April 1, 2014 by Reader's Connection
April is National Poetry Month, and we begin with three poems from a new poet.
“‘Blessed Are the Wingless . . . ‘” and “Six Owls” and “Five Horses (A Gratitude)” all appear in Cecilia Llompart’s first collection The Wingless, (from Carnegie Mellon University Press, ©2014) and are reprinted by permission.
The latter two poems here are from a section called “Wherever We Roam” which begins with “Eight Buffalo” and works its way down to “One Jackrabbit.”
“Blessed Are the Wingless . . . “
Blessed are the wingless, for their bones
are not hollow but heavy with want.
Blessed is whatever flocks homeward,
as well as whatever remains–as I do–
for the winter. Blessed are those who
shoulder up. Blessed are those who suffer
no fools. Blessed what is in me to tip
the intimate scale of guilt, and blessed
that guilt for it knows no immediate
bounds. For it made me better than I am.
Blessed is the solemn animal that weighs
every question asked, finally, by the river.
Blessed all the debris that waits inside
of monuments. Blessed is your body,
big enough for the both of us. Blessed
are my hands for falling upon all which
they do not understand. Blessed is the moon,
bled white, bandaged in silk. Blessed too,
the stars. For it is with the mercy of carrion
birds that they dip their fingers in silver
and pick her carcass clean. Blessed is the sea,
graveyard of time. Blessed are the black waves
that congregate like mourners. Blessed are those
who have done their weeping, and are quieter now.
In the days when owls moved
among us, like Gods, and held
their graces cloaked from us.
When they knew the infinite
gestures of an evening, and they
droned out their incantations.
In the days of bringing them gifts,
of placing the meats of our gratitude
at their feet, of adorning their necks
with lace, of spicing their feathers
with cardamom, of burning incense.
In the days when owls governed
the high court of night, kept tidy
the attics of our understanding,
kept a kind of dusty relevance open
to the subterranean world upon which
we broke our toil and took our rest.
These were the days of darkness, yes,
but they were also days of plenty.
Then there was the afterripening,
when we made for ourselves a golden owl.
We polished the owl eyes until they
shone like signals and we carved
the owl talons impossibly sharp
and we painted ourselves golden
and the other owls began to move
back into the shadows, one by one,
back further than shadows, muscled
back into stone, tucked into a fold of
wind, became the soft depressions on
our bones, became all marble backdrop
and song, until all wisdom was myth,
until we lost our animal teeth, until
even the moonlight pawed around
mouse-like and all the trees a trap,
until none but the gold remained.
That no horse panicked. That even the oldest mare
indexed his unit of pain and kept pace–making of
the dark fields a kind of secret not to be repeated.
That there was no need for the whip. That the evacuation
route had been practiced, had been committed to that
which is like the memory of a horse, but further down
in the holding of the bones. That fear is a kind of harness.
That only once did the little one protest, benched awhile
her soft nose in white clover and whinnied. That
they sleep with blankets over them now when so little
is certain: Forgiveness of branches. A startle of birds.