Perhaps it is now the other way around, / and I have become an almost-perfect lover, / caring little that the Gods love poets less.
July 28, 2020
In Baclayon, Reading Levertov’s
“For Whom the Gods Love Less”
Perhaps it is now the other way around,
and I have become an almost-perfect lover,
caring little that the Gods love poets less.
I am begun again, anew, listening
from the open window to the old tambis tree
drop red bells of fruit onto the grass and roof.
In this humid May afternoon in Baclayon,
the guava redolent on the branch meets the sun-
bird’s praise, both scent and song passing through me,
as though I have turned into all-embracing air
in this keep of grace, Levertov’s radiant wings
decanting shadows, urging the only way to let love.
(For Seann Tan-Mansukhani)
The prayer flags you brought me
from your month-long retreats
in Nepal hang in my garden,
fluttering blessings in the wind.
This morning, I spied a yellow-vented
warbler pecking at the frayed edges
of the oldest flags, stripping the threads
and carrying these up to its nesting partner.
I imagine her beak receiving filaments
of bright red, blue, green, and gold,
weaving each into the twigs and straw,
a sheltering circle of prayer-fragments.
On a betel palm’s midrib, the nest
balances, a trick of geometry
winged beings know, threaded
into tarsus, throat, and song.
May 7-15, 2020
A Turtle-Poet Dreams, Given Time
Exiled from work by typhoon flash floods,
She waits in her room for the whirling winds
To calm down, reads her beloved poet in bed.
Saint Kunitz prays: O teach me to work & keep me
Kind. And she, swimming now among Stanley’s
Turtles and lilies, slowly rises to the upper rim
Of the pond to dance with him a kind of waltz
To the beat of three finger bones— dactyls swinging
Back to anapests, to and fro like the wet hammock
In the garden. She clears her throat, hums
The lauds: Nothing here. There’s nothing
To have here but slow, sweet time.