and mute for weeks · eating sleeping
scraping the sand aside in the morning and fanning
the embers · cold the wind endless and the sun too high
not to lose the way-marks and pistes
the tropic of cancer and in all this atrophy
a present intent on nothing
our temples sometimes throbbing
because we drank so little as if the bone there was too thin
the tongue too clumsy to say: i
ridges of dunes and escarpments of a world in empty space
so far and real the further each track broke away
we knew only that it defied reckoning
not until we were back beyond the border
and below a plateau in the ruins of a roman town
did language come back chiselled as the name
i read on the wind-rose in the market square
my finger tracing the letters on the worn flags
as if every distance had its list of words to learn
one wind like bronze but browner and darker
one circling one as white as wheat-chaff over the plain
one as if the day had stolen its night-half from the equinox
the north named for the threshing-oxen of the stars:
told apart only by whether they smelt dank of soil and bark
or charred everything to ash from open urns
budding apricots on the valley floor
promising a return in the soft light of the pasture
dust on the lips · face turned to a wind
that was blowing into the sun and alone could not be read
i sat on eroded blocks of a temple wall
and evening began burned in the withered grass
to buy a house a bed and table and chair
enough for once and for you now and here
as if nothing were futile – something might last and bind
but i felt at once more wordless things: void
saw myself only ever gathering windblown branches for the fire
staring into smoke which the wind dispersed
As a child I have spent countless hours looking up at people, recognizing them from their knees, their stance, or the delicate folding and unfolding of their ankles. I remember the gentle curve of delicate wrists and the startling laughter that rolled out easily through parted lips, punctuating the grass perfumed air. Trees return me to that place of innocence, where every pair of outstretched arms is an invitation to be twirled around till the spinning world become a giant blur. So this post is dedicated to the magic of trees.
The French poet Henri Chopin’s poem “Vite” is another of my favorites. It consists of only one word yet the rhythm captures the excitement a child observes as a kite rises and falls with the wind. Fortunately the Getty museum has a link to it.
As the last few days of school wind down I asked my class if they’d like to build a kite. Three- fourths of the students informed me they had never flown a kite let alone built one. So today we are creating a kite making station and designing a diagnostic questionnaire for why a kite might not fly.
A “kite hospital” is being set up for broken kites so the children learn to patch up their own kites. We will test plastic bag kites, paper kites, and then see if we can come up with other materials for kite making.
Summers full of blustery days, filled with colorful kites…these children are in for a wonderful treat.