Lanthanum, bk. 3


An April morning, cloaked in grey fog.
I walk to work up Morris Avenue
past yellow-domed Temple Emanu-el,
that beehive-prototype (hexagonal)

of every temple on the earth. Almond
flower, mother of the church, gold
sun-kissed breast, all sunlight – hold me
now, enfold me in your warmth

Magdalen, all-round). Like some C├ęzanne
I would exude slow sappy color-oils
rapt away in my vision quatrefoil...
faint distant hubbub of a Bruegel-scene

flickering beneath a wintry raven-brush;
slow Flemish-Netherlandish woolen-flesh
within the weighty, sleepy stone, awash
with suffering blood, Burgundian. Shshsh...

– hear ice boom in the waking stream.
One mellow Anglican, walking a middle way
might stand for remote medieval memory.
Blackstone the arborist, with his rude beam

stakes up an ancient rose. And it is not
vanity, it is not sentiment, it is not
Romance sets him like a lantern (pivoting
through crooked night). It is the owl's note

skimming through the dark, it is the raven's
signet ring, it is the shuddering cedar mast
that would outride the hurricane. Ballast
and anchor, incarnate gravity... flesh-haven.

The proud, irascible mind returns eventually
to its motherland. And the lantern gleams –
a miniature sun above cascading streams.
Mountain laurel (jade forest memory).