Harold Rhenisch

Prevert, Ponge, Guillevic, Reverdy, Follain, Appolinaire.
They come in grey suits, one at a time,
as day by day the year sinks deeper
into October and day by day the yellow and red leaves
burn more brightly out of the once-green earth.
They wander around nearly helplessly,
under the walnut, but touch none of the fruit --
soft and pliable, convoluted -- shape of the human brain;
the memory of a bad dream
that they cannot voice clearly, but shy from
instinctively. They speak
about the marshes, the low flickering light,
and the sun, swaying and waving
among the reeds as if it were the reeds,
the whole world rocking -- a flat,
dimensionless light; small dark birds.
On the paths, from clump of sedge to clump of sedge,
they walk through still water. Somehow the light here
has matched the light
in that world of diffused sun, and they can be here,
briefly. Some days they are out there, singly,
among the flowers; some days there are whole groups of them --
as if they have come for a formal garden photograph
by a photographer I can not see.                                        
Their presence fills my mind with fire:
an intense bird-fire -- a flower-fire -- a language,
a dance almost out of earshot.

One night, after a heavy frost they are gone. The earth
has sunken into cloud, all the colours are sodden
and grey, the walnuts in the grass,
among the roots of the last snapdragons, are black,
and the leaves fall -- thin
beaten sheets of lead larger than my hands --
and strike the shuddering soil,
and are suddenly still.

In the silence as flake after flake of snow
settles on my shoulders, I hear the sound
of my footsteps, and the sound of walking, the earth rising up
to touch my foot as my foot sinks down
to stand on the earth.

The East Village Poetry Web