Plea to the Power That Is
I come humbly,
implore you – hitch
your golden drone
to our clouds
of implausible thrones,
grab the highest apple
– one only you can see –
on the tallest tree,
watch over me,
come down to where
my heart splits.
Love, uneasy stones slide
down the gravel mount.
Guide our women,
the songs we sing
for safety, for windfall
apples and ripe assignations.
We have seen the hyacinths
trampled under wayward boots,
purple blotches on dry grass.
We know the repetition
of faces on coins
which haunt persons
Give us love,
more fluid than horses,
darker than mud.
Walk with us
I do not know what to do.
I must have you,
sweet that follows bitter
on my broken tongue,
Buddha’s Stallion and the Woman Who Married Wallace Stevens
Buddha’s white stallion carried him from the palace,
away from noble warrior games and jumped the river.
When Siddhartha tied the proud Kinthaka to a tree,
the young bridegroom fled for freedom, to roam,
find his way, and broke the loyal horse’s heart.
A heart that returned after death as a follower.
This horse carved on the stupas, painted, sketched – the way
starts as a mounted man on a path out of town.
Elsie Stevens could have claimed I am the woman
on the Liberty dime. She never did. Historians did,
compared her image to a sculpture of her
that Adolph Weinman made at another time, the fact
the Stevens and Weinman lived in the same building.
Liberty’s feathered cap for freedom of thought,
on a wife who kept separate worlds, rooms apart,
strained and uncertain under crystal chandeliers.
Supporting actors, perhaps, of heartbreak, those who wait,
never shake loose obligations and adorations. The reward
of secondaries in the ranks, faithful. Who we each might be.
The History of Shadows
At the time of nakedness, who first looked back
at daybreak and saw gray garments,
paradox in floating form without
pretense or need for forgiveness?
Perhaps the cave fire cast black tracery
one lover used to paint a hunter or a horse
on rock. Another glanced into the flagrancy
of flames. A third rocked the baby.
One asked another to dance, join hands
and bellies to wave up a magpie, goat or leaping stag.
Woman and woman. Man and man. Man and woman.
Surpises on stone.
When did mind doctors say that unknowns
burrow? That pouring in gold light
soothes the skew out of sideways,
restores truth or floods creativity?
Who was the first to know that an atomic bomb
could burn the shadow of a tired man onto granite steps?
Who knows behind what gilded organ pipe
lies the resonant shade of the fugue?
The hint of that kitchen where you were a child,
sniff of cinnamon, cumin, or curry. Do you carry
these attached to the clothes of your wanderings?
Is memory what you know only when you see it?
The simple flickers of dying leaves
dance in sun over wild dirt
before they choose to fall.
Knoll’s newest book, Broadfork Farm, (poetry about a small organic farm in Trout Lake, Washington) is available on Amazon and through the publisher, The Poetry Box.
Also available on Amazon: From Aldrich Press, Ocean’s Laughter — a book of lyric and eco-poetry about Manzanita, Oregon and Urban Wild, a poetry chapbook available from Finishing Line Press.