|Image (c) Erik Johansson|
House on the Hill
I’ve built a fine house on top of my head, grey
dormer windows, tall stories, preaching chimneys,
heavy boards of years across the door.
It’s easier now, not going in and out,
and I needed a way to keep out the dead.
The time it's taken you'd never guess, to
trim my ears into topiary frogs, meticulous sentinels here
by the door, crouched comical, listening and green
on the hair I’ve mowed smooth as a fog. Totems
well placed can help keep out the dead.
Of course, my eyes still stay outside, blind ovals in
the wild blow of storm, hit by each unseen coldslap surprise,
while inside my house, white incense smoke takes
the sweetened song of a bird in a cage from attic
to hall, to ward the doors that keep out the dead.
There's the child in her room, lining treasures up.
See her bone beads of grace in a plastic cup gleam
rich red in an eyeglow turned in, flicker
and spark giving light where there is
neither fire nor candle to keep out the dead.
She wears my mist necklace of disappearing jewels
clothes of umber leaves, shoes from old squirrel tracksleft on the lawn, paints my face with the scent
of rosemary rubbed on the dark skin of dawn,
come climbing up over the living and dead.
And the view is good from the slanting roof,
laid on the summit of my growth, looking out
where my own eyes ever go, beyond my topiary ear
to the walled horizon of clouds and fear
the dead must cross to get to here.
A little Octoberish music from the past, which I was inspired to dig out of mothballs by a post at Oran's Well. I haven't revised it much.
The artist for the image at top, Revelation Fields, is Swedish photographer Erik Johansson. All rights belong to him. His website of amazing art is here, and his print store, here