I CONCEDE MY FRETFUL BEGINNINGS
I concede my fretful beginnings to no one
because I was with the stars
before they began to shine, before
the first Adam of the primordial atom
stepped out of his shadowless glade,
and the worlds fanned out like birds from water
and the surreal sea dreamed of krill and corals
or the ghastly fumaroles of the expurgated heart
of the labouring earth
taught its thermophiles to live without light
like a memory displaced so deep in the mind
only the convulsions and catastrophes
of sunless winters severed from their vivid chains
like stillborns and candid moons
can waken it again to recall the swell
of the wave that gave it breasts
and its life on land in the mansions
of orphaned oxygen that taught it to breathe
and let its breath be vital to cherries and bees.
I affirm and celebrate my connection to everything
and my foot is not less than my hand
nor my blood merely the flag of my imperious brain;
and often at night when I’m alone
with my own poor, longing self
I can feel my eyes webbing the harp of my bones
with the soft night songs of my ancient minerals
and the sad, dark airs of my gypsy metals
slaying the iron roses in their teeth out of love.
I owe it all to everything, and everything to it,
and I am complete, even in my emptiness;
even in the desolation of galaxies and leaves,
even in the spoiling of my most cherished nativities,
the shedding of eyelids and black pollen
on the naves of the daisy wheels,
I am always full of the world, at home
with everything from the emerald wardrobes
of the friendless algae
to the carbon solitudes of hapless humans.
I am the host and the guest
in the black mirror of my shining, the equinoctial eye
of my own arrayed being.
And the things that I say in the dark like planets
to amuse the night with motion and appease
my secret need for migrant harmonies,
are the foundation stones, the organs and skin
and kidnapped statuary of my summer palaces among the stars
and I am content with my solitary progress
through the wind-taxed realms of poppies and wheat.
I am the composite serenity of the night sky
that does not inhibit the flight of its cloudy owls
or its magnetic transfusions of bats.
If something troubles me, if there are distant seabirds
shrieking their warnings out over a turbulent sea,
or ants in the grass divining the lightning to come,
or the swan of the moon torn like a white peony
by something rising up with a beak and a shell from below
like the hungry turtle of the snapping world,
I take shelter in the roots of things,
in the watersheds of the relentless rivers
that press on with their dreams of eloquent deltas
in mystic union with the sea.
I summon the shields and shales of my radical nature
to renew their loyalty to the heights of land I stand on
battered but unbeaten like a northern pine.
And I shall live as long as there are rocks to cry on,
and fireflies to keep their homely constellations close to earth.