Lanthanum 2.17


The muffled rattling of willow branches, silver-
grey and green, beginning to bud beneath
gray skies. The pussy willows like small fleets
of green-grey galleys (Black Sea water-spiders)

or the faded wool of some mandorla-Magdalen,
head bowed (eyes laughing, lips starting to smile).
Rabbi, I haven't seen you in a while.
I thought you were the nursery man – old Ben.

Words spill from shocked, exhausted lips.
Wan lips of children punished for too long.
Silent melody beaten out of them. Innocent
song (by snarling envy) almost utterly eclipsed.

And my silence is the No of William Blackstone
and the Nay of Roger Williams. The Nein
of the White Rose worn by grey-eyed children
crushed beneath dull footwear of a futile dungeon.

And this noise of mine the woolly nonsense of thin
willow branches, shuttling like a weaver's hand
with a willful air – as when a child's mind,
sleepy, slips into moonlit pond (some quiet lane

in Corot's oueil). So the silver underside
of Russian olive leaves, the whisper of infinite
beseeching ghosts. Earth grips them – rooted
tight. Globed in its golden winecup (blood-red

now). We'll shun the words that kill.
Thou shalt not kill. Walk back into the forest
until we reach the tallest pine (dove-nest
of lovebirds, after the flood). Be done, sd Will.