Harold Rhenisch

Night after night
the god sings in the golden jugs of wine
in the basement; the soft clicking on the locks
of the carboys: one inhalation all summer
through the leaves of the vines, and one
long, slow exhalation all winter,
until that long, low, house-shaking
laughter quiets and he sleeps --
only to wake again on the tongue:
a sudden rush of time, released; a wind; smelling
of lichen and sage and shale: living.

The dead are time; we are space.
They are the stamens of a flower;
we are the petals, white,
edged with pink in the spring cold.
The dead flicker and flare --
in the houses, the air, the trees --
in all the things of this world. Baudelaire
steps out of the bush at Chopaka. A few stars -- snatches
of golden music -- sing through the nearly unending,
cloud: a world of water. Mallarme is there,
sitting under a cottonwood, in the rain,
and Bonnefoy, and there is nothing to say,
because it is being said: the current burning along the shore;
the smell of alkali and willow.

It is like that ring Browning tossed in the air,
playing with his reader: the reader
watched the ring and the glinting
Roman sunlight and was unaware
that Browning had led him down a road
away  from the ring; a ring of wax,
embedded in sand, then burnt away
with molten gold -- poured in -- and lifted out,
brushed off: gold: all of it so densely coded,
convoluted, that it seems at first there is hardly anyone,
alive or dead, who has read it,
and read it for pleasure,

but there is.

Harold Rhenisch Index
The East Village Poetry Web