An arid future in a waterless world,
where all our understanding wavers
on a bridge to whiteness.
We are replicants in the land
of nothing new, and the westerlies,
hot and dry, are blowing away the children.
As they fall, we fall.
Exoskeletal clouds ripple ribs across the sky
while I rake a repetition in the sand,
scatter dream seeds in the garden.
At my stuttering keyboard,
in an accidental movement between thought
and thoughtless action I breathe
and I remember
fleeing riderless from the sun,
the first rays of an ancient day
and my meeting with a prophet:
Take these seeds.
Dream flowers bloom
in windy dust and ashes,
they need no water.
And by the way, the world is ending.
Within the prophet, nature,
and nature without, a desolate raindrop
splashed on powdered hematite, a lonely counterpoint,
wandering words textured in silence,
lineal shades unrhymed and unruled.
My belief was hers.
For a time, I waited and I wondered.
Had the dream plants blossomed long ago?
Was the prophet no more
than déjà vu illusion?
But on the western horizon,
I can see what’s real enough—
the horses, headless, with looping nuclear fires
flaring from their necks.
They’ve come to finish
the task we humans started.
the cruelty of nature (part above)
My poem when we were young will appear in Mithila Review in September. As well as the original English (or so) it will be translated into Hindi and Nepali. I’m sure they’ll do a first class job, and I’ve read and enjoyed a number of translations, for example, the works of one of my poetry heroes, Paul Celan. But I do have a concern.
As Led Zeppelin pointed out in their famous statement of the obvious: you know sometimes words have two meanings. For example, leaving aside metaphors and the fact that it isn’t actually English, lineal shades unrhymed and unruled above. Would that carry to another language? I think it’s unlikely.