos Press.
Mishol is an Israeli poet consider by many in Israel to be it's most prominent and popular poet.
In the middle of
I stand like a chicken
on the forks of my legs
if at least
glazed with rain
I would whiten
but this way
in my situation
rather I live,
not for my own sake,
with a cockscomb
on my head.
another Sunday morning
moon falling toward the west horizon,
slips behind a lacy morning cloud, hiding
the shadows of its ancient scars
grackles, on cue, fly from their nighttime nests,
cover the sky,
dark cape of the Phantom of the Morning
strong winds, warm and wet, blow smells
of the southern sea
across the stark remains of northern winter
light seeps from a pinched eastern horizon,
the sky not ready to open to any new day
moon shadows fade as sun shadows grow
toward the retreating night
cat does her morning stretch -
doubles her length front to back,
legs reaching in both directions, belly on the ground,
little red anus like lantern light at the end of a train
dog stirs in her bed,
too old for morning calisthenics -
eyes lift up, then down, enough for now
snow in San Antonio last night, sunshine this morning,
though the prism of crystal ice brightens the day
with cold intensity of light...
across the way, three deer cross a meadow...
the morning so quiet I imagine
I can hear the crunch of hooves breaking virgin snow
I blame it on something I ate
this queasy stomach and watery eyes,
like looking through a water-streaked shower curtain
that's the word for the way I feel right now,
what it's going to feel like when I die, assuming
I'm not going to die in some screaming, crushing,
meat-grinder of a car accident, which, I'm thinking,
would be associated with pain and the world
at it's most extreme, the opposite of disassociation...
I'm thinking of how it might be to die in my sleep,
one moment dreaming,
the next moment, becoming the dream
as self separates from it's carrier, like stockings
slipped smoothly from a shapely woman's legs
then passage to the next form,
a new pebble dropped into an old lake,
rising and falling with a slow and steady tide
and thinking of that end makes me feel better today
up at 4:30
sunsets are a spectacle here,
ranging from lemon yellow to searing red...
but I still prefer the sun as it rises,
less like a movie special effect, more sedate,
a gradual lighting of the sky before the sun
slips over the east horizon...
appropriate, I think, that as each day ends in a blaze of glory,
it begins as a tiptoe through the dark night,
like my own start in the morning, quietly, down the hall
to the bathroom, careful not step on the blind cat
who sometimes gets lost at night without me to guide her
and ends up on the throw rug outside my bedroom door...
I enjoy the day's beginning,
the sights and sounds as seen and heard from my patio -
alone in the dark, then not alone as first light filters
through the trees, waking birds who begin their morning calls,
then the first pink of the sun,
finally showing itself over my neighbor's fence,
then full light, the dogs stretch and bark at the train
passing several miles away, so quiet the morning until then
that the clatter of their wheels and wail of their whistle
sounds so close, like just across the creek and down the street,
right past the house where the policeman lives
with loud family fights and parties every Saturday night,
conjunto bass shimmering in the air, slipping through dancing
sometimes wondering if I should call the police on the police,
remembering they all carry guns all the time...
but this morning, none of that, up at 4:30,
just me and the gathering sun an the birds and dogs
and a train, like just right next door...
night lays in
night lays in with a sigh
like an old woman pulling bed covers up to her chin,
breeze rustles trees like feather dusters brushing the stars,
frogs come alive in the creek,
on my patio, I strip down, lay back in my chair,
and join the frog symphony, imagining
the fresh, cook mud between a catacomb of reeds
on the rain-freshened creek-side, imagine
the blood-tasty mosquito caught on my long green tongue,
settle, squish into the singing night
muffin-making and other activities of the long night
it's a bright and sunny Sunday morning
and I'm thinking about sex...
I can tell some of you are surprised that I'm thinking about sex
on such a bright and sunny Sunday morning
and I don't know why...
I'm an old gent, after all,
a getting-on gent, a heading-for-the-last-round-up-gent,
a drawing-near-to-that-last-hill rise cowboy, and men
of my particular chronological condition think about a lot of things,
the weather, dumb-ass politicians, uncomplicated bowl movements,
occasionally a poem, and sex...
mostly sex, cause even though we may not be getting much of it
anymore, sex is still the prime concern, at least to those
whose wilty whiskariser has yet to fall off,
and since my whiskariser still abides, I spend a lot of my time
thinking about sex...
that's just the way it is...
just ask any whiskariser-intact old man and he will confirm
if he is the least bit honest, sex beats weather and dumb-ass politician
to think about any old day...
this bright and sunny Sunday morning I'm thinking about a particular
lady I once knew a long time back in the old days,
back when Ike was still hitting par with Mami, a particular girl
I'm remembering who nipples were in constant confrontation...
the one always hard like a marble, proudly erect like a sweet dark cherry
on a cream-puff pie, the other lazy, always lying back, holding back,
small and unobtrusive...
her conflicted nipples like her conflicted nature, the one ever-erect
showing the wild part of her, that always ready for the next adventure,
the next sensation
touch me, kiss me, play me
lightly with your teeth, she'd say,
lick me like a triple-dip ice cream done
and other such things she would say I'm much too shy
to repeat in a public forum...
but there was still the other side of her,, the
the nipple so slow to rise, like reluctant muffins,
so hard to arouse, the nipple of modesty, of consequence
and restraint, of look twice before you leap,
the nipple of probably shouldn't leap at all, the nipple
of banked fires and still nights and clouds slow moving
against dark and starless skies...
but the fire was not out, just laid low,
waiting for the breeze of soft whispers to flame again,
to re-ignite the stars, to push the clouds and clear the sky,
the fire when it came as hot and bright as any other,
only slower to rise...
and it was in the conflagration that the two sides of her
joined in the end, confusing me, sometimes,
leaving me never knowing which of the two sides
would come with me through the long night till dawn...
but the truth is, while possibilities varied,
there were no bad nights when sooner or later
her secret identity was
her. Bear loves the
Way. To the human
Singing. to the
of he Milky Way.
dreams so quietly.
your voice. Tonight.
crests the eastern mountain ridges...
the desert floor a blaze of reds and yellow and orange...
arms stretched wide, embracing the failing light...