Friday, July 2, 2010

Night poems


You see a flash of blue in the air at midnight,
that blue, the blue of a kingfisher's wings,
and you take flight from the seen to the unseen.
Poor strategy: the unseen is my home.
You hide from me where I live.


When you thought the fire was out
flame leaps from the heart of the wood
so strong you're surprised it is safely contained
in what you expected to be a cold hearth.
There is no smoke detector to warn you
if it were burning out of control.
Know this: tended or untended, the fire lives.
It will consume you. As fire lives in wood
I live in you.


Irène said...

There is a moment that sometimes visits me, never in the morning, never in the late evening, a colorless space that I grew to hate and avoid (usually through strong coffee and empty buziness). During these moments, from fleeting to a couple of hours, life itself seems utterly unspectacular, flat and incredibly boring. I learned to wait it out, I get close to nature, look at leaves & pet my cat and accuse myself of being ungrateful and unworthy of the abondance that follows me everywhere.

Reading this poem, places the image of a "dead" fire perfectly over this space, and I can see & feel my body as used logs. I don't (think I) hide from the blue spark of creativity but I do sometimes loose sight of it.

Thanks Robert, for the wispering voice of the flame. When next needed, I will look for the blue light & if I don't immediately see it, I will think of this poem and remind myself that it's there

Don said...

Your poems, especially number I, remind me of this quotation from The Little Prince:

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what isssential is invisible to the eye."

I appreciate your post.

Don said...

I need to correct that horrible typo:

"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.


Robert Moss said...

Don - I love slips. "Isssential" implies what is real and essential, beyond vicissitude, or change.

I also love the wisdom of the Little Prince.

Robert Moss said...

Irène - Thanks for your lovely evocation of "the whispering voice of the flame" within what only seems to be dead wood, and of the Book of Hours in every day.

Carol Davis said...

What a beautiful, evocative poem. I resonate with "the unseen is my home" and "the fire lives". I have a long association with images of fire and wood. Your poem takes me to many places. One memory of an old song plays in my heart. Here are some of the lyrics by Leonard Cohen:

Now the flames they followed Joan of Arc
as she came riding through the dark;

And who are you?" she sternly spoke
to the one beneath the smoke.
"Why, I'm fire," he replied,
"And I love your solitude, I love your pride."

"Then fire, make your body cold,
I'm going to give you mine to hold,"
saying this she climbed inside
to be his one, to be his only bride.
And deep into his fiery heart
he took the dust of Joan of Arc,
and high above the wedding guests
he hung the ashes of her wedding dress.

It was deep into his fiery heart
he took the dust of Joan of Arc,
and then she clearly understood
if he was fire, oh then she must be wood.

Robert Moss said...

Carol - What a remarkable Leonard Cohen song, moving in its evocation of the Maid's date with the fire. Always good to hear your voice and your truth here.

Wanda said...

Beautiful poems - I think of so many times and spaces of my life where such a fire burned and may still burn.

Robert Moss said...

Thanks, Wanda. Looking over my journals, I see these poems came to me very quickly, after the following passage in the hypnagogic zone:

On going to bed, a slightly giddying rush of visual impressions, as if a dozen scenes were opening at once through overlapping vortices. A sense of floating and bobbing. Before and beyond all of this, a glimpse of blue - a clear flash of kingfisher blue, first seen with my eyes open, making a convex curve in the darkness to my right. I did not go to it, but I sense it never left me.

Louisa said...

In praise of hypnagogic states, a fleeting memory of a half-forgotten song from the olden days flashed through my mind when I read Robert's Blue poem, but I could not recall what it was. It did not come back to me until I was about to fall asleep on Saturday night.

The song was written in the 1980s by the singer-songwriter Sergei Nikitin, a PhD in biophysics, to Boris Pasternak's translation of an 1841 poem by the Georgian poet Nikolai (Nikoloz) Baratashvili, a dashing aristocrat, who, like Byron, was limp and died of a fever a bit earlier - at 27. Despite much grumbling about faithfulness of the translation, which has never been among Pasternak's strengths, this poem has become a cultural staple. I took the liberty and, with Robert's blessing, added my own entropy to this exciting play of Georgian blue:

With blue, the color of the sky,
I fell in love when I was little.
Then it meant to me
The blueness of other realms.
And now when I reached the summit of my days,
I will not give up blue
For any other color.
It is fair without effort,
This color of my beloved's eyes,
Your bottomless gaze
Is burnished with blue.
It is the color of my dream,
The color which the heights are painted,
And the blue liquor
In which this earthly world is bathed.
It is the swift transition
From mundane to the Unknown,
Away from the relatives
Mourning your departure,
And the thin blue rime
On my stone.
It is the bluish wintry smoke
Of darkness that envleopes my name.
But now that I have reached the summit of my days,
I will not sacrifice blue
For any other color.

Susan said...

Such beautiful poetry makes my heart achey........

My God~ The Joan of Arcm poem, or Nikolai's. How can I walk away from these and never read them again? I will save them instead.

I am familiar with Blue.....

Robert Moss said...

Dear Louisa - Thanks so much for this lovely rendition of Pasternak's rendering of that Byronic Georgian, Baratashvili. It already feels like a dream journey, singing words traveling from Georgian to Russian into English.

I, too, can say:

I will not give up blue
For any other color.

Robyn said...

The fire lives in the wood. Beautiful poem, Robert.