Our lives go by to nowhere,
quick as hawk-stoop
or a shunted current earthed, yet
how can I forget the slink of pulse
orbiting downy temples?
We live with ash, cold absence
stoking grey December afternoons.
The plainsong day, the pig iron melt of days,
reminds me of the names we answered to
and this need we learn to live without.
The urn of acids,
inky salts of animals, the mineral spangled all
press to prove the alchemy
of the tongue’s quicksilver,
this ingot clutch of thigh.
Sunk in gravity
as stars wink out, sinking to
a headlock freight beyond its core,
it finishes, thus, a map of winter sky
above you as you walk away.
Uncertain, fragile, life begins
in semen trails, and requires
no further motive. Where is today,
tomorrow? Time, dainty to the death,
nimbles through these registers.
We looked out as snow was falling.
We opened blinds to the slop
of half-made crystals and the clouds
dull with solstice sun. A sleeker weather
called us, pilgrims to a south that warmed.
We built this climate as a house is made.
Sky trowelled to winter textures, timber
planed to pen-stroke grain:
drought and the slake of rain, burnt days
and wet run through the sap.
We cast each coin for luck,
tumbler nuance caught cold and called.
Love rules or blinds
through appetite or chance,
and only certain souls are saved.
Love me now and stay, or leave
still loving as the light dissolves.
We exist in lives apart from time
amended to the physical, where love redeems
and is remembered.
The world will end, with sucking gills
or loops of voicemail
scratchy as the power fails.
Articulate what rarity remains, a little love
beyond the burning rain.
Copyright © Estill Pollock 2003
Estill Pollock’s first book, Constructing the Human, was published by Poetry Salzburg in 2001. He has recently completed the remaining books of the trilogy, Decorative Initials for a Book of Hours. Recent journal work appears in Able Muse, A Fine Madness (USA), Tears in the Fence, and Oasis (England). Oasis has further issued a broadsheet of his translations of selected poems from Rilke’s "Orpheus" series.
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This electronic version of Plainsong is published
by The Richmond Review by arrangement with the author.
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